Spotting During Pregnancy: Should You Freak Out?

The last thing any of us want to see during pregnancy is blood where there shouldn’t be blood! Spotting during pregnancy is actually more common than you may think, though.


Typically, it’s not something to freak out about. In some cases, it can be a sign of something going wrong, so if you see spotting during pregnancy, it’s best to get it checked out. Besides, you know you’re not going to rest easy until a doctor gives you the all-clear. Also, if you experience spotting, use a pad to keep track of the amount of bleeding. Do not use a tampon!

Causes of Spotting During Pregnancy that Shouldn’t Freak You Out

Before getting into the “freak out” causes for spotting during pregnancy, let’s take a look at some of the more common and less frightening reasons that you could be bleeding.

  • Implantation: This is the most common cause of spotting during pregnancy in the very early stages. In fact, it occurs so early that you may mistake it for your period if you’re used to very light menstruation. After the egg is fertilized, it makes its way into the uterus. Once there, it has to implant into the lining. If it doesn’t implant, it can’t grow into a baby. During implantation, you may notice light cramping and spotting. This usually occurs about 6-12 days after the egg is fertilized, explains American Pregnancy Association.
  • Increased blood flow to uterus: Once that pregnancy takes hold, your body produces extra blood to help support the pregnancy. An increased blood flow to your cervix and uterus can result in light spotting during pregnancy.
  • Sex: You may experience light spotting during or after sex, especially in your first trimester. Your reproductive organs are feeling a bit sensitive during pregnancy and may react poorly to, well, let’s just call it more vigorous sessions of amour. Basically, take it easy down there until you know how your body is going to react.
  • Yeast infection and other infections: Oh, what fun, right? You’re already dealing with itching, burning and all the other not-so-fun effects of a yeast infection. Now you have to deal spotting that totally freaks you out! While yeast infections- as annoying as they are- are typically not cause for concern, other infections can be. See your doctor if you suspect you have an infection.

Frightening causes of spotting during pregnancy

I wish I could tell you that all causes of spotting during pregnancy are nothing to worry about, but that’s not the case. In some cases, those spots could indicate a much more serious issue. Common causes that should send you running to the ER include:

  • Miscarriage– In some cases, especially during the first trimester, spotting during pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage. Typically, the bleeding will become heavier and you may notice clots as the pregnancy comes to an abrupt end.
  • Ectopic pregnancy– We have a great article on ectopic pregnancy signs and symptoms. I suggest checking out if you’re concerned about this condition. It’s important to keep in mind that ectopic pregnancy doesn’t always cause spotting during pregnancy. There are other signs to watch for, including, of all things, pain in your shoulder.
  • Placental Abruption-In very rare cases (less than 1% of pregnancies), the placenta can detach from the wall of your uterus, causing spotting and bleeding. It typically occurs during the last trimester.
  • Placenta Previa– About one in 200 pregnant women experience this condition, which causes the placenta to slide down over the opening of your uterus. In some cases, it can completely cover the cervix opening. It’s a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Early labor-Spotting during pregnancy can be a sign of preterm labor in some women. If it is still way too early, your obstetrician will take steps to delay labor as long as possible. Bleeding occur when you lose your mucus plug, something that happens before your baby is ready to join the world.

These are just some of the more common signs of bleeding and spotting during pregnancy. Other causes are possible, including cervical cancer and other types of illnesses. The bottom line is this: if you are experience bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, go to your doctor and find out why. Even if it is something minor, knowing reduces the stress you’ll feel if you don’t find out. Stress is not good for anyone, especially pregnant women.

9 thoughts on “Spotting During Pregnancy: Should You Freak Out?”

  1. I never spotted during pregnancy and that’s a good thing because I had soooooo many other issues. I would have surely freaked out. This is great information to share with others.

  2. It’s so hard not to freak out at the sight of blood during pregnancy. But I spotted early with both of my daughters and it was all normal (for me) whew!)

    1. I think the majority of spotting is normal. Still, seeing blood when you’re pregnant is always a bit freaky. My aunt did way more than just spot and it still ended up fine, but I remember being there when my uncle took her to the hospital. So scary!

  3. I was one of those very rare occurances that had Placental Abruption with my first pregnancy. My son or I almost didnt make it. So I think that any amount of blood that I would see for any reason would freak me out.

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