Spotting vs Heavy Bleeding During Pregnancy

Spotting during pregnancy may cause an alarm to many pregnant women. Bleeding often connotes a negative meaning which may cause the woman to panic. Therefore, it is best to know what to expect when it comes to bleeding during pregnancy.

The term spotting refers to light bleeding which occurs when the woman is not on her period. The color of spotting may be pink, red or brown. Spotting is caused by hormonal fluctuations. It is important to note that spotting should be very light. Spotting during the first trimester of pregnancy is usually considered normal. Any heavy bleeding, anytime during the pregnancy is considered as an emergency.

There are many possible causes of heavy bleeding during pregnancy such as the following:

  • Sex
  • Internal Exam
  • Miscarriage
  • Infection
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Placental problems
  • Bleeding may also be caused by Injury to the cervix or vagina, Polyps or even Cancer


As mentioned earlier, spotting is considered as light bleeding. In general, if a pregnant woman soaks at least 1 pad per hour, it is considered as heavy bleeding already. It is important to note how much the bleeding was and to tell it to the doctor.


The time of bleeding may also explain in the diagnosis of the condition. During the first trimester, bleeding is usually caused by miscarriage. During the second and third trimester, bleeding may be caused by maternal complications such as pre-term labor, placenta previa or a placental abruption. In general, any bleeding after the 28th week of pregnancy is considered an emergency.


Knowing to differentiate spotting from heavy bleeding is important. Again, spotting is light bleeding. Any heavy bleeding should be caused for an alarm especially if it is accompanied by symptoms such as intense cramps in the lower part of the abdomen, discharge with very visible tissues, dizziness, fainting and fever. If the pregnant woman is bleeding, it is best to stay calm and call the doctor right away. Bleeding is usually caused by serious conditions. It is important to call the emergency number right away.