Bleeding in pregnancy causes much anxiety and fear. If you are early in the pregnancy, the first thought is--Am I having a miscarriage?. Getting an ultrasound and having blood taken can provide reassurance and confirmation. It is important to discuss any pain or bleeding that you experience in pregnancy with your doctor or midwife. There are many questions they will need to ask and knowing the answers can help them and you better understand what is going on.
Your care provider is going to ask when did you first start to bleed? What were you doing? Did it start all of a sudden or was it gradual? Was there pain or cramping with the bleeding? Did you have intercourse in the 24 hours before the bleeding started?
They will also want to confirm the bleeding is coming from the vagina. Could it be coming from the bladder or rectum? If you are feeling pain—is it in the middle or on one side? Does is start in one place or does it radiate? Where does it radiate to?
Your doctor or midwife will need to know how many weeks pregnant you are. When was your last period? Was it normal? Is this the first time you have experienced bleeding in this pregnancy? Has the bleeding been steady or does it come and go?
Other important questions will include what colour is the blood: pink, red or brown? Are you soaking a pad? How long does it take to soak the pad? How many pads have you soaked since the bleeding began? Are the pads large or small? Does the blood soak through your underwear, run down your leg, turn the toilet water red, or is it just there when you wipe? Have you passed any clots or tissue? How would you describe any pain you are experiencing: sharp, dull or crampy? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you have ever experienced, how would you rate the pain?
You will be asked if you are experiencing any dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting or fever. Are you experiencing any foul smelling vaginal discharge? Does it hurt to pee? Do you experience more bleeding or clots if you have been sitting or lying down and then get up?
Tests or Investigations
If you are talking with a care provider that you haven’t met before they are also going to ask you if you have already had an ultrasound in this pregnancy. How many weeks were you when you had this ultrasound? Did they confirm the baby was in the uterus? Did they see a heartbeat? Did they say anything about your placenta?
It is hard to know why a miscarriage occurs and stats vary depending on certain variables such as how many weeks pregnant you are, how old you are, or if you have had a previous miscarriage(s). What we do know is that not all bleeding in early pregnancy results in miscarriage. However it is very scary, and until we know what is happening, we often fear the worst. Losing a wanted or longed for child through miscarriage is heartbreaking. It is important if this is something you are experiencing or have experienced and are struggling, you seek out support from loving friends and family or even a counsellor or miscarriage support group in your area.