When To Worry

When to worry about bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy.

worried pregnant woman

The question

I am eight weeks pregnant and -- up until now -- my pregnancy has been going really well. However, this morning when I went to the bathroom, I noticed a bit of brownish spotting. Does this mean I am having a miscarriage? I am really freaking out.

Ann's Answer

While any type of bleeding during pregnancy can be very worrying, it sounds to me like the bit of spotting you're experiencing is likely to have been caused by a bump to the cervix -- perhaps during intercourse or a recent internal examination -- rather than by a threatened miscarriage. Hormonal changes make your cervix very sensitive at this stage of pregnancy, so even the slightest bump or prod can cause a bit of bleeding. This is in no way harmful to your pregnancy, but it can leave you feeling more than a little freaked out. (Trust me, I know. I've been there myself!)

I would be more concerned if you were experiencing a lot of miscarriage-like symptoms: heavy vaginal bleeding (particularly if the bleeding was accompanied by the passage of blood clots or if you were also experiencing cramping, chills, fever, or dizziness); if your vaginal bleeding were to continue for more than one day; if you were passing grayish or pinkish tissue;or if you experienced severe pain in your abdomen or in your shoulder area (possible signs of an ectopic pregnancy).

That said, if the spotting has you totally freaked out, you might want to put in a call into your doctor or midwife to seek some extra reassurance. Some moms-to-be hesitate to make the call for fear of bothering their doctor or midwife unnecessarily if it turns out that everything's just fine with the baby. Go ahead and make that call. Anyone who is in "the baby business" is used to dealing with these kinds of phone calls and will be happy to do whatever they can to help bring down your anxiety level. And, if it turns out that there is cause for concern, your doctor or midwife will be able to order an ultrasound to try to determine if, in fact, there is a problem with your pregnancy.

I hope this helps to reassure you. Best wishes to you and baby-to-be.PregnancyAndBaby.com

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