Period While Pregnant

There are plenty of urban myths out there which tell tales of women not finding out that they are pregnant until the second or even third trimester due to the continued occurrence of a “period”. While there are conditions that can cause a woman to experience period-like symptoms, even spotting, during pregnancy, it is physically and biologically impossible to have an actual period while you are pregnant. Read on to learn why.

Can I Have a Period While Pregnant?

The short answer is no. You cannot have a period while pregnant. The hormones produced by your body during pregnancy will not allow your body to go through a menstrual cycle. Menstruation involves shedding the lining of your uterus; if you were in fact experiencing a period you would not be able to remain pregnant. However, there are times when a woman who is pregnant may experience regular or intermittent bleeding, which may cause her to think she is having a period.

No amount of bleeding in pregnancy should be attributed to a period while pregnant, and should be evaluated promptly by a qualified OBGYN. Spotting during pregnancy can occur but should never be of the amount and duration of a normal period. Spotting in early pregnancy should normally be light pink or dark brown. If you are pregnant and experience heavy bleeding that requires tampons, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Cause of Bleeding While Pregnant

1. Implantation Bleeding

This type of implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the inside of the uterus. The egg “implants” itself into the uterine lining where it will grow for the duration of the pregnancy. This type of bleeding usually occurs approximately 12 days after the egg has been fertilized and can be accompanied by mild cramping and light spotting. Besides bleeding, you will also notice milky white vaginal discharge which is due to the thickening of the vagina’s walls.

2. Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic or “tubal” pregnancy is a very dangerous condition in which the fertilized egg begins to grow while still inside of the fallopian tube. Pain and bleeding usually occur when the tube is ruptured. This condition can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. In Ectopic pregnancy, the bleeding can vary in amount and is usually accompanied by pain on one side of abdomen, lighheadedness or dizziness.

It is very important for you to call the doctor if you experience any symptoms explained above or localized pain, because there could be something wrong with your pregnancy.

3. Bleeding After Birth Control

If you have been on birth control and have recently stopped due to becoming pregnant, you may experience intermittent bleeding as the hormones in your body attempt to regulate themselves.

4. Miscarriage

Approximately 20 to 30% of viable pregnancies will end in miscarriage. The reasons for this are not always known. During a miscarriage a woman will likely experience heavy bleeding and severe cramping. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you are having a miscarriage or if you experience any sort of heavy bleeding.

5. Other Causes

Many other conditions can cause bleeding while pregnant. Placenta Previa, a condition in which the placenta imbeds very close to or on top of the cervix, can cause bleeding. Other conditions involving the placenta, uterine abnormalities, or even infection can also cause bleeding.


Any bleeding during pregnancy should be evaluated immediately by a qualified professional. Often times bleeding is no cause for concern but only a doctor can determine this. Many women who experience bleeding during pregnancy go on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. If you have had a positive pregnancy test and experience bleeding, go straight to the ER.

Watch the following video to learn more about bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy: