Getting Your Period While Pregnant

Many women have had the experience of a period during pregnancy.  While it's common to think that you can't have a period during pregnancy it is, in fact not an unusual occurrence.

A period during pregnancy shouldn't be confused with implantation bleeding which may be noticed as small patches of pink and brown within 6 to 10 days after becoming pregnant. This is called implantation bleeding. This bleeding is normal and occurs as the placenta tries to attach itself to the fertilized eggs. 

Hormonal bleeding also typically occurs during the first few months of a pregnancy. This is also referred to as ‘decimal bleeding’ and usually occurs due to a fluctuation in hormonal levels.  This bleeding not uncommonly occurs during pregnancy, typically during the first trimester. Studies have shown that roughly 30% of pregnant women experience some bleeding during their first month of pregnancy. Although uncommon, for some women this hormonal bleeding may also occur during the second and the third trimesters.

While some women concern themselves about stretch mark prevention while pregnant, some are concerned about the possibility menstruation during pregnancy, particularly whether menstruation poses any threat to the health of the baby and to you.

Is a period during pregnancy normal?

While having a period during pregnancy is not normal, it typically does not pose any immediate risk either to the woman or the fetus.  Under normal conditions the menstrual cycle should stop once a woman is pregnant. The body then prepares to provide nourishment to the baby. This causes the menstrual cycle to stop and for hormone levels to rise. When a woman is not pregnant her eggs remain unfertilized and there is a drop in hormonal levels signaling the uterus to release her eggs.

However, if a woman continues to have regular monthly periods during pregnancy, her hormonal levels are not rising and she is shedding the uterine lining. This does not necessarily present any immediate risk to her or the fetus though the baby may not receive adequate nourishment.  If you have any concerns as to whether you are experiencing ‘routine’ bleeding or whether you are having a period while pregnant you should consult with your gynecologist or physician.  A pregnancy blood test may be recommended.

A period during pregnancy generally occurs during the early stages of the pregnancy. This will typically happen before the placenta is fully attached to the uterus.   Should the bleeding continue for a prolonged length of time or become heavy you should immediately contact your gynecologist to determine the exact cause of the bleeding and receive appropriate treatment or medication if required.