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Pregnancy late bleeding

Bleeding during second half of pregnancy may pose a threat to the health of the woman or the fetus. Unusual bleeding in the second or third trimester of pregnancy might be graver since it could be an indication of maternal-fetal related problems for which prompt medical assistance could be needed. The instances of bleeding in the second half of pregnancy significantly differ from the ones in early pregnancy.

Cervical factor

Cervical ectropion – slight changes to the cervix can cause harmless bleeding and spotting in the second trimesters. Common conditions of minor bleeding include an inflamed cervix or growths on the cervix.


In most cases miscarriages occur in the first trimester but some do happen in the later stages of pregnancy (though it’s very uncommon for it to happen after 30 weeks).


The placenta may detach from the uterine wall before or during labor. This may cause vaginal bleeding. Placenta abruption is bleeding diagnosed normally after 22 weeks gestation and involves the placenta detaching itself from the inside of the uterus. It can happen suddenly after a trauma or if the size of the uterus is reduced (for example when your waters break). Pre-eclampsia can also cause abruptions to the placenta. Only 1% of pregnant women have this problem, and it usually occurs during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Placental Abruption

Placental Abruption

Placenta abruption symptoms include vaginal bleeding, clot formations in the vagina, uterine tenderness, stomach pain and/or back ache. It can be pain free but the pain from an abruption can be difficult to endure, especially if the blood is being forced back into the muscles of the uterus.

Placenta Abruption risk groups:

  • Women with several deliveries,
  • Women age 35 or older,
  • Have had abruption before,
  • Have sickle cell anemia,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Trauma or injuries to the stomach,
  • Cocaine use.


Placenta previa occurs when the placenta lies low in the uterus partly or completely covering the cervix and blocks the entrance to the cervix. It’s likely to be identified at the 20 week scan. In most cases the placenta moves up in pregnancy but if it remains low, you may be advised to have a Cesarean section. It is serious and requires immediate care.

Placenta Previa

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa occurs quite rarely (1 in 200 pregnancies), it is an emergency situation that requires instant medical attention. Placenta previa caused bleeding during late pregnancy. Bleeding usually occurs without pain.

Placenta Previa risk groups:

  • Women with several deliveries,
  • Previous cesarean birth,
  • Other surgery on the uterus,
  • Carrying twins or triplets.


Late in pregnancy, vaginal bleeding may be a sign of labor. A plug that covers the opening of the uterus during pregnancy is passed just before or at the start of labor. A small amount of mucus and blood is passed from the cervix. This is called “bloody show.” It is common. It is not a problem if it happens within a few weeks of your due date.

Around the time of your baby’s due date, you could experience what’s known as a ‘show’ – the release of the mucus plug which seals the entrance to the cervix. Although it can be quite alarming when it happens, it’s also cause for celebration – your baby is finally on its way!

Vaginal bleeding may be caused by the placenta detaching from the uterine wall before or during labor.


Vaginal bleeding in the later months of gestation might simply be an indication that one’s system is readying itself for delivery. A couple of days or weeks prior to the onset of labor, the mucus plug covering the uterine opening would be passed out from the vagina and it would generally have miniscule levels of blood present in it, also called as the blood-gore show. In case bleeding and signs of labor commence prior to thirty-seven week of gestation, it could means a woman may be in preterm labor. In these cases you should contact your doctor immediately.

Special attention should be paid to typical symptoms of Preterm Labor. In general, these symptoms occur before the 37th week of pregnancy:

  • Vaginal discharge (watery, mucus, or bloody),
  • Pelvic or lower abdominal pressure,
  • Low, dull backache,
  • Stomach cramps, with or without diarrhea,
  • Regular contractions or uterine tightening.


In atypical situations, scar from an earlier Cesarean section could rip apart during gestational period, having life-menacing outcomes and necessitate an emergency Cesarean section. Pains and abdominal tenderness are other signs of uterine rupture.


This is a rather uncommon condition wherein blood vessels of the growing fetus in the placenta or umbilical cord appear to have crossed the parturient canal aperture. Vasa previa could be risky for the fetal health since the blood vessels could rip apart thus eliciting severe bleeding in the fetus and oxygen loss. Irregular fetal cardiac rate and intense blood loss are other vasa previa symptoms.

Other reasons that could be causing bleeding during late pregnancy are vaginal or cervical injury, polyp formations or cancer.

In all cases of PREGNANCY LATE BLEEDING you should contact your doctor immediately.

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