Is it possible to still have your period while you are pregnant?

That sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? One of the signs that a woman is pregnant is the absence of her period and as the pregnancy progresses she will most likely enjoy the nine-month dry spell and not look forward to its return. The thought of one having their period during pregnancy is therefore downright unbelievable and almost feels like an infringement of some sort!

Many women have however reported receiving their period as usual and then finding out they were pregnant the whole time. This can really mess up the calculations for the EDD (estimated date of delivery or estimated due date). Doctors will ask for the first day of your last period to help them calculate your EDD. Now imagine if you continued having your period two or three months into your pregnancy but didn’t know you were pregnant. You give your doctor that timeline and your EDD is off by two months or so! The doctor will probably figure out the confusion when you go for a scan later.

Is it normal or weird?

Every pregnancy is different but there are some things that should at least be similar, starting with the symptoms. It comes with other signs and symptoms too and a doctor can confirm pregnancy with a blood test if you have any doubts. The expectation, however, is that menstruation stops.

Menstruation occurs when the endometrial lining sheds because the egg was not fertilized. Therefore, by definition, menstruation can’t happen when you are pregnant because pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized. The body may however experience some bleeding for different reasons and it may be confused with menstruation during pregnancy.

Possible causes of bleeding during pregnancy

It is very likely that you got pregnant a short while before the onset of your period. Your body could have continued with its regular activities meaning it wouldn’t produce progesterone, the hormone that is supposed to stop menstruation. This is the most common cause of bleeding and is known as break through bleeding. You may notice you are pregnant when you are about six weeks along because that is when you are most likely to notice you missed a period.

It will usually happen the first cycle after you conceive but may continue all through the first trimester. It is not a true period because the fertilized egg implants on the uterine lining. This lining is a source of nourishment for the egg and can’t completely shed, otherwise you would lose the baby.

Implantation bleeding

Implantation is when the fertilized egg settles into the uterine lining. The egg burrows into the lining and this may cause a little bleeding. It is usually light but varies with every woman. This is normal and isn’t a cause for worry.

Problems with the placenta

The placenta nourishes the baby during pregnancy but may sometimes develop problems. Having the placenta covering the cervix (placenta previa) or if it tears away from the uterine wall (placenta abruption) is very dangerous and especially in late pregnancy. These two conditions can cause a lot of bleeding that may be mistaken for a period.

Ectopic pregnancy

This is when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. As the fetus grows it causes bleeding and could cause the tubes to rupture. It must be removed urgently because it can be fatal if left untreated.

Miscarriage

Many women don’t know they are pregnant until much later. A miscarriage can occur during the first trimester without the knowledge of the pregnant woman. It will however be accompanied with cramps and bleeding.

Light bleeding or spotting may not be a problem during pregnancy but heavy bleeding is definitely a cause for alarm. That said, if you are worried about any kind of bleeding during pregnancy regardless of how heavy it is, seek medical attention as soon as you can. This will help you calm your fears and rule out any serious complications where possible.


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