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Can a pregnant woman menstruate?

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Q/Hello doctor,
Is it possible for a pregnant woman to menstruate? What causes it and should I worry it happens? Sasha.

A/ Dear Sasha,
Menstruation ceases once a woman becomes pregnant. This is the reason why we use the first day of the last normal menstrual period to count gestation age (age of pregnancy).

Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is common and it has several causes depending on the stage of the gestation period.

Bleeding in the first trimester (weeks one through to 12) is very common and one of the major reasons why women visit hospitals during pregnancy.

Most women who experience bleeding during pregnancy go on to deliver healthy babies.

Still, it is important to take vaginal bleeding during pregnancy seriously. Sometimes bleeding indicates an impending miscarriage or a condition that needs prompt treatment.

Some of the causes of bleeding during pregnancy especially in the first trimester include the following:

Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is common. (Photo/Everyday)

Ectopic Pregnancy: (in which the fertilised egg implants and grows outside of the uterus, such as in a fallopian tube).

  • Implantation bleeding: (which occurs about 10 to 14 days after conception when the fertilised egg implants in the lining of the uterus).
  • Miscarriage: (the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 28th week [seven months]).
  • Molar Pregnancy: (a rare occurrence in which an abnormal fertilised egg develops into abnormal tissue instead of a baby).
  • Problems with the cervix, such as a cervical infection, inflamed cervix, or growths on the cervix.

It is this bleeding during the first trimester especially during the initial weeks of pregnancy that can be mistaken for a menstrual period.

Therefore, visit a medical professional in order to find out what the cause of bleeding is and be helped accordingly.

Answered by Dr Joseph Kafuuma
MBChB (MUK)
Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre, Bukoto, Kampala.

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