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What Is Decidual Bleeding?

A diagram of the female reproductive system, including the uterine lining.
Decidual bleeding is usually not cause for concern in pregnancy.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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Decidual bleeding is a term for a partial shedding of the uterine lining during the first few months of pregnancy. This bleeding can be similar to a menstrual period and can occasionally prevent women from realizing that they are pregnant until other signs develop. Although decidual bleeding is usually harmless, most experts recommend that pregnant women inform their doctors about any form or amount of vaginal bleeding as it can be a sign of more serious conditions.

During early pregnancy, quick hormonal shifts in the body can cause ovulation or the thickening of the uterine lining despite the presence of a fertilized egg. Around the time of a women’s normal menstrual period, the lining can shed, resulting in bleeding. For some women, the amount of blood released can resemble an normal period. For this reason, some experts recommend that anyone with other pregnancy signs, such as regular nausea, increased breast size or tenderness, or sudden weight gain, take a pregnancy test even if menstrual cycles appear normal. If an over the counter test proves positive despite the presence of bleeding, consider consulting a doctor for a more accurate confirmation of pregnancy.

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Decidual bleeding is sometimes confused or used synonymously with implantation bleeding, another phenomena of early pregnancy. Implantation bleeding is characterized as a light spotting that is the result of the egg implanting in the uterus. Like decidual bleeding, implantation bleeding can cause women to believe they are not pregnant and are experiencing a normal menstrual period. Because of this similarity, and the fact that both types of bleeding are considered largely harmless, both implantation and decidual bleeding are often referred to collectively as first-trimester bleeding.

In most cases, decidual bleeding is not harmful to either the mother or fetus. Although figures vary, some experts suggest that harmless vaginal bleeding such as decidual bleeds occur in up to 30% of pregnancies. Most women who experience decidual bleeding during pregnancy go on to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries.

Despite the relative harmlessness of decidual bleeding, most experts urge that women experience any bleeding during pregnancy inform a health care provider immediately. Bleeding can be a sign of several conditions that can adversely affect health, such as cervical cancer, impending miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancies, or cervical or vaginal infections. If bleeding continues longer than a day or is heavy, a doctor may request an examination to check the health of both mother and fetus and rule out possible complications.

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Discuss this Article

anon339768
Post 11

@anon333781: I'm 20 and I had the exact same problem. Although yours started for two days then stopped then for two days again, mine was just one day then stopped for two days then came for one day, but when I say day, it's actually the one time out of like five when I go to the bathroom that there was pinkish when I wiped. Could I be pregnant?

anon333781
Post 10

I am 22 and have been engaged for three years. My fiance and I are trying to conceive. Last week, I had what I thought was my period. I bled for like two days, then it stopped and started for two more days, then stopped then started for another day.

Now when I go to the bathroom and wipe, there is a pinkish color on the toilet paper. I've take four home pregnancy tests and they've all come back negative. I don't know if I'm experiencing implantation or if it's something more serious. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

anon332091
Post 9

Personally, I don't know anything about it, but I definitely went to the doctor's office for a pregnancy test and received a negative result. After sounding like a lunatic, I'm sure, and insisting on a blood test, after four months of regular periods, a fifteen pound weight gain, and nausea I found out I was about five months pregnant.

anon323011
Post 8

Can anyone give me some advice about my problem? I used to have a regular period every month, but then last month (February) I was supposed to have my menstrual period the last week of the month. Then it was more than a week that I didn't have my period, so I decided to get a pregnancy test and it had two lines which means it was positive.

Two days after I found out that I'm positive on that pregnancy test, on the second day of March, I had some bleeding, but it's just like a few drops of blood and not too heavy, unlike a regular period. But I am still confused about it, because on the pregnancy test it showed that I'm positive but then suddenly I had bleeding. I feel so depressed about it. Please help me.

anon271467
Post 7

Before my periods, I have a very nauseated, sleepy feeling. I had my periods two days late and I just had a very heavy bleeding for only one day with a large blood clot but it stopped at night.

Then I had very light bleeding on the second and third day which cannot be counted as bleeding. On the fourth day, I started having a white discharge, and I also had a nauseated feeling. I want to sleep and am having back pain. What is this? The first day of my period was also painful. I'm married.

anon259351
Post 6

Yes, decidual bleeding can cause a false negative. I had a negative blood test at the doctor and they did and ultrasound and I was five months pregnant with a baby boy.

anon226753
Post 5

Why still consume alcohol when you are trying to conceive? That is silly. We know for a fact that alcohol reduces fertility and sperm count to begin with! Not even going to mention drug use!

anon125104
Post 4

Obviously jeancastle00 was talking in general. Why do you have to be so negative. She (or he) was simply stating a fact.

anon109748
Post 3

What do drugs and alcohol have anything to do with what anon94647 asked? And continuing? Was there an implied substance abuse issue or are we just making sure our own agendas are fulfilled?

jeancastle00
Post 2

@anon94647, I don't think that decidual bleeding will actually cause a false negative result in a pregnancy test but it has a psychological effect on the woman that is trying to determine her pregnancy status.

The vaginal discharge can be mistaken by the woman as her monthly menstrual discharge. This false sense of not carrying a child could result in a mother continuing to abuse drugs or alcohol even though she is pregnant.

anon94647
Post 1

So can decidual bleeding cause you to have a false negative test?

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