What Are the Common Causes of Clotting during Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: N. Swensson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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Bleeding and clotting during pregnancy can be caused by a number of things that can be very minor or sometimes more serious. In early pregnancy, clotting could be a sign of miscarriage, but it also could be caused by normal hormonal changes without any danger to the baby. During the middle or late stages of pregnancy, bleeding or clotting is often completely normal, and there might be no obvious cause. In some cases, passing blood clots at this time can be a sign of a problem with the placenta, a tear in the uterine wall, a late miscarriage or premature labor. Any concerns about clotting during pregnancy should be evaluated by a doctor, and it's a good idea to have regular prenatal care, which can sometimes identify problems before they become serious.

In the first trimester, clotting during pregnancy can have a number of causes. A miscarriage is one possible cause. Some women can pass large blood clots during a miscarriage, but others might experience only light bleeding or spotting. Some pregnant women also bleed during the time their menstrual period would have occurred because of hormonal changes. This type of bleeding can be somewhat heavy but usually is not harmful to the baby.


As a pregnancy progresses, heavier bleeding and clotting can sometimes indicate a problem with the placenta. Heavier red bleeding which starts suddenly might be a sign of placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta is positioned at the bottom of the uterus, covering the opening to the cervix. The placenta can also separate prematurely from the uterus and cause heavy blood flow and clotting, similar to a menstrual period. With proper medical care, these problems are very treatable and often cause no harm to the mother or baby.

Another problem that might cause clotting during pregnancy is a cut or tear in the uterine wall. If this happens, a pregnant woman might also experience cramping and pain. Most of the time, a doctor will prescribe bed rest to allow the tear to heal.

Sometimes, clotting during the latter stages of pregnancy can be a sign of late miscarriage or premature labor. Heavy bleeding accompanied by cramping and pain ighty be a symptom of miscarriage. In preterm labor, the bleeding can be accompanied by contractions and a mucousy discharge.

Experiencing bleeding and clotting during pregnancy can be frightening to a woman, who might immediately think the worst. Usually, the best course of action when bleeding causes concern is for the woman to consult a physician as soon as possible. Medical evaluation can treat many potential problems during pregnancy, and catching any complications early can help prevent or minimize any harm.


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