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Q. I am eight weeks pregnant. I have been noticing a light brownish color on the toilet paper the last few days. Then today, there were a couple of small, brown, sticky pieces on the t.p. I am in no pain. What is going on?
A. The brownish color sounds like blood. Signs of blood during pregnancy do set off alarm bells. But, before you get yourself in a panic, do know that light bleeding is common during pregnancy, especially within the first trimester. As a matter of fact, it happened to me with both of my pregnancies.
During my first pregnancy, I had a small amount of brownish blood, like you, that most resembled the end of a period. During the second pregnancy, I had a big bleeding episode of bright, red blood that lasted almost as long as a full-length period. That was scary, but both pregnancies turned out fine.
In any event, I do advise that you call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any amount, or any color, of blood. It’s always best to be cautious.
Q. I am 21 weeks pregnant and have experienced some bleeding during this, my first pregnancy. I feel fine and have no pain. Last night I noticed a brownish slight vaginal discharge. Should I worry? Also, I haven't felt the baby move yet.
A. In mid-to-late pregnancy, light bleeding or spotting shouldn't be cause for concern, but should be reported to your doctor immediately, just in case. The swollen cervix, with an increasing pressure on it, may bleed due to a doctor's examination, intercourse or just for the hell of it. If you experience heavy or bright red bleeding at this point in your pregnancy, you should see your doctor ASAP for an examination.
As far as the baby's movement is concerned, you should not be worried. Some women do not "feel" the baby until 27 weeks or so, especially with a first pregnancy. See the other fetal movement questions for more details.
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Q. I'm concerned about light vaginal bleeding and continued spotting I’ve been experiencing after intercourse. According to my ovulation chart I had intercourse on a very, very fertile day. After intercourse, I noticed light bleeding (not enough to fill a pad) and spotting. Is there any way you can ovulate in 28 days and not have your period for another 5 days? Should I be worried? And when should I take a HPT?
A. Light bleeding after intercourse can be an indicator of pregnancy because the cervix becomes very tender and swollen while pregnant. Most women ovulate 12 to 14 days after the first day of a period and don't have the next period for another two weeks, but everyone's cycle varies.
If you think you are pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test (HPT) the first day after a missed period.
Q. This is my first pregnancy. In the first and second trimesters I experienced vaginal bleeding, sometimes after sexual intercourse. When I'm on top and leaning forward I don't bleed. Does the angle of penetration affect the cervix? What are the safest positions?
A. During pregnancy, the cervix becomes engorged with blood and very tender. It's no wonder that most pregnant women experience some bleeding during and after intercourse, which isn't harmful. If you want to avoid bleeding you may try sexual positions that don't involve deep, cervix-bashing penetration. Being on top gives you the most control of penetration depth. You can also try the missionary position, but push your legs downward and squeeze against your partner’s hips to control depth.
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Q. I was supposed to start my period Sunday, but it came on Monday. It lasted for about two days and then it was brownish stuff. What could this mean?
A. Menstrual bleeding that is just beginning, ending or is slowed down sometimes looks brown instead of red because it is old blood. Bright red blood during a period usually appears during the heaviest days, when the blood is flowing faster and is fresh. Sounds gory, doesn't it?
A period that is off by a day or two is nothing to be concerned about– it's normal.
Q. It is possible to still be pregnant if you have a period?
A. If you are six weeks pregnant or more and have a period or some bleeding, you should contact your doctor ASAP. It could be an indicator of miscarriage, or it could be nothing. I experienced bleeding early in both of my pregnancies, even as much blood flow as a period, but the babies turned out fine.
If you thought you may be newly pregnant and then had a period, you probably are not pregnant. If you miss your next period, you may want to take a home pregnancy test or visit your OB/GYN or a clinic to be sure.
Q. I am three months pregnant. Every time I have sex with my boyfriend I bleed lightly for a few minutes. Is this normal?
A. Yes. During pregnancy the cervix becomes engorged with blood and extremely tender. See the other bleeding cervix question for more details.
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Q. Can a woman be pregnant and continue to have heavy menstruation at the same time?
A. Probably not. It is highly unlikely someone can be pregnant and carry on with a regular monthly period. But, bleeding can occur from time to time during pregnancy for a number of reasons.
Q. I have experienced a "period" every three and-a-half weeks since I became pregnant. I am now in my 25th week and the bleeding is light (requiring a “Light Days” pad) and lasts for two and-a-half days each time it occurs. I still feel the baby kick a lot, especially when his daddy talks to him. Am I okay? I have no pain, just stomach muscle discomfort once in a while.
A. Although it's not that common, some women do experience a light period throughout pregnancy. I'm fairly sure you have no cause for concern. As long as you don't have heavy, bright red bleeding and/or cramping, you and the baby should be just fine.
The stomach muscle discomfort may be the beginning of Braxton Hicks contractions that are “training” the pregnant uterus for real labor. See the other “contractions” questions for more details on Braxton Hicks.
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Q. My girlfriend has been pregnant for a couple of months. I thought her period would stop, but she tells me it is normal to have your period when you are pregnant. She had her last period about two months ago. Another woman told me the same thing. Since this is normal, will she go through the whole nine months having her period?
A. It is not common for women to continue menstruation during pregnancy, but it does happen sometimes. Your girlfriend may be one of the few women who miss out on one of the pluses of pregnancy—not dealing with a monthly period.
If she had her last period two months ago, she may not be bleeding regularly and may not experience another episode. Regardless, your girlfriend should report any bleeding to her doctor immediately, just in case.
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