Q:

Is spotting a sign of pregnancy and is it normal?

A:

Quick Answer

Spotting, also referred to as implantation bleeding, can be a sign of pregnancy. It usually occurs around day 10 after conception, when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Spotting is quite normal, especially in early pregnancy.

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Full Answer

Implantation Bleeding Explained
Implantation bleeding or spotting can occur anywhere between six and 12 days after conception. Implantation is when the embryo attaches itself to the lining of the womb, and in doing so may cause tiny blood vessels to burst. This can cause mild cramping in the abdomen and pink or brown spots of blood or discharge. This in itself is not dangerous to the baby or its mother but some women may mistake it for a period.

Is It Spotting or an Actual Period?
The only way to know for sure if it is spotting or a regular period is to give it a few days and then take a pregnancy test. Because every woman's body and menstrual cycle vary, what might be considered as normal premenstrual spotting could turn out to be implantation bleeding. It might be reassuring to know that spotting is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, and a lot of the time women do not experience any signs associated with implantation.

When to Consult a Doctor
Any type of bleeding during pregnancy is unwelcome and does cause some concern, particularly in a first pregnancy. If the bleeding pattern changes from light to heavy or changes to bright red in color and is accompanied by severe pain, it could be a sign that something is wrong and a checkup may be necessary.

Other Signs of Pregnancy
Nausea or vomiting is the second-most reported sign of pregnancy after a missed period. It typically starts between two and eight weeks after gestation. Nausea can occur at any time of the day or night but it is not experienced by all women. For the most part, nausea subsides after the first trimester, but some women experience it throughout their whole pregnancy. If a pregnant woman cannot keep down her food she may need to be hospitalized. Other common signs of early pregnancy are tender breasts that are sore to touch, the need to pass urine more frequently and extreme tiredness.

As a pregnancy develops, other signs may include headaches and back pain. It is believed that the rise in hormones contributes to headaches, while a loosening of the ligaments and joints can give rise to back pain. Cravings for certain foods or even non-food items is another common sign of pregnancy. By the same token, a woman can be completely turned off a food she previously used to enjoy.

Along with the aforementioned breast tenderness, it is quite normal for the area around the nipple, known as the areola, to darken in color. Mood swings are another part of pregnancy, with some women experiencing extreme happiness one moment and severe lows the next. Constipation and bloating may also indicate pregnancy, both of which are caused by the change in hormone levels. An increase in the production of blood during pregnancy coupled with an increase in hormone levels can result in the mucous membranes in the nose to become dry, which can cause a stuffy nose.

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