Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy

There are many causes of bleeding during pregnancy. A pelvic exam will help determine if the bleeding is something minor or more serious.

Overview and Symptoms

Bleeding during pregnancy may come from the cervix, placenta, uterus, or may be secondary to inflammation or trauma. A pelvic exam will help determine the source and severity of the bleeding.

Minor causes of bleeding irritation to the cervix or a growth on the cervix, such as a polyp. If your doctor is concerned the bleeding is due to something more serious like preterm labor or a placental disorder, we will admit you to the hospital for observation.

Some women are at a higher risk of vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy than others. Women may be at increased risk for placental abruption if they have experienced an abruption before, have elevated blood pressure, premature prelabor rupture of membranes, trauma or injury to the abdomen, use illicit substances such as cocaine, or smoke.


Treatment for vaginal bleeding depends on the most likely cause of your symptoms. A pelvic exam will help determine the source and an electronic monitor is often used to monitor uterine activity and your baby’s heart rate.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

The Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine at BIDMC provides extraordinary care for pregnancies with potential complications to mother or baby.

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