Spotting and bleeding during pregnancy could be a sign of anything from a minor complication or a major health complication. While the two are often confused, they are quite different and you can differentiate them by their color. Spotting tends to be lighter, mainly pinkish brown in color while bleeding is red. The amount of blood is also an indicator of whether you are bleeding or spotting. Spotting produces minimal blood while bleeding tends to be heavier and enough to soak a sanitary pad. Various factors contribute to a light period and one of them is pregnancy. Today, we take a deeper look at the factors that bring about a light period, giving you more information on light period and pregnancy.
Does Light Period Mean I’m Pregnant?
Light period and pregnancy do have some connection. If you have consistent periods and this time is late, a light period may be a sign of pregnancy. This is normally referred to as implantation bleeding, because it occurs as a result of implantation. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus lining, some bleeding may occur because the uterus lining is filled with blood. However, this is just a theory and no one knows exactly why implantation bleeding occurs. Usually, implantation bleeding is lighter than normal periods and it lasts a much shorter time–about a day or two. It is not uncommon to have delayed periods and a sure way to find out if you are indeed pregnant is to take a home test.
What Can Cause Light Period During Pregnancy?
Some of the common causes of spotting or bleeding include:
1. Sex. When pregnant, the cervix tends to have increased blood flow and it is therefore not unusual to spot after intercourse. If you have a cervix polyp which is a benign growth within the cervix, you could easily experience spotting or bleeding especially after intercourse.
2. Vaginal Exams. Vaginal exams such as a pap smear could lead to minimal spotting. The reason lies in increased blood flow within the cervix.
3. Miscarriage or an Ectopic Pregnancy. Bleeding or spotting during the first trimester may be as a result of a miscarriage or a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If the bleeding or spotting is accompanied by cramps and abdominal pain, you need to seek medical attention because the underlying cause may be life threatening. Miscarriages are not uncommon and half of the women who experience spotting or bleeding during early pregnancy end up losing the pregnancy. If your unborn child has a normal heartbeat between the 7th and 11th week of pregnancy, your chances of having a healthy pregnancy increases to over 90 percent.
4. Infections. Spotting could be due to a vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted infection. It does not necessarily have to be pregnancy related. Infections and STIs cause inflammation and irritation within the cervix and this would make it prone to bleeding.
5. Premature Problems and Placental Problems. Spotting or bleeding during the second or third trimester may be more serious than you think. It could be due to a placental abruption, placenta previa, late miscarriage or even premature labor. Bleeding in the first trimester also may be associated with placental problems. Research shows that early pregnancy bleeding is often associated with complications that occur later on in pregnancy.
6. Near Labor. When close to giving birth, the cervix starts to dilate as a way of preparing your body for labor. This may lead to passing your mucus plug which may have a bloody show. This should not be a reason to worry, especially if you have reached 37 weeks of pregnancy. However, if the bloody show has more than a hint of blood, you need to seek medical attention. Call your doctor when you have increased spotting or bleeding.
What Causes Light Period If I’m Not Pregnant?
Though light period and pregnancy are somehow related with each other. A light period doesn’t always indicate pregnancy. There are various triggers both internal and external. These include:
|Hormonal Imbalance||Insufficient levels of estrogen could lead to thinning within the uterus lining and lead to a lighter period.|
|Menopause||Menopause also leads to a hormonal imbalance as reproductive hormones such as progesterone and estrogen are not produced enough. As a result, there is less menstrual flow and with time no periods at all.|
|Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)||PCOS leads to the formation of small cysts within the ovaries causing abnormal menstruation. While some women will experience heavy bleeding, others will have a lighter flow or even miss periods.|
|Birth control pills||Some birth control pills may be responsible for the lighter period. This is due to the hormone present in the pills which alters with the body’s normal function. Some women will experience a decreased menstrual flow during the first few months of using these contraceptives.|
|Stress||Stress could affect your monthly period. When under stress, your body goes into emergency mode diverting more blood flow to vital organs in the body. This leads to decreased flow of blood during your period.|
|Excess physical exertion||Rigorous physical activity and training sessions could contribute to lighter periods. In fact, this affects female athletes a lot. In non-athletic women, travelling and excess exercise could be the cause.|
|Other reasons||Other reasons that contribute to light periods include poor nutrition and low body weight. These two factors affect the proper production of hormones. Chronic health problems such as osteoporosis, diabetes, thyroid problems and certain medications also could lead to light periods.|
What to Do When I Have Light Period
1. Take a Pregnancy Test. To get a better idea of whether your light period and pregnancy are related or if you need to be sure that you are not pregnant and the best way to do this is by taking a pregnancy test. Pregnancy kits work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a hormone that is produced in the body when an egg is fertilized.
2. See Your Doctor. Make an appointment with your doctor for proper diagnosis, especially if your spotting is accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain and others. Bleeding may be due to an abnormality with the pregnancy.
3. Head for the Emergency Room. If you have excessive bleeding or are in severe pain and cannot reach your doctor, head for the emergency room.