Should I be worried about spotting during pregnancy?

Real Mom Problem

“I have had a little bit of spotting. It really wasn't much, but it was bright red. Should I be going to ER? I am really trying not to freak myself out.”

by Ericababyy Ericababyy

Quick Tips

  • 1. Many expectant moms have spotting, ranging from pink to red to brown
  • 2. Spotting is often nothing to worry about, but bright red blood, or a significant amount of blood may indicate a problem
  • 3. Spotting is common after sex while you're pregnant
  • 4. Always call your doctor if you are concerned about spotting or any other health issue

Real Mom Solutions

Even a tiny bit of blood can be alarming when you're pregnant. Spotting is common throughout pregnancy and doesn't always mean something is wrong. Check out what spotting and bleeding issues these moms have experienced, and talk to your doctor if you're concerned.

Sarah McMoyler Sarah McMoyler

Our Expert Mom Says...

Scary to look down at your panties or the toilet tissue after you pee to see bright red bleeding! Is this normal or a problem? Here are some tips to help distinguish between the two:

  • Vaginal Exam: can cause spotting due to the sensitive nature of the cervix as you approach your due date: NORMAL
  • Sexual Intercourse: definitely can cause some spotting afterwards, due to the "boom-boom" effect (penis contacting sensitive cervix, can result in spotting.) NORMAL
  • Vaginal Discharge: Thicker, mucousey brownish-pinkish discharge is usually okay - particularly when there are no symptoms of discomfort.
  • Bleeding: During pregnancy, bright red, steady or heavy bleeding is a potential emergency and needs immediate follow-up. (In contrast to active labor, when there will be small amounts of bleeding as the cervix dilates.)

If there is any concern of any kind related to the pregnancy - better to be safe than sorry - contact your health care professional or labor and delivery directly.

Sarah McMoyler, RN, BSN and mother, is WebMD's Pregnancy Expert, and founder of McMoyler Method. As a specialist in labor and delivery nursing for more than 20 years, McMoyler has assisted in the delivery of more than 5,000 babies. Her personal view and in-depth professional experience has been integral to McMoyler Method's success in graduating more than 18,000 San Francisco Bay Area couples to confidently approach pregnancy, prepare for delivery, and care for their newborn babies.

McMoyler decided to make her popular method available to a broader audience by presenting McMoyler Method to a global audience through the release of a book titled The Best Birth: Your Guide to the Safest, Healthiest, Most Satisfying Labor and Delivery and the upcoming launch of a new online class.

Spotting Is Common in Early Pregnancy

  • djsmommy13

    I had spotting with my daughter and with this pregnancy and both times, things went fine for me. I was about nine weeks each time I had spotting.

  • 3boysngirl

    I was bleeding pretty heavily at 14 weeks, three days. Bright red covered the toilet paper and scared the living daylights out of me and the whole pregnancy was ruined, but now I have a very healthy 11-month-old.

  • Teeshann

    I spotted with this baby (my 3rd) a lot at the beginning. Scared me because I didn't do that with my other two. Seemed to happen after I lifted anything. But they did an ultrasound and everything was fine. I can't remember when it stopped, but I haven't spotted in awhile now. I'm now 29 weeks.

  • -KC-

    I'm 10 weeks along, and when I was seven weeks I was spotting and had horrible sharp pains. I couldn't even walk. I ended up in the ER. They did an ultrasound, and a bunch of tests. The baby was fine, and still is. Most times spotting is normal during pregnancy. Just stay in contact with your OB/GYN.

  • yikesitsmindy

    I spotted bright red around 10 weeks and never again. I have a totally healthy pregnancy at 25 weeks.

  • BiPolarMomto3

    Bleeding, or light spotting, is normal during the first few weeks. Just as long as it's not clots or serious cramping or bleeding. Some women bleed like a normal period their entire pregnancy and are fine. As long as your HCG levels are doubling then don't worry about it.

  • JamieleeB

    I started spotting on and off (mostly on though) from about 5 and a half weeks to week 12. It really freaked me out badly and I thought it was another miscarriage. I am now 15 weeks and 5 days pregnant and the spotting is finally gone.

  • cdrekaj

    I spotted during all my pregnancies. If they saw a heart beat you should be fine, but I would take it easy and avoid sex.

Spotting Can Occur for Many Reasons

  • AnotherPutra

    I wouldn't worry too much. I suddenly bled a LOT after intercourse when I was about five months, so we went to the hospital and discovered there was a blood clot behind my placenta. I kept bleeding for a month but everything has been fine.

  • mommyof4gn1b

    Some people bleed the whole pregnancy. Check with your doc. When you miscarry, it's not just bleeding but you have contractions too.

  • thorchick

    I had spotting around 13 weeks and went to the ER they did an ultrasound and everything was perfectly fine. I was still upset and afraid of what might happen, so I went to see my OB the next day. I had a slight tear in my uterine wall and just had to go on bed rest for about 2 weeks. Hang in there I'm now almost 27 weeks with a healthy baby girl.

  • marihla

    I've had spotting and found that it is common in one third of pregnancies. There is so much blood flow in your body right now that your cervix is not the only thing that will bleed - I get a nosebleed and bleeding gums every day. I would worry if you got cramps with the bleeding. Otherwise, just try to enjoy your pregnancy.

  • louzannalady

    I had bleeding on and off. Come to find out, I just had a polyp on my cervix. Not a big deal. It could be any number of things -- none of which are cause for concern. I guess I should say, it is common and you have more of a chance of a benign reason for bleeding than something serious. I know it's scary.

  • JuJuBee07

    I started bleeding pretty heavily around 13-14 weeks and went to straight to the ER. They did an ultrasound right away and the baby was fine. Turns out I had a posterior placenta which was over the opening of my cervix and was causing me to bleed. It only lasted a couple of hours and since then everything has been fine! My placenta has moved and is now normal the way it should be. I'm in my 24th week and both my baby boy and I are doing great. I know it's hard, but try not to worry! If they checked the baby and everything is fine then I'd try my best just to focus on that!

If You're Bleeding Later in Pregnancy

  • BabieBeat

    Call your healthcare team, go to the ER or Labor & Delivery. Don't ever hesitate to call and ask your doctor, midwife or healthcare team about any questions or concerns you may have. They are there to educate and inform you - that's their job! And always trust your gut.

  • crystalrbp

    If you're cramping, and have bright red blood at 28 weeks [or after], don't wait. You need to go to Labor & Delivery and get checked out.

  • SamiiSecurity

    I'd go to the ER ASAP! I was bleeding at 36 weeks, and I went to my midwife. She said sex can cause bleeding, but I was also having contractions so now I'm restricted from sex and have to "take it easy." Go get checked!

Check the Color of the Blood

  • ShyMama0817

    Old 'brown' blood is ok, red blood is a warning sign.

  • barefootncrazy

    My doctor always said any bright red bleeding needs urgent attention.