Menstruation during pregnancy?
Yes, women have often asked me this question not because they actually experienced it themselves but because they heard someone, a sister or friend reported the same problem.
I will discuss in this article the likelihood of this occurrence and the main premise or assumption that drives this thought amongst most women.
By principle, menstruation during pregnancy is out of place. It is actually an oxymoron indeed.
The uprising of this question of menses during pregnancy is not really because it is a complex issue to understand. It is simply because by mouth-to-mouth women talk, it has gained some popularity amongst women and almost appears as though it is true. In fact what drives this is word of mouth that ...' some relative here or a friend there has reported having had her period during pregnancy".
The major error in this misconception is that proponents of this idea call any brief vaginal bleeding "menses". Even in an woman who is not pregnant, menses is not synonymous to vaginal bleeding. Menstrual bleed is a well-defined physiologic process resulting from well known hormonal interactions. Menses is just one type of vaginal bleeding, which is not a disease!
The different types of vaginal bleeding result from different mechanisms. Pregnancy hormones make menses not to be possible. In fact the very presence of pregnancy abolishes menses. Why? The typical hormonal pattern during the ovulation cycle that results in menses cannot occur during pregnancy. Bleeding not caused by this known hormonal interplay is not menses, though still vaginal bleeding of another cause.
It is important to recognize this because any "menstrual-like" bleeding during pregnancy warrants medical attention. Mislabeling it menstruation may result in adverse outcomes. However, there are minor vaginal bleeding episodes that may occur during pregnancy.
Bleeding during pregnancy may have multiple causes. Most importantly, there may be slight spotting during the first month. Two trivial causes are
There are three major early pregnancy complications that must not be mistaken as menstruation during pregnancy. Seek medical attention.
During the second and third trimester, the causes of bleeding through the vagina are generally different, such as
In conclusion, not all bleeding through the vagina is menses. Normal menstruation is a precise physiologic process driven by a known interplay of hormones.