Bleeding in pregnancy not always miscarriage

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'Am I having a miscarriage?"

I often have patients asking me this question.

They have been waiting a long time to get pregnant, and today they are at the clinic with vaginal bleeding after a positive pregnancy test.

The answer, although not easy, can be determined after some tests, mainly from the history taken from the patient.

Many times the main concern is: Have I done something to make this happen?

The answer to this is a big no. Miscarriages (first trimester abortions) represent 80 percent of all pregnancy losses.

We seem to notice them more because of the great pregnancy tests available. Having a miscarriage does not mean that you will not be able to have a baby in the future.

As a general rule, all bleeding in the first trimester is not necessarily a miscarriage. Sometimes the bleeding may be from implantation of the fertilized egg (embryo) into the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

Other times, bleeding or spotting may be secondary to cervical inflammation that occurs with vaginal infections or hormonal changes from the pregnancy. Bleeding may even be from bladder infections, although these are less likely.

If having bleeding after a positive pregnancy test, please make an appointment with your provider.

Blood or radiographic tests may be done to clarify that the pregnancy is going well (viability of pregnancy). In some cases, after 12 weeks gestation or more, fetal heart tones may be heard, in which case viability and reassurance are achieved up to 80 percent.

If pregnancy is in your plans in the next year start prenatal vitamins today. Do not forget daily exercise and a balanced diet as well. You and your baby will enjoy them.

Dr. Evelyn Rodriguez practices medicine at Family Medical Center, 1120 W. Rose St.

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