Time and again there are stories in the news of women saying they are pregnant despite period were. That sounds strange to many women, because the pregnancy should have been noticed by the missed period. However, many of these women report that they continued to have regular menstrual periods.
Can you be pregnant despite your period?
However, getting your period during pregnancy is completely impossible as the two are mutually exclusive. During the menstrual period, the lining of the uterus, the so-called placenta, is shed from the body. If, on the other hand, a woman is pregnant, a fertilized egg has implanted itself in the placenta.
The mucous membrane is not broken down because it is responsible for supplying the baby with nutrients and oxygen. Without the placenta, the baby would not survive. The placenta also produces hormones that help keep pregnancy going. Hence it is biologically impossible pregnant despite period to be.
Causes of bleeding despite pregnancy
Even so, bleeding can occur during pregnancy. These can have different causes depending on the point in time. About nine to ten days after the egg cell is fertilized, implantation bleeding, also called nidation bleeding, can occur. The reason for this lies in the implantation of the fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus.
Nidation bleeding is lighter than menstrual bleeding and lasts about 24 to 48 hours. In most cases, nidation bleeding is harmless. Another reason for bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy can be hormonal imbalances. At the beginning of pregnancy, the hormonal balance is not yet properly adjusted. The hormones still have to adjust to the fact that the menstrual period has to stop.
This can lead to hormonal bleeding. These then occur at the same time that the woman would actually have had her period. Bleeding can also occur after intercourse or an examination by the gynecologist. Because the genitals are better supplied with blood during pregnancy, minor injuries to the arteries can occur, known as contact bleeding.
This is usually not dangerous, but the gynecologist should be informed about it. Growths in the uterus, also called cervical polyps, can be responsible for bleeding. These are mostly benign. However, they should be examined by a doctor as they are rarely an indication of cervical cancer. Like the growths, this can trigger bleeding during pregnancy.
Both cervical polyps and cervical cancer can occur outside of pregnancy. It is a concern if the bleeding occurs together with severe pelvic pain and cramps. This could be an indication of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not implant itself in the placenta, but in the fallopian tubes.
If the egg cell is now embedded in a narrow part of the fallopian tube, this section is initially only stretched. The stretching leads to unilateral lower abdominal pain. If the egg cell continues to grow, the fallopian tube ruptures. This leads to heavy bleeding and can be life-threatening for the woman. In the event of pain and cramps in the lower abdomen, a doctor should be consulted to determine the causes and possible treatments.
Another cause of bleeding during pregnancy can be the phenomenon of the vanishing twin. In the case of a multiple pregnancy, a twin may no longer develop for various reasons. The background to this can be a developmental or chromosomal disorder. The fetus is then absorbed into the mother's body, who often notices spotting.
For the other twin, the departure of the other at an early stage of pregnancy is usually not a problem. From around the 24th week of pregnancy, however, the loss is no longer referred to as a "vanishing twin", but as a miscarriage. The mother's body can no longer absorb the fetus. In this case, it is imperative to see a doctor. The twin must be surgically removed to protect the other fetus.
However, bleeding can also be triggered by problems with the placenta. There are various options here. The smaller blood vessels in the placenta can crack. These are usually painless and stop on their own. Another reason can be a placenta previa. Here the placenta lies over the cervix and thereby blocks the birth canal.
In most cases, the birth canal is re-opened a few weeks before pregnancy. In a small proportion of women, however, it remains covered, causing more bleeding. Premature placenta detachment can also be a cause of bleeding. This is accompanied by severe abdominal cramps. In both cases a doctor should be consulted.
Why bleeding is not uncommon during pregnancy
Overall, bleeding during pregnancy is not uncommon. Vaginal bleeding occurs in about a quarter of all women in the first trimester of pregnancy. Nidation bleeding or bleeding due to hormonal changes are particularly common. Both are harmless and stop after a certain time.
Pregnant Despite Period: Myth or Truth?
So the myth that periods can continue despite pregnancy does not apply. Bleeding can occur during pregnancy. However, these can have many different causes, but not your period. Some types of bleeding are harmless to health, but if in doubt, see a doctor. This is especially true if the bleeding is associated with lower abdominal pain or occurs after the first trimester of pregnancy.