Brown spotting during pregnancy is quite common. In most cases, it has been observed that discharge from the vagina increases with a progress in the pregnancy stages.It may also be noted that the vaginal walls as well as the cervix tend to become very tender at the time of pregnancy. Hence, there is an increase in vaginal discharges to prevent the entry of any type of infection from the vagina towards the womb.
Brown spotting during pregnancy is normal and can occur due to a variety of causes. Additionally, as the baby grows, there is extra pressure on the joints, muscles, ligaments, and adjacent organs. This can result in discomfort and cramping in addition to brown spotting during pregnancy.
Most women tend to think that brown spotting during pregnancy may indicate the presence of anomalies or conditions, even though it is not an uncommon occurrence. It may be noted that many women elicit some form of discharge from the vagina during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. Such vaginal discharge may range from being reddish to brownish in color.
All such cases of brown spotting during pregnancy is normal if it is not accompanied by other anomalies such as elimination of reddish menstrual blood clots or blood, heavy discharge, or severe cramping.The additional symptoms may arise due to mild causes or because of severe underlying abnormalities.
Causes of brown spotting during pregnancy
Brown spotting during pregnancy, particularly towards the end of the first trimester, is commonly caused due to removal of older blood remains from the cervix. As a pregnancy progresses, the original blood which was used to guard the womb is no longer needed by the body, and hence eliminated.
Some other common causes of brown spotting during pregnancy are listed below:
- Implantation bleeding: This cause of brown spotting during pregnancy usually occurs for around 2 weeks after conception and 4 weeks since the previous menstrual period. It usually occurs after the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Most women experience light bleeding or spotting.
- Sexual intercourse or vaginal ultrasound:Brown spotting during pregnancy after sexual intercourse or vaginal ultrasound is also normal as the cervix tends to become very sensitive during this period. Irritation of the cervix results in minor tearing which is what causes brown spotting which lasts for around 2 to 3 days.
- Genital HPV or human papillomavirus infection: Brown spotting during pregnancy can also be a sign of a flare up of an underlying genital HPV infection. It often occurs because of elevated manufacture of estrogen and excess supply of blood to the regions surrounding the vagina.
- Molar pregnancy: It is a rare and severe cause of brown spotting during pregnancy. This condition is characterized by abnormal growth of the embryo and occurrence of irregularities in the cells that eventually grow to develop into the placenta.
- Infection of the vagina or cervix: Infections of the vaginal area by varied viruses such as Verruca Virus, etc. can also result in brown spotting during pregnancy as well as itchiness and burning sensations.
- Ectopic pregnancy: Implantation of the fertilized egg outside the uterus is known as ectopic pregnancy. In a majority of instances, the egg gets placed in the fallopian tubes and hence is also referred to as tubal pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can not only cause brown spotting during pregnancy, but also poses dangers to the mother’s life. Hence, it has to be removed at the earliest.
- Miscarriage: The rejection and removal of the fetus by the body is referred to as miscarriage. The reasons for its occurrence are often unknown.
Treatment of brown spotting during pregnancy
Brown spotting during pregnancy may occur due to normal or serious causes. Hence, all affected women need to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and effective treatment if necessary.
Extreme cases of brown spotting during pregnancy which is accompanied by pain in the abdomen, increased blood loss, and cramping, or instances of miscarriage, may require hospitalization to bring the condition under control.
It is important for all women who elicit brown spotting during pregnancy to lie down or sit with the feet up and relax as much as possible, till the time they avail of medical attention.
The below listed instructions may be followed during pregnancy to avoid any complications arising out of brown spotting during pregnancy:
- Immediately consult a doctor when any abnormal symptoms are noticed.
- Never self-treat on the assumption that the condition is caused due to a vaginal infection.
- Do not douche as it can cause imbalance of the normal pH levels in the vagina and increase the risk to infections.
- Use panty liners only of they are comfortable
- Avoid the use of tampons as they increase the risk to growth of germs in the vagina.
It is best practice to seek medical attention as soon as possible in all cases of brown spotting during pregnancy. Delaying it can only cause unnecessary stress thereby increasing the vulnerability to developing other health complications.