With the chance of miscarriage at its highest in the first trimester, any kind of bleeding, light or heavy, can be worrying at 5 weeks pregnant- and you may find yourself fearing the worst.
In this article, we will discuss whether spotting at 5 weeks pregnant is normal, the potential causes, when to contact your doctor and more:
- Is Spotting at 5 Weeks Pregnant Normal?
- Spotting VS Bleeding at 5 Weeks Pregnant: What’s the Difference?
- What Causes Spotting During Early Pregnancy?
- How Can I Prevent Spotting at 5 Weeks Pregnant?
- When to Contact Your Doctor About Early Pregnancy Spotting
Is Spotting at 5 Weeks Pregnant Normal?
A small amount of spotting or light bleeding during early pregnancy is normal. In fact, up to 1 in 4 women experience spotting during pregnancy.
However, heavier bleeding, which may fill up a panty liner, or be accompanied by cramps, is not normal during early pregnancy.
Spotting VS Bleeding at 5 Weeks Pregnant: What’s the Difference?
Spotting is light bleeding which only consists of small amounts of blood. Spotting occurs outside of your period, or during pregnancy. Spotting is often no cause for alarm during pregnancy.
Bleeding during pregnancy, on the other hand, is not normal.
You can tell the differences between spotting and bleeding in the following ways:
The first and most prominent difference between spotting and vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is the flow.
Spotting has a very light flow- in fact, it may just appear as a few small drops in your underwear or as a streak when you wipe.
On the other hand, vaginal bleeding has a heavier flow and you may need to use a panty liner or pad to stop the blood from soaking your clothes.
Spotting during pregnancy may appear as red, brown or pinkish brown.
On the other hand, vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy will appear as bright red blood.
Spotting during pregnancy is not consistent; it stops and starts and often only appears as a streak when you wipe, or as a few small drops in your underwear.
Vaginal bleeding is more consistent and lasts for longer durations of time.
Normal spotting during pregnancy may be accompanied by mild cramps (which are much milder than your menstrual period).
Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy may be accompanied by cramping that has the same severity as your menstrual period, or worse.
What Causes Spotting During Early Pregnancy?
Spotting in early pregnancy can be worrying, and you may be concerned that there is a sinister underlying reason.
Spotting in early pregnancy can happen for a number of reasons, and it is fairly common and usually nothing to worry about. In fact, spotting can actually be a sign that your pregnancy is progressing nicely.
Below are some of the potential causes of spotting at 5 weeks pregnant:
Implantation is the process where a fertilised egg implants itself onto the uterine lining. When the fertilized egg (or blastocyst) attaches to the uterine lining, it is given a blood supply so that it can begin growing into a fetus.
The motion of the fertilised egg attaching to the uterine lining can cause tiny blood vessels to break, causing something called implantation bleeding– which is a light spotting that is often brown or pinkish brown in colour, but can be bright red.
An ectopic pregnancy is when the pregnancy develops outside of the uterus, usually within a fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be saved, and they are dangerous to mums, so treatment should be sought straight away.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include:
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting, commonly after the pain has started
- Watery brown discharge
- Pain in your shoulder tip
- Persistent and severe tummy pain, usually on one side
- diarrhea at 5 weeks pregnant and vomiting
- feeling very faint and lightheaded, and possibly fainting
A threatened miscarriage is when vaginal bleeding occurs during pregnancy.
Bleeding from the vagina does not always lead to a miscarriage.
After a threatened miscarriage, there 83% of pregnant women continue to have a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Miscarriages are most likely to occur during your first trimester- or the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. They are defined as “the loss of pregnancy during the first 23 weeks”.
Symptoms of an 5 weeks pregnant miscarriage include:
- Cramping and pain in your lower tummy (lower abdominal pain).
- Tissue loss from your vagina.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Bright Red Blood
- A discharge of fluid from your vagina.
- Dark brown discharge that looks like ground coffee
- No longer experiencing your usual pregnancy symptoms.
When you are pregnant, the blood flow to your cervix increases and hormones are secreted. This increased blood supply and secretion of hormones causes your cervix to soften and become much more susceptible to irritation.
So, if you experience light bleeding after sexual intercourse or a vaginal exam, this may be the cause!
How Can I Prevent Spotting at 5 Weeks Pregnant?
Spotting at 5 weeks pregnant can have a variety of causes- as discussed in the section above.
Sometimes, the cause of spotting at 5 weeks pregnant can be external.
There are some steps you can take to prevent the occurrence of spotting during pregnancy, if it is caused by external factors or activities.
- Wash underwear with mild soaps and water
- Avoid using soaps with moisturising creams
- Avoid using soaps with antibacterial and antifungal agents
- Avoid using panty liners
- Do not over-wash the genital area (no more than two times a day)
- Avoid using softeners and bleach on underwear
- Wear loose, light and cotton underwear
- Do not perform vaginal douching without being advised to by your gynecologist
When to Contact Your Doctor About Early Pregnancy Spotting
As a general rule, if you are experiencing bleeding and cramping at 5 weeks pregnant (or at any point of your pregnancy) you should contact your local early pregnancy unit.
In addition to any early pregnancy bleeding, if you are concerned about any of your symptoms you should contact your doctor.
If you are experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding accompanied by severe cramping, you should see your early pregnancy unit immediately as it may be a sign of a miscarriage.
Louise McCamily serves as the Digital Marketing and Administrative Assistant at MyBump2Baby, where she has contributed to the creation and editing of more than 400 articles. She holds a prestigious Surfer SEO certification and a Foundation Degree in Software Engineering with distinction. Louise is passionate about delivering outstanding service to MyBump2Baby's expanding community of families