Brown spotting at 5 weeks pregnant is a surprisingly common occurrence for many mums-to-be.
Early pregnancy can be a very anxious time for pregnant women, especially for those experiencing vaginal bleeding and/or brown discharge during the pregnancy.
But is it always a cause for concern?
In this article, we cover each of the following sections:
- Different Kinds of Brown Discharge During Pregnancy – What Does Brown Blood or Discharge Mean?
- Why Do I Have Brown Discharge During Pregnancy? – Is Spotting Normal at 5/6 Weeks Pregnant?
- How to Stop Brown Discharge During Pregnancy
- What are the Signs of Miscarriage?
- What Should I Do If I Think I’m Miscarrying?
- What Should I Do if I Have Brown Spotting?
- Reassurance Pregnancy Scans
- FAQs – Brown Spotting at 5/6 Weeks Pregnant
- Success Stories After Having Brown Discharge Or Early Pregnancy Bleeding
Below is a pregnancy Vlog from Carla Lett on Brown spotting at 5 weeks, Carla’s pregnancy has continued and eventually stopped at week 8.
Different Kinds of Brown Discharge During Pregnancy – What Does Brown Blood or Discharge Mean?
Brown discharge when you wipe in the first trimester is fairly common, and in way appear in the different ways listed below:
- Light Brown Discharge. Light brown discharge during pregnancy means that your vaginal discharge contains a small amount of old blood that has taken a while to exit the vagina.
- Dark Brown Discharge. Like light brown discharge, dark brown discharge is old blood that is passing through the vagina. Dark brown discharge is concentrated with blood/contains higher quantities of blood than light brown discharge, which is why it appears darker.
- Brown flakes in Discharge. Brown flakes in your vaginal discharge means that there is a small amount of old dried blood in your vaginal discharge.
- Very Dark Discharge. Very dark brown discharge- which appears to be black- is older blood leaving the vaginal canal. Black discharge, accompanied with a foul odour, may be a sign of a vaginal infection.
- Brown Stringy Discharge. Dark stringy discharge, dark brown mucus discharge or brown gooey discharge is cervical mucus tinged with old blood.
- Brown Discharge With Tissue Like Pieces. Brown discharge with tissue-like pieces is old blood that has taken a while to exit the vagina, along with clots. During pregnancy, it is considered abnormal to pass clots of tissue.
- Watery Brown Discharge. Watery brown discharge is considered abnormal- and may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are discussed in the sections below.
- Pinkish-Brown Discharge. Pinkish-brown discharge or pink discharge at 5 weeks pregnant is a mixture of old blood and a small amount of fresh blood that exits the vagina. Like brown discharge, pinkish-brown discharge can be caused by a variety of things, including ectopic pregnancy, hormonal changes, miscarriages and more.
- Dark Brown Discharge Like Coffee Grounds. Dark brown discharge like coffee grounds or bleeding at 5 weeks pregnant can be a sign of a miscarriage.
- Creamy Brown Discharge. Creamy brown discharge is leukorrhea (creamy, white or whitish-yellow discharge) tinged with old blood that has taken a while to exit the vaginal canal.
Why Do I Have Brown Discharge During Pregnancy? – Is Spotting Normal at 5/6 Weeks Pregnant?
If you are experiencing brown spotting at week 5 of pregnancy, you may be worried that something more sinister is happening.
Brown spotting can occur during early pregnancy for a number of reasons, but it is fairly common and usually nothing to worry about- and brown discharge can actually be a sign of pregnancy.
If you have any concerns, you should contact your doctor immediately as they may want to do blood tests and check your HCG levels.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the reasons for brown spotting at 5 and 6 weeks pregnant or in the early stages of pregnancy…
- Implantation bleeding (when the fertilised egg implants in the uterus)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Threatened Miscarriage
- Molar pregnancy
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Early Miscarriage
- Cervical polyps
- Cervical Irritation
- Sexual Intercourse
- Vaginal infection
- Due to increased blood flow
Of course, the early weeks of pregnancy is when most miscarriages occur and brown blood can be alarming for a pregnant woman to see but it is important to remember that brown discharge is old blood that is leaving the body, often discharge tinged with blood.
If you are experiencing 4 weeks pregnant brown discharge, you can read our article.
How to Stop Brown Discharge During Pregnancy
Brown spotting at 6 weeks pregnant can have a variety of causes, as discussed above.
The cause of brown discharge at 5 or 6 weeks pregnant can often go unknown, and most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy.
There are some steps that you can take to avoid the occurrence of brown discharge during pregnancy:
- Do not over-wash the genital area (no more than two times a day)
- Do not perform vaginal douching
- Avoid sexual intercourse
What are the Signs of Miscarriage?
When we have unusual discharge or vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy, the fear for most pregnant women is that it could be a miscarriage.
Of course, vaginal bleeding or red vaginal discharge is terrifying during the first trimester, since 1 in 4 women have been through a miscarriage, and pregnancy loss is most likely during the first trimester.
It is important to remember that every pregnancy is different and just because you read about one person experiencing heavy bleeding followed by baby loss, it does not mean that scenario has the same ending for everyone.
Many pregnant women experience blood loss during pregnancy and go on to have healthy babies.
This is called a threatened miscarriage.
However, if you are experiencing brown discharge and painful cramps, it may be a sign of a miscarriage.
- Cramping and pain in your lower tummy.
- Bright Red Blood
- A bright red discharge of fluid from your vagina.
- Dark brown discharge that looks like ground coffee
- Tissue loss from your vagina.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- No longer experiencing your usual pregnancy symptoms.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms Include:
- Light Spotting
- Tender breasts
- Frequent urination
- Missed Period
- Nasal Congestion
If you experience any of the above miscarriage symptoms, we recommend visiting your nearest A&E as soon as possible.
On rare occasions, a miscarriage can occur because the pregnancy develops outside of the womb (i.e. an ectopic pregnancy).
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, generally in the fallopian tube, and they are dangerous to mums, so if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms (cited from the NHS website), it is important to visit your nearest A&E:
- Persistent and severe tummy pain, usually on one side
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting, commonly after the pain has started
- Watery brown discharge
- Pain in your shoulder tip
- diarrhoea and vomiting
- feeling very faint and lightheaded, and possibly fainting
These symptoms usually occur between week 5 and week 14 of pregnancy
What Should I Do If I Think I’m Miscarrying?
If you think you are miscarrying, you should contact your GP, midwife or nearest Early Pregnancy Unit as soon as possible.
If your symptoms are severe, you should go to A&E, or, if you are unable to travel, call 999.
What Should I Do if I Have Brown Spotting?
Light bleeding or spotting is fairly common during pregnancy, and usually isn’t any cause for concern (particularly between 10-14 days after conception, which is when implantation usually occurs). Spotting can be red, pink or dark brown discharge.
If your spotting is accompanied by any other more severe symptoms, like dizziness or cramping, you should contact your doctor.
As a general rule, if you are experiencing bleeding and cramping at 5/6 weeks pregnant (or at any point of your pregnancy) you should contact your doctor.
Reassurance Pregnancy Scans
Your local early pregnancy unit may scan you if they are concerned but if not please do remember we have lots of early pregnancy scan clinics listed in our directory for you to contact, these are great for reassuring parents. You can book your 6 week ultrasound at a private ultrasound clinic.
FAQs – Brown Spotting at 5/6 Weeks Pregnant
Is it Normal to have Brown Discharge at 6 Weeks Pregnant?
Brown discharge at 6 weeks pregnancy can be considered normal- so long as it has no strong odour.
You may have thick brown discharge during pregnancy, brown discharge that is stringy during pregnancy, creamy brown discharge during pregnancy or a small brown smear when wiping.
This is usually no cause for concern- however if you are experiencing brown spotting at 5 or 6weeks pregnant, accompanied by pain or bright red bleeding, you should speak to your health care provider.
Is it Normal to Bleed at 6 Weeks Pregnant?
It is not uncommon to experience a small amount of bleeding at six weeks pregnant.
A very small amount of brown or red bleeding is usually no cause for concern, but you should consult your doctor if you are concerned.
How Much Spotting is Normal at 5 Weeks Pregnant?
A small amount of brown and red spotting is normal.
This light spotting should not fill a panty liner, and it should not be accompanied by painful cramping.
Painful cramping and brown spotting may be a sign of a miscarriage.
Can You Have Implantation Bleeding at 5 or 6 Weeks Pregnant?
It is possible to experience implantation bleeding at 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, if you have had late implantation.
Can Implantation Bleeding Be Stringy?
Implantation bleeding can be stringy. This is cervical mucus that is tinged with small amounts of implantation blood.
Can Implantation Bleeding Be Dark Brown?
Yes, it can!
Implantation bleeding can vary in colour; it can appear as pink, pinkish-brown, light brown, dark brown or even bright red discharge.
Why Am I Experiencing Cramping and Brown Discharge?
There are several potential causes of cramps and brown discharge when wiping- including vaginal infection, cervical irritation, digestive troubles and even more serious complications, such as a miscarriage.
If you are experiencing painful cramping and brown discharge during pregnancy, you should consult your health care provider to ensure there are no serious issues.
Success Stories After Having Brown Discharge Or Early Pregnancy Bleeding at 5 Weeks Pregnant
Here are some success stories from other mums who went on to have babies after brown spotting during early pregnancy;
“I started spotting at 5 weeks pregnant after multiple miscarriages I believed I was doomed, the light brownish discharge was happening during bowel movements and it began getting thicker and outs came, i managed to get an early scan at the early pregnancy unit and my little bean had a heartbeat. The brown discharge i had in early pregnancy eventually tailed off around week 9 and the pregnancy was smooth and here I am sat her with my little baby girl asleep in my arms”
” I had brown spotting from week 4, i thought it was brown implantation bleeding but it lasted daily until week 12 then slowly eased. I was terrified but every scan and blood test came back positive the doctor told me to only worry if I had pain and bright red bleeding. Everything was fine for us and i have a beautiful baby boy now”
“Yep I had brown spotting followed by a red gush of blood, i thought I was out but got my hcg checked and it was doubling so went for scan and sure enough my rainbow was there with a heartbeat”
“I had an ectopic pregnancy with my first pregnancy and it had a huge affect on my mental health. I did start experiencing a light brown discharge and extreme shoulder pain, i called my local early pregnancy unit and they confirmed it. My next pregnancy the first trimester was really challenging. I had sexual intercourse and had very dark spotting and dark discharge afterwards, I terrified that i would have a miscarriage and something would wrong. Vaginal spotting lasted until late pregnancy, it would disappear for a few days and then come back. At one point i did have abdominal pain and lost a lot of blood, i was sure that was it but here i am holding my healthy baby from the pregnancy as i type this.”
“I was 6 weeks pregnant with cramping and bleeding. It started as just dark brown spotting at 5 weeks pregnant but then a week later I was lightly bleeding. I contacted my early pregnancy unit and thankfully I hadn’t miscarried. i was told to look out for heavy bleeding at cramping. I now have a beautiful and healthy baby boy”
“I had spotting brown discharge at 6 weeks pregnant. I thought it might have just been implantation bleeding at 6 weeks pregnant but I realised it was probably a little late for that and I already knew I was pregnant. So the brown spotting was not implantation caused. I went to the Drs who said to keep an eye on it and I had a problem free pregnancy”
If you have finished this article, why not read our next article 5 weeks pregnant miscarriage.