Bleeding in early pregnancy can be very distressing but it does not always mean that you are having a miscarriage. It affects one in four pregnant people but many will go on to have a healthy baby. If the bleeding is caused by a miscarriage, there is no treatment or therapy that can stop the miscarriage from happening.
If you have bleeding in early pregnancy (the first 12 weeks), talk to your midwife or GP.
If you are having severe pain or your bleeding is very heavy, you need to go to your nearest emergency department.
Early Pregnancy Treatment Clinic (EPTC)
Your midwife of GP may talk to you about the EPTC at Waikato Hospital. It is a specialist service providing medical and surgical treatment to people who have a confirmed miscarriage on ultrasound, or an ultrasound that reports a pregnancy of unknown location, or an ultrasound that advises the pregnancy is suspicious of a molar pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy.
EPTC is an outpatient clinic and is open Monday to Friday. You will be called by telephone within 5-7 days of your midwife or GP sending the referral.
If you have any of the following then you need to go to the closet emergency department
- heavy bleeding – changing 4 sanitary pads in 2 hours ,
- feeling dizzy
- experiencing abdominal pain that is not controlled with paracetamol and heat packs
Ectopic pregnancies happen in 1-2% of all pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the pregnancy is growing outside the uterus (e.g. in the fallopian tube) or in a previous caesarean scar. Without treatment this can impact your health and fertility. An ectopic pregnancy can be seen on an ultrasound scan, but will also cause bleeding and pain.
Molar pregnancy happens when a fertilised egg has either too many or not enough genes – it always ends in a miscarriage. This kind of pregnancy tissue can grow and move to other parts of your body causing Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia (GTN), a type of cancer that can be successfully treated with chemotherapy. A small operation called Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception (ERPOC), also known as a D&C is recommended to remove the molar pregnancy tissue.
Pregnancy of Unknown Location (PUL)
Pregnancy of unknown location occurs when you have a positive pregnancy test but an ultrasound, usually done with a probe inserted into your vagina instead of on your tummy, does not show any pregnancy either in your uterus or outside your uterus (ectopic pregnancy). The big concern is that this pregnancy of unknown location may develop into an ectopic pregnancy. It is recommended to have additional blood tests and ultrasounds to assist with an ongoing plan arranged by the Early Pregnancy Treatment Clinic (EPTC).