Spotting During Pregnancy: Now that you have entered into the 6th week of your pregnancy…many of you would have mentally got used to the idea of being pregnant. About 40% of women have their first scan on the 6th week of pregnancy and the results (along with the chances of detecting a heartbeat) are much more definitive than if the scan had been performed in the 5th week. 50% will also start experiencing the first stirrings of the famous “morning sickness”.
Some symptoms you would already be familiar with are exhaustion, lethargy, sore boobs, increased aversion to certain smells and wilder mood swings. Now, these are all relative signs and may not be experienced by each person…in fact some lucky women experience zero symptoms. You can also experience mild abdominal cramps…just a sign of your uterus stretching. If you have started feeling really uncomfortable and have loads of symptoms…know that these are the signs of a healthy lovely baby :)
Spotting...the nerve wrecker
One issue that can play Russian roulette with your emotions is spotting during pregnancy. Many women experience extensive spotting all throughout the initial weeks of their pregnancy and some do it through the entire first trimester. This is always a concerning event for the mother to be as she will assume that the pregnancy is terminating itself or a natural abortion/ miscarriage is happening. However, this is not true as 60% of women who experience spotting extensively go on to deliver perfectly healthy full term babies.
One way to be relatively sure is that spotting is not leading to a miscarriage is to have a pregnancy scan earlier. If you have seen your baby’s heartbeat in the first scan (6th week) then the chances of miscarriage reduce drastically. The logic is that a live embryo with a heartbeat has a very low chance of self-destruction….
However spotting is a red alert if the following situations happen
- The frequency/ volume of blood/ discharge increases to fill up a sanitary pad in a couple of hours
- Sharp contractions in uterus happen along with spotting
- The blood is bright red in color and is flows like it would in a normal period
- Lumps of tissue come out with the blood
- If you do see your spotting leading up to a miscarriage do not lose hope. You are not alone…1/3rd of women suffer a miscarriage in their first pregnancy. You know that you are fertile and will surely conceive again.
Spotting is not a concern under the following situations
Brown, black and light pink discharge happens in moderate quantities
A small amount of red bleeding after sex or a TVS scan (pregnancy makes the cervix super sensitive…any kind of insertion can make you bleed in the first trimester).
Bacterial infection (unfortunately you have to undergo a test to get a definitive answer)
What to Do
The 6th week gets you firmly rolling inside the most uncomfortable phase of your pregnancy…the first trimester. Your hormones…HCG and progesterone are peaking and cause inexplicable changes. Though it’s too early for morning sickness to hit…some of you will start feeling a bit queasy. If you are experiencing spotting or haven’t yet seen a heartbeat….you will probably be stressed about the outcome of the pregnancy.
Keep small pieces of ginger with salt and lemon inside a small box. If you are at work or outside when nausea hits you…chew on the pieces…ginger is a strong nausea beater.
Cold mildly sweet drinks like orange juice, apple juice, cold milk, yogurt smoothies are your best friends…they help settle your stomach
Try finding your personal nausea antidote…mine were lemon leaves and lemon flavored candy…they worked wonders.
If you have seen the heartbeat but are stressed because “you don’t feel pregnant” or “there are no symptoms” then relax!! There is plenty of time for pregnancy symptoms to hit you and you will soon begin feeling wholly and utterly pregnant.
You will find yourself unusually sensitive around this time while your mood fluctuates between “wildly elated” to “I am depressed” in minutes. Call up your besties, shop for new clothes, ask your man for a massage or visit the beauty parlour….stay happy any which ways!!
What Not to Do
As the 5th week, the 6th week is an uncertain one…concentrate on avoiding stress. Stress can trigger things that are not meant to happen in the first place. If you have a concern…call up your gynecologist and schedule your scan earlier. If the scan reports are okay there is nothing to worry about.
Try avoiding food that is too sweet, spicy and oily (these trigger nausea and aggravate the unpleasant digestive problems)
Avoid warm drinks especially tea and coffee. The good news is that even avid caffeine addicts develop an aversion to caffeinated drinks in their pregnancy…thanks to the survival instinct of the baby :)
Needless to say by this time you will start doing everything that’s normally expected of a mother to be. This means no alcohol, no cigarettes (best time to quit!!) and a definite step towards a healthier lifestyle. No random unsupervised medication, ointments and pills too.
Don’t lie down the whole day or be on bed rest unless expressly advised by your doctor. Bed rest has no effect on spotting and ceasing activity is harmful to both the mother and baby (regardless of whatever old wives’ tales you might have heard!!).
The Scan….what to expect
By week 6 your baby has grown to the size of a little pea. Your sweet pea will measure probably between 4mm to 6 mm (these are universal ranges) and you will probably be able to hear a heartbeat. At this stage, the heart has just formed and heartbeat rate will increase in the following weeks. All you will see is a large dot along with the yolk sac…if you look hard enough maybe you will see a curved line (the following weeks will give you a clearer picture).
Even if you don’t hear the heartbeat in the 6th week…your doctor will ask you to come back in the seventh week for a re-assessment. The 6th-week signals the beginning of exciting times…hold on you are all set up for the exhilarating, nerve-wracking and rewarding BOB ride J