What is Pregnancy Spotting and What To Do About it?

ByMica ValledorNovember 15, 2022
Worried pregnant woman
The entire process of pregnancy is filled with twists and turns. From the days leading to it up until the days that follow the delivery, there are a lot of things that you'll have to take into account. However, among the most challenging and confusing times that come with a pregnancy would be trying to figure out if you're pregnant in the first place.
Becoming a mother is a milestone, whether it's your first or fifth child. Knowing that you're carrying a little one to bring into the world is a source of joy for any mother. So, it only makes sense that you're sure that you're pregnant so that you're sure you can be happy and excited. But, just how can you do that? Of course, there are things like pregnancy tests. However, sometimes there are other signs that may point to a possible pregnancy. A perfect example of this would be when you're "spotting."
With that in mind, what exactly is spotting? Why does it happen, and what does it mean? These are fundamental questions, especially for first-time mothers. Considering how spotting may seem a little scary and confusing, it would make perfect sense to help explain this. So, we'll be doing just that in this article!
Spotting: What is It?
Before we go on to talk about spotting and how it relates to pregnancy, it's first essential to get an understanding of what spotting actually is. So, what exactly is spotting? Spotting, sometimes known as pregnancy spotting, is when you start bleeding lightly. Spotting such as that of pregnancy spotting looks like spots of blood, hence the name.
Spotting is a very common occurrence for many women, with it happening at least a few times in every woman's life. What's more, spotting can be due to many different things. However, many people aren't initially aware of this. If anything, those who aren't too familiar with the menstrual cycle and their bodies may even panic. Fortunately, this isn't necessarily a cause for panic. You just need to learn how to understand this better and also understand how this differs from a period.
Pregnancy Spotting vs Period
Any woman of reproductive age is well aware of the menstrual cycle and, more specifically, periods. But what, then is the difference between a woman’s period and pregnancy spotting? Let’s begin by discussing the key differences between pregnancy spotting vs period.
As many of you already know, a woman's menstrual cycle is a monthly occurrence where one’s body–and uterus–prepares for pregnancy. Part of that involves ensuring that your uterus is ideal for a fertilized egg to develop into a fetus. That entails things such as having a thick uterine wall for the egg to call home for the next nine months, among several other things.
So, where does the period fit into all of this? Well, if you don't have a fertilized egg, your body realizes that it doesn't need your uterine walls to be that thick since it won't be used. As such, this thick-walled layer over your uterus sheds it off. This is the process of menstruation, which almost always manifests as bleeding. This is more commonly known as the monthly period. Since it's shedding a lot of that unused uterine wall, you end up bleeding out a lot and this can last anywhere between two to seven days. At times, it even lasts up to ten days.
Spotting, on the other hand, is quite different. When pregnancy spotting occurs, the amount you bleed is vastly different compared to the amount that comes with a period. Of course, it's still blood, so your pregnancy spotting color is still the same as that of your period. However, the bleeding is much lighter. So, if anything, you can at least tell if you're pregnancy spotting vs if period bleeding due to the amount of blood your body is expelling.
When Pregnancy Spotting Occurs
In general, spotting can happen anytime and for various reasons, and not all the reasons are extremely negative. Spotting can occur due to minor things such as stress, a change in your birth control medication, or a hormone imbalance. It can also happen due to more significant causes, such as a polyp or other benign growth in your uterus. Even something like ovulation can cause some occurrences of spotting. So, there's no way to differentiate what pregnancy spotting looks like versus other reasons for spotting right then and there. The best way to determine this is by paying your doctor a visit.
Despite this, there's still a way to decipher whether or not you're spotting due to a possible pregnancy in the first place. You just have to look at the timing. You see, when you're fertile and try for a baby, it takes roughly a week for the fertilized egg to settle in your uterine wall. So, by the time the egg implants itself in the wall, you may start to spot.
With that in mind, if you start bleeding within a week after trying for a baby, knowing very well that you are fertile, there is a chance that you're spotting due to pregnancy. You may have to double-check with your OBGYN just to make sure that you’re healthy and there’s no cause for concern. After all, it’s better to have peace of mind and nip possible problems in the bud early on than assume that everything is alright.
So, What Now?
While spotting isn't the best indicator for pregnancy, knowing the timing of your spotting can help bring you closer to figuring out if you're pregnant. Since spotting isn't exclusively an indicator of pregnancy, you should take the next step to figure out if you are indeed pregnant. In this case, you could then opt to take a pregnancy test within the next few weeks.
That way, you can tell for sure if you are indeed pregnant. If the results turn out to be positive, you can finally say you're on your way to being a mom! This only means that things will get a little more challenging, but they'll still be worth it. However, it's still an excellent way to help solidify the fact that you're bringing a little one into the world.
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