One of The most common causes of bleeding in early pregnancy

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Often times we associate heavy bleeding in early pregnancy with miscarriage. However, sometimes bleeding during early pregnancy happens as a result of a subchorionic hematoma (SCH). 

SCH is one of the most common causes of heavy bleeding in early pregnancy. According to the ACOG, bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy occurs in about 15-25% of pregnant women. SCH occurs in around 3.1% of all pregnancies (source).

One of the most common causes of heavy bleeding in early pregnancy

What is a subchorionic hematoma?

Subchorionic hematoma (or hemorrhage) is the pooling of blood that occurs between the placenta and the uterus, or between the chorion and the uterine wall. (source) This happens as a result of the placenta detaching from the original site of implantation.

How do I know if I have a subchorionic hematoma?

SCH is diagnosed via ultrasound. Although the most common sign of a SCH is vaginal bleeding, you may or may not experience any bleeding bleed at all. If you experience bleeding at any stage during pregnancy, please let your healthcare provider know as soon as you can.

How will it affect my pregnancy?

Heavy bleeding in early pregnancy will result in frequent monitoring, to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing normally, and to check on the size and location of the SCH. You may also be told to practice pelvic rest (no sex, no heavy lifting, bed rest), until the issue is resolved.

Should I worry?

As a mom who has experienced heavy bleeding in early pregnancy as a result of SCH, it would be unfair for me to say “don’t worry”. That’s so much easier said than done because bleeding, especially during early pregnancy, can be very scary!

But it’s important to note that SCHs are not harmful especially when the viability of pregnancy has been established (source). Most pregnant women who develop SCH in early pregnancy (with no other significant other symptoms such as cramping), go on to have healthy pregnancies. 

Although SCH often resolves on its own, there are certain risks associates with it. In this study, it was found that the risk of miscarriage rises in pregnant women with threatened abortion. Another study found that a SCH puts women at an increased risk of preterm rupture of membranes, placental abruption, and pregnancy loss.

Is there treatment available for this?

No, there isn’t treatment available for this. However most SCHs resolve themselves. In very rare instances, some healthcare providers may prescribe blood thinners to help the clot bleed out, if it gets large enough to pose risk to the pregnancy.

My personal experience with subchorionic hematoma

I had a SCH during my 4th pregnancy. Out of nowhere I started experiencing heavy bleeding in early pregnancy (at around 6 weeks), and I thought I was miscarrying. With a broken heart I made my way to the ER and they informed me that my baby was fine, but a SCH was the cause of all the bleeding. By God’s grace I didn’t bleed after that day, but I did have to be monitored weekly until I got to 12 weeks and the pregnancy was progressing normally. That was very scary and stressful but thank God I ended up having a wonderful unmedicated hospital birth.

I hope that this post helped shed some light on one of the most common causes of bleeding in early pregnancy.

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Comments

  1. Hello! I just had an episode of bleeding this morning and I am 6 weeks. The ultrasound confirmed a SCH. I’ve never heard of this and was terrified at the words. But baby is doing fine and we are praying to God to keep it that way. Thank you for writing this and sending some comfort our way.

  2. Thank you for writing this! I think there are so many things that have to do with pregnancy that aren’t talking about . This can be such a scary experience and it can be a comfort to hear a story like yours!

  3. Never heard of SCH before. I am an admin to a moms group on FB, and now if that question comes about I can share some insight about this. Thank you for the information.

  4. I wasn’t familiar with this, but I did know that bleeding is somewhat common. It’s good to have information and be aware of these things. Not to be alarmist during pregnancy, but so that you can act accordingly.

  5. This is great information and very interesting. I have never heard of this condition until now. I’m so glad you didn’t lose your baby.

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