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Bleeding From Your Vagina

This is not to be confused with your ‘show’ which is the mucus plug of your cervix. When your ‘show’ comes away it is usually a dark red or brown and mixed with mucous. When you bleed from your vagina it is fresh, red blood which varies in the amount. It is a warning sign and you should inform your labour ward or midwife straight away. Again there are many reasons why this would occur and it may happen with or without pain. The most common reason for bleeding is that there is an area of raw skin on your cervix which bleeds easily, especially after intercourse although not always. Another reason may be that your placenta is low lying and very close to or covering your cervix and may cause heavier blood loss. If this has been identified earlier in pregnancy you will have been made aware of this eventuality and what to do.

A much rarer reason for bleeding is where the placenta has begun to come away from the wall of the uterus. It happens in one half to two percent of pregnancies. It is usually accompanied by constant abdominal pain and then tightening of your uterus or contractions. You may also feel that your uterus is tense most of the time. The amount of blood loss can vary and in some instances there is none, which is known as concealed. If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact your labour ward straight away. If the bleeding is running down your legs then you need to phone an ambulance immediately.

Many people think that a baby’s and mother’s blood circulate together and that they are mixed. They are actually two separate circulations and the exchange of oxygen, waste and nutrients takes place at the placenta. Essentially the mother takes in oxygen and energy for her baby and removes all of her baby’s waste products with her own; the one exception is if there has been some sort of trauma or bleed.

Rhesus negative mothers

If you are a rhesus negative blood group any bleeding in pregnancy and labour could potentially cause your baby’s blood to mix with yours. If you are rhesus negative then molecules in your blood do not have a protein coat like those of people having a rhesus positive blood group.

If your baby is rhesus positive then their molecules would have a protein coat. Problems occur when the mother’s immune system identifies one of the baby’s blood molecules as a foreign body. Her body will then produce antibodies and these antibodies may attack a potentially healthy baby in a future pregnancy.  Having an anti D immunoglobulin, or Anti D injection shortly after any bleeding protects against this. It is important to remind your midwife or obstetrician after any episode of bleeding or after giving birth that you are rhesus negative. It is always important to know your blood group.