Is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy?
Most women discover that they are pregnant after they’ve missed their period. After getting this universal tell-tale sign of pregnancy, the next step is usually a more concrete pregnancy test. For those who want to know if is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy, Ideally, a pregnant woman is not supposed to menstruate throughout the 9 months of gestation. However, bleeding can still occur.
What is menstruation?
Menstruation, also known as a period, menses, etc., is the monthly discharge of blood from the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Menstrual blood passes through the vagina, and it usually contains mucus and cells from the endometrium.
This hormonal process happens in the female reproductive system to make it possible for the woman to get pregnant.
The menstrual cycle starts on the first day of menstruation, and to know if is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy, you have to understand the phases of the menstrual cycle.
What are the phases of the menstrual cycle?
The four phases of the menstrual cycle are:
• The menstruation phase
• The follicular phase
• The ovulation phase
• And the luteal phase
• Follicular phase
The follicular phase begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts anywhere from 11 to 21 days. The follicular phase is when the pituitary gland produces FSH—follicle stimulating hormone. This hormone causes the ovary to make follicles, up to around 20 follicles in total, and each follicle stores an egg.
Eventually, all the follicles will die off except for the one that will mature into a ripe egg.
At this stage, the lining of the uterus or endometrium will thicken to get ready for fertilization and pregnancy.
Ovulation occurs when the egg is released from the ovaries. Usually, ovulation happens about two weeks (14 days) before the next period—that is if the periods are regular. During the ovulation phase, the pituitary gland produces high levels of the luteinizing hormone LH.
The ripe egg is released into the fallopian tube, and the egg goes on to live for around 24 hours. The egg dies if there is no sperm to fertilize it.
• Luteal phase
The luteal phase begins at the end of ovulation and terminates at the beginning of your next cycle. After ovulation has taken place, the corpus luteum, which holds the ripe eggs, disintegrates and produces the hormone progesterone.
Progesterone helps to thicken the lining of the uterus in readiness for the sperm to fertilise the egg and implant on a comfy uterine lining.
If fertilization occurs and the egg successfully gets implanted, the body then produces human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). hCG is the hormone you test for when carrying out a pregnancy test.
In the case where there is no fertilization and pregnancy, the corpus luteum will die, causing the progesterone production to decrease. This will also cause the uterine lining to shed and flow out as menstruation all over again.
What happens to menstruation after a woman conceives?
Conception occurs when the woman’s egg is fertilised by a viable sperm. After fertilisation, the egg begins its journey towards the uterus, where it implants and attaches to the womb and remains for the next 9 months.
Once conception has taken place, your menstrual cycle goes on a break. Ovulation no longer happens, and so, there’ll be no menstruation. If you’re wondering if is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy, you should know that most women experience vaginal bleeding which can be mistaken for menstruation.
Things that make it look like is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy
Several things could cause a woman to think she is menstruating during her pregnancy. Here are some of the reasons vaginal bleeding occurs during pregnancy:
- Implantation bleeding
After the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterus, the process may result in minimal bleeding or spotting.
Implantation bleeding occurs 6-12 days after conception and usually occurs within the same time you’re expecting your period, which could make some women believe that they are menstruating .
The bleeding is usually light and spotty. It usually doesn’t last long. Any bleeding that is thicker than menstrual blood and lasts too long is not implantation bleeding and you may need to see a doctor
2. Ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, most likely in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies don’t produce babies. This serious condition can cause death if the fallopian tube ruptures. It is a medical emergency.
This is when an embryo or fetus dies before the twentieth week of gestation. Symptoms of miscarriage often include serious bleeding accompanied by abdominal and back pain. This process is irreversible once it starts. Women bleeding during pregnancy should report to a health facility immediately.
Infections like urinary tract infection may cause bleeding during pregnancy. UTI can cause a bloody discharge from the vagina, which can make pregnant women wonder if is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy.
What to do if you bleed during pregnancy
Since this article has debunked the belief that is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy, every woman should be cautious about bleeding of any kind. Bleeding can be a symptom of life-threatening conditions, so report to your doctor immediately!
Also Read: How to stop period pain immediately