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Bleeding in the third trimester, a possible complication

Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.


Q I am pregnant and at about 32 weeks I had some spotting. Do you have some ideas of what could have caused this? I didn't have any cramping or pain.

A I feel should be discussed with your physician as soon as possible. There are several possible explanations for spotting or bleeding in the third trimester, some of which could be serious.

During pregnancy there is an increase in your blood volume and in your blood flow. Blood flow is especially increased to your uterus, but also to your skin and mucous membranes. Mucous membranes refers to the type of skin that lines the inside of your mouth, nose, cervix, and vagina.

Due to the increase in blood flow, and the growth of the blood vessels themselves, small spontaneous blood vessel ruptures are common. This is why many women will develop nose bleeds occasionally during their pregnancy. Your cervix is also more "sensitive" and may bleed easier during this time in your pregnancy, especially after intercourse.

However if your bleeding is heavy or if it is associated with pain or cramping, it could be related to more serious conditions such as premature labor, infection, or even problems with your placenta (the "after-birth"). The only way to differentiate among these potential causes is for you to be examined.

In summary there are many potential causes for bleeding in the last part of pregnancy. Some causes may be serious, and others not so serious. The only way to know for sure is for you to see your physician.

Bradley G. Goldberg, M.D.
Coffee Women's Center, P.C.

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Click here to Ask Dr. Goldberg your pregnancy questions.

Dr. Bradley G Goldberg is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Goldberg is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Goldberg is Chief of Staff of Coffee Regional Medical Center. Currently, he is serving as Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and he is the Chairman of the Perinatal Committee. Dr. Goldberg graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 as a member of The Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He received his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta.

Dr. Goldberg is a contributing author to, the largest women's health site on the Internet. In addition, Dr. Goldberg is the author of an article on "Urethral Carcinoma," which is in press with the Journal of Urology, and he co-produced an instructional video on Norplant removal that he presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Goldberg is a member of the American Medical Association, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Medical Association of Georgia, and The Atlanta Medical Association. Dr. Goldberg's wife Kimberly is a pediatric nurse. Together, they enjoy traveling and spending time with their family.

Related Articles

Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy

Placenta Previa

Pregnant But Having a Period: Is It Possible?

Placenta Complications in Pregnancy and Birth


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