Decidual Bleeding

Problems during pregnancy are many and one of the most common among them is bleeding during the initial months. This affects many of the pregnant women and is commonly termed as first trimester bleeding. Medically it is known as decidual bleeding.

Decidual bleeding, if that is the case, is not a cause to be gravely worried and women who have had decidual bleeding will have no complications during the later pregnancy stages or during child birth.

What is decidual bleeding?

During pregnancy, the hormone levels in a woman’s body sometimes go out of control and this result in shedding of a few parts of the uterus lining before the placenta is has fully established itself into the uterus lining. This is decidual bleeding and resembles the normal menstruation bleeding though not that heavy. That is why most of the women believe that they are not pregnant.

What causes decidual bleeding in pregnant women?

Decidual shedding: Decidua is the epithelial tissue of the innermost lining or the endometrium of the uterus. During the course of a normal menstruation cycle, the decidua is usually lost. But when a fertilized egg starts implanting itself in the uterine wall sometimes some part of decidua remains uncovered by the developing placenta and embryo. This partial shedding of the decidua before the placenta has been fully established causes decidual bleeding.

Hormonal level imbalance: When an egg gets fertilized and it starts attaching itself to the uterine lining, both the egg and developing placenta starts releasing hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). The presence of hCG helps in continued production of progesterone which helps in providing a healthy environment to the implanted egg or the growing embryo. Now sometimes there is hormonal imbalance in the woman’s body which in turn causes partial shedding of the decidua and this result in decidual bleeding.

What are the symptoms of decidual bleeding?

  1. Signs of regular periods: Decidual bleeding is similar to the usual menstrual bleeding and occurs in pregnant woman during the same time when she was going to have her periods. That is if a pregnant woman was going to have her periods during the first week of a particular month, then decidual bleeding occurs during the same time.
  2. Separate blood clots: The discharge is in the form of separate blood clots. The clots may be pink, red or brownish in color. It is pink when it gets mixed with other fluids. It appears red when it is new and brown when the blood clot is old.
  3. Pain and discomfort: This decidual bleeding lasts for only a day and it is far less than the regular menstruation cycle bleeding. The pregnant women may feel a sense of discomfort like a heavy sensation of bleeding or pain in some cases.

How is decidual bleeding diagnosed?

Whenever a pregnant woman encounters such bleeding it is always advisable to visit her gynecologist. The gynecologist will study and understand the symptoms and do a thorough physical examination.

What is the line of treatment for decidual bleeding?

Decidual bleeding as no specific treatment as such because once the uncovered part of decidua is shed, then the normal growth of embryo takes place by establishing itself in the uterus lining.

  • Since the bleeding is very mild, that can be taken care of by placing a sanitary napkin underneath.
  • Also if there is pain and discomfort, then rest is advised.
  • There may be other mode of treatments like medications to regulate the hormonal imbalance.
  • Sometimes dietary changes could be advised.

Decidual bleeding stops after a day and is not a case for concern even during the later stages of pregnancy and during child birth. It doesn’t affect the growing fetus also. But always consult the doctor to avoid any further complications.

Some common questions relating to decidual bleeding:

Q1. Why is decidual bleeding commonly mistaken as menses and how do you decide about pregnancy?

Decidual bleeding is similar to menses in terms of the bleeding and it occurs in a pregnant woman during the same time of an actual menstrual cycle had she not conceived. So a pregnant woman thinks that she is having her normal periods.

Remember that missing of periods is not the only sign of being pregnant. There are other factors like nausea, tender and enhanced breasts, feeling of tiredness and frequent urination which helps a woman in knowing if she is pregnant. And when you have such symptoms consult your doctor and have a pregnancy test done.

Q2. Is decidual bleeding harmful for the woman and her fetus?

No, decidual bleeding is not harmful either to the pregnant woman or her fetus. But it is always advisable to consult your gynecologist so that other complications are ruled out.

Q3. What is implantation bleeding and why is it confused with decidual bleeding?

Implantation bleeding happens when the egg starts attaching itself to the uterine wall. This process of attachment causes slight bleeding and so it is confused with decidual bleeding. But the bleeding is in small quantity, usually in the form of spotting and implementation bleeding is very rare. Also it happens much before the decidual bleeding.

Q4. Isn’t decidual bleeding dangerous since there is shedding of uterine lining?

The shedding of uterine lining is a cause of concern when it is beyond limits or when it happens after the egg has established itself in the lining. But shedding of parts of endometrial tissue which hasn’t fully attached to the placenta is not normally a cause for concern.

Q5. How long does the decidual bleeding last?

It does not normally last more than a day.

Q6. How does decidual bleeding look like?

It is generally brown or pink in color and looks like fibrous blood clots.

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