Women deal with bleeding for most of their lives. From the time menarche begins, monitoring your bleeding and caring for your body as it loses blood is a monthly task. Some women may bleed during pregnancy, too. If you have bled during pregnancy before, have heavy periods, or are otherwise used to bleeding, determining what is and isn’t normal can be difficult. However, knowing what’s normal can help your doctor help you.
During a normal menstrual period, you will lose between 4 and 12 teaspoons of blood. Menstrual cycles generally last 28 days but can vary widely, especially if you’re a young adult (between 17-25). Many women have one thick, heavy day, and if your period is naturally heavy you may see more clots. If your blood is expelled too quickly, it may not clot well. If you have consistently heavy periods – if you’re filling a pad or tampon every hour – see a doctor right away.
If you are pregnant, you may bleed, especially during the first trimester. Do not panic. Blood is not always a sign of miscarriage. If the flow is slight or light brown in color, you might be spotting, which is quite common. Many women bleed about two weeks after conception due to implantation. Bleeding in the second or third trimester can be normal too, but your OB-GYN should examine you to be sure. If you begin bleeding near pregnancy’s end, it might be a signal your labor is starting, especially if there is mucous in the blood.
Bleeding that is painful, unusually heavy, or causes you to feel weak, dizzy, or ill is never normal and should be treated professionally.
If you have any concerns about bleeding, be sure to talk with your physician at your next appointment.