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Bleeding in pregnancy

Bleeding in pregnancy

Bleeding in pregnancy can be scary, but it doesn't always mean the worst - We explain some of the causes and tell you what to do if it happens to you.

Spot the symptoms

Bleeding in pregnancy can vary and includes:

  • Light brownish colour spotting
  • Darker brown discharge
  • Bright red blood with clots

How common is bleeding in pregnancy?

Experts estimate at least 10 per cent of women experience bleeding in early pregnancy and the figure is around 30 per cent in first pregnancies.

What are the causes of bleeding in pregnancy?

These include:

Breakthrough bleeding

This is slight spotting in early pregnancy and usually happens around the time your period would have been due – its dues to hormonal upheaval and usually settles down. This sometimes happens once or twice in the early months of pregnancy.

Implantation bleeding

Some women experience bleeding when the egg attaches itself or implants into the side of the womb. – it usually amounts to no more than spotting for a day or two.

Ectopic pregnancy

Around one in 100 pregnancies are ectopic, the medical name for the pregnancy developing outside the womb (usually in the fallopian tubes). Bleeding is usually accompanied by one-sided pain in your tummy, which is persistent and severe. Later you may also experience pain in your shoulder tip – and this can be a sign of internal bleeding irritating your diaphragm, and needs emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy, and prevent rupture of the fallopian tube, so call the hospital if you suspect an Ectopic pregnancy.

Cervical changes

Bleeding later in pregnancy can be caused by cervical erosion (cervical ectropion) – changes in the cervix which make it prone to bleeding.

Bleeding from the placenta

This is common in early pregnancy – too much placenta tissue is and tiny pieces sometimes break away, dies and are shed from the vagina.

Molar pregnancy

Molar pregnancy is an extremely rare complication where the placenta is abnormal and ends in bleeding and a miscarriage.

Miscarriage

Sadly, bleeding is sometimes a sign of an imminent miscarriage but this is very unusual after 12 weeks. If you are starting to miscarry there is little that can be done to prevent it happening. Although some women are advised to stay at home and rest in bed there is no evidence that this makes any difference to the outcome.

Fibroids

These are benign growths which grow in the muscular lining of the uterus – certain types can change the shape of the uterus and act like and IUD coil causing miscarriage to occur.

Placental abruption

This is where the placenta suddenly breaks away from the lining of the womb causing heavy blood loss; it can be life threatening unless treated quickly. It is usually accompanied by pain in your abdomen and affects about one in 200 pregnancies, mainly in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Placenta praevia

Also known as a low-lying placenta, this condition can obstruct the baby’s access to the cervix and birth canal and sometimes causes blood loss and is one of the most common causes of bleeding past 20 weeks.

A Show

This is the name for a jelly-like substance that plugs the cervix protecting your baby against infection during pregnancy. It comes away when labour is imminent and is sometimes streaked with brownish/ pinkish blood. This is normal and doesn’t need medical treatment – however if it is bright red you should contact your midwife or GP immediately.

Does bleeding in pregnancy always mean a miscarriage?

No - research has shown that around 50 per cent of women who attend Early Pregnancy Units with bleeding go onto have successful full-term pregnancies.
Although it’s possible that your pregnancy could be under threat – around one in five pregnancies do end in miscarriage - remember that it’s not inevitable that you will lose your baby.

Are there any other signs that a miscarriage may be imminent?

  1. If your bleeding gets heavier, contains clots and is accompanied by cramping you should seek urgent medical attention.
  2. Sometimes women also talk about no longer feeling pregnant – they lose the metallic taste they get in their mouths for instance or no longer feel nauseous.

What should I do if I start to bleed?

All types of bleeding in pregnancy should be reported to your GP or midwife to be checked out.

Although some causes of bleeding are nothing to worry about – others such as ectopic pregnancies – need urgent medical treatment so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

If your bleeding is accompanied by pain and cramping seek emergency medical help.

Don’t use tampons for the blood loss, stick to sanitary towels.

What tests might I be offered?

  1. Your GP or midwife may want to check the last date of pregnancy and possibly do some blood tests to check hormone levels and urine tests to rule out any infection.
  2. Most will refer you to an Early Pregnancy Unit where you will be offered an internal or external scan to check on how your baby is doing. From around 7 weeks   the scanning equipment is able to detect your baby’s heartbeat and the scan gives you a snapshot of how your baby is doing.  If the bleeding happens early on and continues you may have to go back in a few weeks to check the baby is developing normally.

 

Comments

Hi all, I'm 15+2 following IVF. All has been well so far, nausea but no sickness, weight gain and showing almost straight away ,tiredness, sore boobs, frequent urination, the 'usual' symptoms.... I've had 4 scans (1 private) and all have been good showing baby growing well and moving about a lot at the 13 week scan. All blood tests have also returned with no concerns. But yesterday I wiped and had bright red blood accompanied by period type cramping and slight pain in my right ovary. I called my midwife and was told to go to A&E where they checked my blood pressure, temperature and urine sample. Blood in the urine but all else okay. I was sent home to rest and they have managed to get me an appointment at the EPAC for tomorrow afternoon. I'm so scared and cannot rest knowing that I may be losing my baby... This is my third pregnancy. 1st I sailed through, 2nd ended in miscarriage at 10wks. I guess I'm just looking for other stories to give me hope....
I was taken into hospital last Wednesday as I woke up at 5am soaked in bright red blood, I stood up and it went everywhere, this was followed by some good sized clots and sharp pains. I was 13 weeks and 5 days. Everyone from the paramedics to the doctors prepared me for the worst, I was so sure I had miscarried then down at the Early pregnancy unit where I had a scan, my little baby was wriggling around. Apparently part of my wall surrounding the sack had come away. I'm still not 100% sure what happened or what to expect now, what I was told didn't sink in as I was in shock. It's a week on, my bleeding isn't as heavy and its more a red/brown, my stomach is sore and I still get pains but apparently there's nothing that can be done as I had a scan a week ago.
I am 12 weeks pregnant with my 5th. Sadly I had a still birth at 24+2. I have 3 beautiful girls which apart from 1 being breech, had fab pregnancies! I have started lightly bleeding with this pregnancy with no cramps or pain 2 days ago. I am worried why this is happening, but haven't had any clots, so am trying to stay positive. I am going to ring my midwife Monday morning and see if they will send me for a scan so I will know. Good luck to all.
hi everyone i had alot of episodes of bleeding from 28wks pregnant and i was at the hospital on a every other day basis sort of thing. luckily i kept going as on the 12th april i had a blood loss of 400 mls and my baby daughter was born by emergency c section!... which was so scary but im plzd to say shes doin really well in scbu. i just want to tell you no matter how little the blood loss is get it checked i was lucky i was in hospital and they got her out in timexxx
Hi everyone, so worrying when you really want to be pregnant, it happens, you start to let it sink in and get excited, then you get the dreaded bleed. I'm 37, was really lucky and got caught quite quick. Only got married last Sept and know my monthly timings. I am 6 weeks 5 days and unfortunately started to bleed yesterday morning. Pinky at first, but later tiny blood clots and red...sorry a bit graphic. Went bed early last night, slept on this morning and felt better for it. As day has gone on, bleeding more. I'm not in a lot of pain, just really achy as i would with a period.I have just seen a Dr and been told that does not look good, an impending miscarriage. I have a scan booked for the 14th and am off work until the scan, all I can do is hope the bleeding subsides and baby fine. Not looking forward to telling Hubby tonight when he comes home from work. Good luck to everyone, my heart goes out to all who are worried x
hi im 7 weeks pregnant,on sunday morning around 5am woke up thinking i had wet myself,went to tiolet to find alot of blood in pjs and in tiolet,it was bright red,its now monday and been to drs he done blood test to check hormone levels and got an apointment tomorrow at the early pregnancy clinic,the bleeding has slowed down now,i have had no cramps or clots.this is my 3rd pregnancy,i did bleed at this stage with my last 2 but not as bad as this,fingers crossed for tomorrow.
I'm 13 wks and 5 days I woke up early hours Sunday morning to find my underwear wet went to the bathroom to check it was bright red but no clots went straight to A and E was seen by the gynaecology department who did a scan in the mobile scanner the was alive and well but as the scanner in A and E isn't that clear I have to go to early pregnancy unit on Thursday for a further scan since then I've not noticed and bright red blood but had lots of red to brown blood with strings and mild back ache has anyone else had this I'm a bag of nerves waiting for Thursday I have two previous pregnancy and they were fine but I also had an ectopic as my last pregnancy
I'm 13 wks and 5 days I woke up early hours Sunday morning to find my underwear wet went to the bathroom to check it was bright red but no clots went straight to A and E was seen by the gynaecology department who did a scan in the mobile scanner the was alive and well but as the scanner in A and E isn't that clear I have to go to early pregnancy unit on Thursday for a further scan since then I've not noticed and bright red blood but had lots of red to brown blood with strings and mild back ache has anyone else had this I'm a bag of nerves waiting for Thursday I have two previous pregnancy and they were fine but I also had an ectopic as my last pregnancy
Hellol am 35 week pregnant,l had light pink colour discharge ,l went to hospital,midwife checked me,there was no problems with pregnancy,baby fine.And then l was 10 week pregnant l had the same broblem.But if anyone spoted any changes,the best thing is to go to hospital .
I've had a internal scan today wich shows I'm 5wk pregnant only had it because I had a little blood fo 2 days but baby is fine with a heartbeat the bleed was down to a bleed I have next to my babys sac I've never heard anything like this was wondering if any1 else had as I'm abit scared :( x
Hi I have just been told i$ having a miscarriage at 10 weeks 4days when I went to a&e cos was bleeding red blood and getting pains in my back and pelvis,but since the bleeding has stopped and got no pain,I no I'm just clinging onto hope but I have a scan tomoz and so hoping they tell me everything is fine,I haven't passed no clots. Has any1 had similer symptoms and been ok???
I am 33 years old, I have had one miscarriage 6 months back , I had operation and they took myoma which was in cavity of uterus , now I am again 5 weeks pregnant , but start spotting from 4 weeks +2 , it is watery and brownish it goes away when I lie on bed ! I am so scared ! it can be mischarge again? Cyclogest can help me ? what is your suggestion ? please help me my heart is going to explore from sadness .
I am 33 years old, I have had one miscarriage 6 months back , I had operation and they took myoma which was in cavity of uterus , now I am again 5 weeks pregnant , but start spotting from 4 weeks +2 , it is watery and brownish it goes away when I lie on bed ! I am so scared ! it can be mischarge again? Cyclogest can help me ? what is your suggestion ? please help me my heart is going to explore from sadness .
Hi all. I'm new to this site & thought I would join to share my experience. I found out I was pregnant almost straight away due to my periods being so on time & of coursed I missed one. In fact, I had a feeling I was even before missed period, can't explain how, I just had a feeling? Did early detection test a wk b4 I was due and was negative, so I figured I must have just been kidding myself. However when I finally did the tests, after 3 positive & 1 digital all confirming I was, I was ecstatic. Started taking folic acid about 2 days after finding out, was driving bf mad searching for prams on internet already but this is what I'd wanted since we had moved in together. Started getting all the preg symptoms, v sore boobs, nausea which quickly turned into evening, then all day sickness. Sickness was so bad I started 2 lose weight but my mum tld me she was the same with my older brother so I decided not 2 worry 2 much. Then when I was around 8 wks I started getin rly bad crampy pains almost like a period, in my back & lower tummy. I panickd straight away bt my bf & cousin (who has a 2 year old) said I'd be fine & tht cramps were v normal in early pregnancy. So left it around a wk, wk & a half then started getin V light (almost nothing at all, bt could see in my knickers) brown spotting. Went to see my gp who felt my belly, tld me not to worry & gave me a prescription for more folic acid & vit D. However that night the spotting got a little worse & the cramps wre unbareable. I began sobbing as I knew then something wasn't right. Next day bf took me to A&E after work, but with it being a saturday the most they could offer was a urine sample 2 make sure I had no infection (which came out fine). By this time I figured I was around 9 & a hlf/10 wks. Doc reffered me 2 an EPU the following tuesday & the nurse took me 2 get a scan. Then had to have an internal so I began to lose hope even more. When the nurse doing the scan confimed the bad news, I already knew however I was still shocked as I still had that tiny bit of hope everything would be ok. She tld me there was a pregnancy sac but no fetal pole, nothing inside :( . The other nurse then took me off into a room 2 discuss options. She called my mother in & explained everything to her. She seemed realy upset 2. Was given info 2 take home on what 2 do next & told to give her a call when I had decided. In the end I opted for surgical method as we all agreed it would be less traumatic & would bring closure quicker. I was booked in for the following monday (yesterday). I went in hosp yday at 8am and the nurse who had seen me at EPU came to give me some tablets in my vagina. Was uncomfortable & embarrassing but not painful. Not long after I was taken 2 theatre & put to sleep. Woke up feeling groggy, but no pain or bleeding. Was discharged an hour & a half later & when got out of the car the bleeding started. Pain got worse throughout the day but had been given coedine & paracetamol 2 cope. 2day tho there is only very slght bleeding & no pain which is good but I suppose it may change. Sorry if I seem long winded, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that as soon as you think something is not right, go & get it checked out. Even get a second, third opinion if you still aren't convinced by what gps tell you. After all, it is your body & you would know better than anybody. My cramps started at 8 weeks & that is when I sadly lost my baby. But don't make the mistake I did at first by listening to family & friends. Sometimes they don't always know best. Call it mothers intuition.
Hi. I'm just over 5 weeks and when I went to the toilet this afternoon had some pinkish blood when I wiped. No pain besides the niggles I've had since period was due. Rang doctor all he said was to test again in a week! Helpful and reassuring! I'm trying not to stress but am so scared. Hopefully it will have stopped my morning. Pray for me x
HI im 17 weeks +2, have been bleeding for just over 3 weeks now. Have had examination, cervix was closed, heartbeat strong. went back to hosp, heartbeat still strong, been on holiday to turkey for 2 weeks, heavier bleeding whilst there and more cramps, to the point i thought i had miscarried. went to hosp when i got back home, had a scan, and couldnt believe there was my baby waving away :o) was told i have a bad urine unfection, nearly finished anti biotics, but still bleeding, am signed off work and told to rest. you can imagine going from being very active to nothing going slowly out of my mind. this is my 3rd baby, first 2 were a breeze, this wee one definitley giving me a run for my money
I am 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my third child, I woke up yesterday morning went to the toilet and discovered I was bleeding, I called my GP and he said I should go to the hospital as I may be miscarrying. For some reason I knew I was not losing my babies (I have a feeling I could be carrying twins) I went to the hospital and they took a urine sample and told me I was still pregnant, they took blood and attempted to give me an internal exam which I had to stop as I felt it was intrusive and two uncomfortable, I was then told that the bleeding was not excessive and that my blood test had come back fine. I was then told that if I experienced any pain I should come back to the hospital.
Hi going out of my head with worry, only found out on saturday that I was pregnant after doing 3 tests!!!! well yesterday started spotting very light pink/brown but only when going to the toilet and wiping myself nothing is on a pad. Then this morning I have done another tests with my docotr and the line was really faint on the test alot fainter than the ones from saturday. The doctor has taken bloods and hopefully they will be back either later on today or tomorrow......... I am so so so hoping that everything is going to be ok. Has this happened to anybody else and still went on to have a normal pregnancy. I did bleed with my first at about the same time I just thought it was my period and then only realised 3 weeks later I was 8 weeks pregnant!!!!!!! HELP PLEASE BEFORE I GO MAD X
I'm 6 weeks pregnant. Had sex last nite and woke up this morning with a slight show, the bleeding has got worse but I have no pain. Just been to docs and they can't fit me in for an early scan until tues( 4 days away!) I'm in a mess.
I'm 15 weeks pregnant and have been bleeding on and off for the last 3 weeks, sometimes heavier than others and sometimes more painful than others. 12 week scan was fine and had 2 emergancy scans at EPU both were fine. However this morning I was losing clots and the bleeding was so heavy it was just coming out of me I was changing my pad every 15 mins. EPU sent me to urgent admissions where I saw a doctor who told us to prepare ourselves for the worst as he thought I'd miscarried, was then referred back to EPU, where I was scanned and to the surprise of the sonographer and the nurse the baby is fine, even when they examined me they said my cervix was closed. Everyone was so shocked because all my symptoms pointed towards a miscarriage we are so relieved, so anybody who is experiencing similar symptoms try not to worry, fingers crossed everything will be fine but also don't be afraid to keep on at people so you get seen X
Hi, I'm bleeding too. I am 7 weeks pregnant and it started 2 days ago light/brownish colour, but now quite heavy like a period . Been to see 2 doctors & been told cervix is closed but going to the EPU tomorrow...scary but today has given me hope that the baby will be okay...reassuring that this happens to many& does not necessarily mean miscarriage. Best wishes to all experiencing this as I know how scary & emotionally draining this is.x
I am 7 weeks had a timy bit of brown discharge , rang docc and they said not to worry but so worried may lose baby, i had my son at 28 weeks so hope this goes ok.
Hi Im 9wks pregant now with 2healthy boys already bt seems a lifetime ago since goin thru pregnancies! We lost our first little boy and been tryin 4 3yrs 4this baby &so im very worried that iv got a brownish like old blood mark when i wipe at the toilet-no cramps or pain &iv heard it can b normal bt doesnt stop me worrying :(
when i was 9 wks pregnant i started spotting on mornings so i got a scan and everything was fine with baby but today i woke up and i had 3 tiny red blood clots (not even as big as a pin head) and since then when i have gone to toilet and wiped there has been a trace of blood either brown or pink. i am 12wks and days. sould i be panicking about this? or is it just one of those things like when i spotted when i was 9 wks any suggestions? i hate bothering the doctor when i'm probably fine
Im 5weeks (atleast hoping Im still pregnant) I only found out friday registered the pregnancy with the doc monday then monday night after intercourse found a pinkish colour on tissue after wiping this led to bright red in the morning like the start of a period went to see doc the same morning to be told yes ive probably had a mc but have been booked to have a scan next weds when Im 6 weeks. It got alot heavier that day lost some clots but had no pain only dull ache in back and tum. after the docs I came home assuming from what she said that ive lost the baby bu then reading these forums I now wonder if maybe i am still pregnant after all?? The bleeding has calmed right down and is now at a stage where its just when I wipe and a little bit in a panty liner. Has any one else had this.. Im praying im still pregnant and that every things ok. Ive had 2 boys and never had this before my pregnancies were fairly straight forward.
I am 11 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child & have been bleeding since i was 5 weeks. Mostly the bleeding is very light & is fresh red but i have had about 4-5 episodes where the bleeding becomes heavier and is like normal mid-period bleeding, this usually lasts about 48hrs. I have constant light abdominal cramps and light lower back ache which becomes worse usually just before and during the heavier bleed. The backache can become extremely painful during this time. I have had two scans, one at 5 wks and one at 8wks. Both revealed a strong heart beat and showed nothing of concern. However any reassurance i feel after seeing my baby on the scan is short lived when i have a heavier bleed afterwards. I have been signed off work and told to rest as i have an active job, but slowly feel like i am losing my mind with worry. Has anyone experienced this type of long term bleeding with pain? I have just over 2wks til my nxt scan & am counting the days!!
Right basically me and the fella wer having sex the other night and as he finished I did what every girl does and went to stand up to go clean myself up and literally blood poured outta me I was rushed to hospital but they couldn't find wer the blood was coming from its put me and the fella right off sex but as u may no from wen u wer preg that u tend to get horny... Well I am n e way lol but I'm to bloody scared to have sex! What would u do risk It or not have sex till baby is born cus if n e thing was to happen to my baby just cus I wanted sex I don't think I'd ever forgive myself or have sex again if u no what I mean but just to let u no that me and baby r fine but they didn't no where the blood came from but there was soooooo much blood like. Heavier than a period :( xxx help :( advise xxx p.s I got 10 weeks till due date so if u wer to say what I'm thinking and not to risk it I mean it ain't that long to wait reli lol x
I am 46yrs and 8 weeks gone with my 5th child and have had a slight bleed, dark blood like old blood, no pain or anything but does this mean I am ok or not. I am a little worried as nothing like this happened with my other 4 pregnancies. Could it be down to my age or is it normal for some pregnancies?
hi , i found out i was pregnant last tuesday and im bout 6 weeks gone yesterday i started 2 loose some brown discharge so went the doctors he has booked me in at the epu , but the bleeding has got a bit worse now and im havin pains does this mean im miscarrying ? this is my second pregnancy i didnnt have any of this with my first , any advice wud be good .
Hi, I found out monday im pregnant, im 6weeks tomorrow. I had a m/c may this year, i have my scan booked in for monday, its hard to wait a whole week. i had a 4day bleed when my period would of been due, 6 days later got really stronge pains, the next day woke up to dark brown spotting (which is the day i found out i was pregnant) this spotting has lasted 4days so far, today there are tiny tiny clots. I called EPU yesterday to see if they could see me sooner, they cant, if i start bleeding properly or have worse pains i should go to A&E. Im so worried this is just like last time, i dont feel pregnant at all. I had an ectopic in 2007 so i know those symptoms and dont think its that. Im seeing my dr tomorro. This waiting is driving me crazy, i dont want to lose another baby. Any advise would be much appreciated. Hazel x
Hi. I noticed bloody discharge on the pad when I was 25 weeks (I had no pain though). I went to GP who sent me off for the scan. The doctor in hospital did the internal examination and said that this was related to my cervix and there's nothing wrong with the baby therefore no scan was required. The bleeding lasted for few more days and then stopped. 2 weeks later it appeared again but only lasted for a day. I'm now 28+1 weeks. From time to time my discharge is orangy in colour but the baby is hyper active every day so I think all's fine.
I had to go to hospital with bleeding at 16 and 23 weeks and everything was fine, had scans both times but they never determined a cause of the bleeding. I am now 31 weeks and judging by my babys movements everything is fine in there. So try not to worry its always easiest to think the worst but luckily its not always the case.
Hi I am 6weeks 4days and have been spotting a range of colours since 5weeks 2 days I have seen a doc and also visited a&e in a panic they arranged a scan on Friday at which they said everything was ok and arranged another in 2 weeks time, but it is consuming me what is causing this and why won't it stop!! It is not constant it is coming and going away which they say is a good sign, I had a mirena coil in and waited for 2 months before trying so not sure if it's hormonal ?? This is my second pregnancy never had this with my first !! Also I have no pains at all which is also a good sign but I can't stop worrying :-(((
Im 13 weeks pregnant with my first child and i recently experienced heavy bleeding. After a scan and internal, I was informed my placenta was bleeding but the baby was ok. Has anyone experienced this?
Im 15 weeks pregnant with my second child, everything has been really well up to now but I've just started having some mild bleeding, its very red blood and not painful but I am still quite worried. should I just inform my midwife or visit the hospital?
i am 9 week preg have been bleeding for a week had a scan last fri ,having another 1 2mrw is it normal ?I'm scared please help........
I am 15 weeks pregnant and have experienced mild bleeding for the past week. The discharge is dark brown in colour. Since the early weeks of pregnancy I have noticed a hardish lump on the left side of my abdomen which I thought was my uterus. A midwife at my 13 week scan said it was my bladder, which was embarrassing because I kept getting my husband to hold it thinking it was the womb. Since the bleeding, I had another scan on Thursday, baby was fine but they said the lump (which is getting bigger) was a fibroid. This would explain the bleeding. However the fibroid is 8cm large. Should I be worried at all?
i'm 4 weeks pregnant and have been gettin some slight brownish discharge a couple of times a day for the past 2-3 days, this morning i had quite a bit of blood when i wiped (bit like the start of a period) but had nothing since. i went to the doc this morning and he said its too early to do any checks or scans and i've to do another pregnancy test in 3 weeks to see if i am still pregnant as i may have miscarried. i'm really worried about this, has any1 else had anything like this?
i have some brown discharge which i'm not sure if is old blood or something i should get checked out now. I'm seeing the midwife on friday for a check up, will it be okay if i wait until then? i was at the doctor yesterday with a rash over my tummy (she said it was hives) now i'm more worried than i was before! the brown colour has only arrived in the last couple of hours... I'm 18 weeks.
i am 6 weeks pregnat and ia m having a dark brown bleed does this mean ive miscarriged
I'm due to have an internal scan tomorrow becuse I had some bleeding. I'm so scared. I'm trying to stay positive. Reading that some bleeding is not uncommon makes me feel a bit better. Don't have any pain and no more bleeding so fingers crossed.
I had bleeding with all my preagantcys espceailly with my 4th child i really bled i thought i was having miscarrige .id had a lump come away. with alot of blood and i was about 14 wks . id had a scan which showed evertying was ok but doctors couldnt give me an answers of what it was or what cause it.but i had a healthy little boy who three half. and having my 5th child