Brown Discharge in Early Pregnancy

Vaginal discharge in early pregnancy raises a lot of concerns for the pregnant mommy, her family and the primary care physician. Brown discharge refers to stale blood that is released from female reproductive tract and may suggest a risk of impending miscarriage. However in some cases brown discharge may not be associated with any complication or worrisome issue; yet it is always suggested to efficiently rule out all the possible causes to minimize the risk of complications. When is brown discharge normal? When should you worry?

Is Brown Discharge in Early Pregnancy Normal?

If pregnant mommy experience brown colored spotting during her first trimester, the chances are fair that there is no abnormality as it is a natural phenomenon. This brown spotting is normal in first trimester and usually ends within 2 to 3 days without any medical management. The color is usually brownish, but some women may experience red or pinkish discharge. Typically the spotting is odorless and not associated with any pain, discomfort or burning. A women experiencing brown spotting with no other negative symptoms (like heavy vaginal bleeding) should relax and take ample rest.

What Are Some Possible Causes of Brown Discharge During Early Pregnancy?

1. Implantation Bleeding

It is a fact that one out of four pregnant women experiences mild vaginal bleeding in their first week (that is also referred to as implantation bleeding and occurs because fertilized egg is being implanted in the uterine lining). This brown spotting is considered normal but in some cases it can be a symptom of a likely problem, so if you are experiencing moderate amount of bleeding, speak to your healthcare provider for further course of management.

2. Other Causes

A number of other factors also cause spotting during early pregnancy. Some of these are mentioned below:

  • A woman can experience irritation at or around the vagina or cervix. During early pregnancy, sudden increase in the hormonal concentration and blood flow makes cervical skin sensitive and easily irritable
  • Vaginal or cervical infection also leads to brown discharge or spotting during early pregnancy
  • Growth of a harmless cervical polyp on the cervix often presents with bleeding
  • Growth of fibroids in the uterus lining
  • Any inherited disorder like Von Willebrand disease or other blood disorders that interfere with the normal clotting of blood

When Should You Worry about Brown Discharge During Early Pregnancy?

If brown discharge is not implantation bleeding, it needs to be evaluated immediately. Experiencing symptoms like fainting, fever, abdominal pain, cramping and dizziness needs immediate medical attention as they may lead to some serious condition. Treatment of brown discharge depends on the cause and pregnancy duration.




If brownish discharge continues for some time, you observe a color change or the amount of discharge increases followed by discomfort, cramping and pain, it is mandatory to seek for medical help or contact your physician. There are two types of miscarriages, incomplete and complete. The treatment of incomplete miscarriage is usually done by evacuating uterus through D&C (dilation and curettage) whereas complete miscarriage is when intrauterine death of fetus occurs. It is also treated by D&C.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is another common cause of brown discharge from vagina. This cause is considered very important because of the seriousness of condition. Usually the embryo develops and implanted in the uterus but in ectopic pregnancy, the development process occur primarily in the fallopian tube. It is a very serious condition that may endanger life. Some related symptoms are cramping and pain in abdomen. If a women experience heavy vaginal bleeding then she may develop serious changes in the blood pressure and circulation of blood.

Placental Abnormalities

There are some placental abnormalities like placenta abruption or placenta previa in which brown discharge can occur. In placenta abruption, pregnant mommies feel severe pain; whereas there is no pain in placenta previa (painless vaginal bleeding).

In placenta previa the cervical opening is being covered by the placenta and a female will experience heavy vaginal bleeding. However it is seen that sometimes brown spotting occurs instead of fresh bleeding.

In placenta abruption, the bleeding occurs due to pre-mature separation of placenta and uterus. Bleeding is often heavy. However it is seen that occasionally brown spotting may also occur. These conditions are very serious and require urgent medical treatment in order to save the baby as well as the mother.

Infection or Inflammation

Infections or inflammation involving female reproductive system is another cause of brown discharge. In most of the gynecological diseases like cervical erosion, brown discharge is a common finding. It is highly recommended to treat any gynecological problem as early as possible to prevent further any harm to fetus or pregnancy.

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