Causes of Brown Spotting During Late Pregnancy

Submitted by Nick on August 14, 2012

The knowledge of being pregnant is one of the most exhilarating experiences in life. This phase can also prove to be a trying period for the mother-to-be as she may be plagued with the natural concerns related to the status of the pregnancy as well as the wellbeing of the baby. At such a time, even a small unexpected physical change or experience may prove alarming. After having passed through the former months of pregnancy, brown spotting during late pregnancy could definitely cause an understandable amount of concern.

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At the end of the pregnancy term, as labor draws near, it is natural for bleeding to occur. This signals that the arrival of the baby is at hand. Brown spotting during late pregnancy generally occurs when the mucus plug is lost. At this time, the mucus plug that blocks the entrance of the uterus dislodges and is passed out through the vagina, in anticipation of the process of childbirth. The mucus may be expelled in the form of a sticky, thick discharge or a mucus blob and may be streaked or stained with blood which is usually brownish in color. It may also be followed by mild to heavy bleeding. This generally occurs anytime after the 36th week of gestation and must be reported to the medical practitioner. It may be accompanied by abdominal cramping, back aches and the breaking of the amniotic sac. This is absolutely fine if it occurs close to the baby’s expected arrival date. However, if brown spotting occurs before the end of the pregnancy term, it could be indicative of pregnancy complications such as preterm labor or complications related to the placenta. Also see brown spotting during early pregnancy

Placental abruption and placenta previa are the most common late pregnancy complications that cause brown bleeding during late pregnancy. Placental abruption refers to a condition wherein the placenta that provides nourishment to the developing baby, gets detached from the uterine wall leaving an open wound on the uterine wall that causes the bleeding. Since the placenta is responsible for supplying the baby with oxygen and nutrients, an abruption can prove to be fatal for the baby. In the case of placenta previa, the placenta attaches itself to the weak, lower portion of the uterus, covering the cervix or near the cervix, instead of the upper portion. This region is full of blood vessels and at times, the tiny blood vessels get ruptured due to the strain and results in bleeding. This could result in complications such as hemorrhaging, placental abruption and preterm labor and could prove detrimental to the mother and baby alike.       

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