Since her teenage years when a girl comes of age and starts having her first period, she is told that she is now a complete lady. In the Indian context, it is over the years that one learns that periods is what makes her body ready to bear a child (in the western world, people learn this basic biological fact way earlier in life).
We are then told that when a woman conceives a child, she does not have her periods for the next nine months, during which she carries a child in her.
In fact, in rural India or even in deprived households in the urban areas, there are women who do not have access to home pregnancy test kits. These women rely on the information of a missed period to tell them if they are pregnant or not.
Now the million dollar question that arises here is the fact whether a woman can still have her period while she is pregnant or not. While there are a number of myths surrounding the same, this article answers this question from a scientific perspective, taking into account all the medical details about the same.
• You Do Not Have Periods In Pregnancy
Medically speaking, periods are the discharge of mucosal tissue and a decent quantity of blood from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. When the uterus is carrying a fetus inside it, this sort of bleeding from the innermost lining of the vagina does not happen.
That is why the absence of a period is taken to be a probable sign of pregnancy, as it is not medically possible for a woman to be pregnant and have her periods at the same time. In fact, many women do not even resume their periods in the first few months of breastfeeding their newborn child.
Thus, if you are absolutely sure that it is periods that you are having, chances are that you might not be pregnant in the first place. In case such a situation does arise, it is a good idea to take a fresh pregnancy test just to be doubly sure about the situation you are in.
• Other Types Of Bleeding
It is important for women to understand that all forms of bleeding that their body has to go through is not due to periods alone. It may be some other form of vaginal bleeding. It may also be some form of an infection in the cervix that causes it to bleed. This type of an infection is usually not related to pregnancy at all.
Urinary tract infection (or UTI) that is very commonly seen in women may also be a cause of the bleeding that you see and often mistake as your periods. Women who have had a history of piles, cannot discard the idea of having it all over again just because they are pregnant. For all we know, the bleeding might well be because of piles.
• Implantation Bleeding
During early pregnancy, a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. In some women, this may cause irritation in the lining which may lead to bleeding. It is more common than you think it is with over 30 per cent women claiming to experience this in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Some women also claim to have confused this with periods. However, two key factors that distinguish implantation bleeding from that of menstrual bleeding are the colour of the blood and the fact that during implantation, bleeding with other factors that accompany periods (things like mood swings and cramps) are not present.
Implantation blood is lighter than normal period blood and occurs in scanty proportions. Usually, the discharge is yellowish or pinkish with a few bloody streaks. In case you do notice such a thing, there is nothing to be worried about, as this is something that is absolutely normal.
• Cause Of Concern
Having read so far, you know how to identify periods bleeding from that of other types of bleeding. Despite this if you know that you are pregnant and still believe that the bleeding that you are having is like that of periods, you must immediately consult your doctor.
For all we know, this might be one of the earliest symptoms of a miscarriage. Even if it is not a case of miscarriage, bleeding during periods signifies other uterine abnormalities, which may lead to complications later on in your pregnancy. To deal with all of that in one go, it is better to be aware and keep your doctor informed about any changes in your body, so that he or she can be medically equipped to deal with the same.
In the worst case scenario, this type of bleeding may be one of the first symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition and many doctors treat it as a medical emergency.