Early pregnancy bleeding

Aust Fam Physician. 2016 May;45(5):283-6.


Background: Twenty to forty per cent of pregnant women will experience bleeding during the first trimester. Initial presentation is usually to the general practitioner. Complications of miscarriage, including threatened miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, are the most common diagnoses. The failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy may have life-threatening consequences for a woman.

Objective: The aim of this article is to review the history, examination findings, investigations and management options for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

Discussion: Early pregnancy bleeding is a very distressing symptom for which a woman seeks reassurance that she has an ongoing pregnancy. It is not always possible to make a diagnosis at the first presentation. In some cases, the need for follow-up investigations or referral to a gynaecologist is required. As healthcare providers, we should continue to review and update our knowledge in the management of this common presentation in order to optimise our care of these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / diagnosis
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / diagnostic imaging
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / therapy
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / therapy