Bleeding in pregnancy is common.  Despite this a woman who is pregnant and has any vaginal bleeding mustconsult a doctor as soon as possible. If the bleeding is heavy or she feels any pain she should go directly to hospital.  Ideally this will be the hospital where she receives her antenatal care and plans to deliver her baby. 


An antepartum haemorrhage, better known as an APH, is when there is vaginal bleeding in a woman who is more than 24 weeks pregnant.  The bleeding may be coming from inside the womb or it may be coming from somewhere else in the vagina and not be related to the pregnancy.  Sometimes a woman will mistake bleeding from the anus or bladder as vaginal bleeding.


An important cause of an APH related to the pregnancy is a placenta praevia.  This is when the placenta lies across the neck of the womb.  Placental abruption is another cause and is when the placenta separates from the wall of the womb before birth.  The normal "show" can be the first sign of the beginning of labour and may appear bloody.  Very rarely the bleeding comes directly from the baby's blood vessels.  This is a very serious condition called vasa praevia.


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