Check out our Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Guide!
I remember going into my first appointment when I was pregnant with my firstborn excited and a little nervous. Excited to hear the first teeny heartbeats, but nervous that there could potentially be something wrong. Thankfully within seconds the ultrasound technician easily found a heartbeat, however she continued to nervously zoom in on one spot on the little screen. I knew there was something wrong. She took some photos and sent us on to see the doctor who then explained that I had something called a Subchorionic Hematoma.
What is a Subchorionic Hematoma?
A Subchorionic Hematoma is a pooling of blood between the uterine wall and the placenta during pregnancy. This occurs when the placenta separates from the implantation site and results in blood clots that can vary in size.
What are the symptoms and risks?
Many women won’t even know they have a Subchorionic Hematoma unless it is detected on an ultrasound. Usually in these cases the bleeds are small and cause very little risk to the pregnancy. In the case of larger clots, like my own, the most common symptom is vaginal bleeding. In my case with both of my daughters I had quite heavy bleeding. This can be normal.
In the instance of larger blood clots, the risk of miscarriage and placental abruption are slightly higher in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. In most cases however, larger clots will also be absorbed into the uterus and pose no threat to your child.
How to manage?
The most important thing to note is that Subchorionic Hematomas usually clear up on their own within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor will likely monitor the hemorrhage checking to make sure that it is shrinking and that your baby is developing normally.
- Try and stay calm and think positively– I know! It can be hard to stay calm when you are worried about all the possible outcomes. Especially when you are bleeding and it is too soon to feel your baby move. However, the most significant thing you can do is stay calm and stay off Google! Bleeding does not always mean you are miscarrying. Remember that stress is also not good for your developing baby.
- Listen to your doctor’s instructions– As I stated before, your pregnancy will likely be closely monitored by your doctor. The good thing about this is you will probably get to see your sweet bundle of joy a lot more often than with a normal pregnancy. In my case I had an ultrasound every other week during the first 20 weeks.
- Pelvic Rest- Likely, your doctor will put you on pelvic rest. You should avoid exercise and being on your feet for long periods of time. You will also need to refrain from sex…sorry Dads! Just remember to put your feet up as much as possible.
- Call your doctor- If you have an episode of heavy bleeding, it is a good idea to call your doctor to see if they can fit you in for an ultrasound. If this happens at night, usually you can call the after-hours line. This will hopefully put your mind at ease.
In both pregnancies I had enough bleeding where I thought I was miscarrying. I had several episodes of heavy bleeding resulting in many calls to my doctor and lots of tears. I know how scary pregnancy with a Subchorionic Hematoma can be. However, I am here to tell you however, that in both of my pregnancies the bleeds absorbed into my uterus within the first 20 weeks and I went on to have two healthy happy little girls.