Many women wonder about "what is spotting?", "Why am I spotting?" or "Is it normal to have spotting?" Many women get concerned about spotting because it seems unnatural. But it is actually fairly common and it often occurs during pregnancy, between periods and sometimes after a vaginal exam or sexual intercourse. For pregnant women, about 30% of them will experience spotting in their first trimesters. So if you notice slight traces of blood on your underwear don't get too concerned about it and just consult a doctor to assure yourself.

What Is Spotting?

The best answer to the question “what is spotting?is that it is light bleeding caused by natural body function, irritation, injury or an infection. Actually, spotting is not a rare condition and it does happen to lots of woman and is not necessarily unhealthy. A woman should only get concerned about spotting when it is excessive or the blood is red rather than light brown, which indicates a heavier flow and a bigger problem. If women in the early stages of pregnancy observe spotting, doctors usually recommend they have a medical exam to determine whether it is a normal pregnant reaction or not. Always consult a doctor, if your spotting worries you.

Causes of Spotting

Spotting can have lots of cause: some natural but some dangerous or a symptom of underlying health problems. Things that can cause spotting include:


Light brown or pink spotting can occur at the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle when the egg is about to be released. This bleeding usually stops within a day.



Light pink spotting may develop two weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period. It happens when the egg is released from the ovarian follicle into the fallopian tube. During this process, a small amount of blood may flow into the vagina. For some other woman, this ovulation spotting occurs due to increased estrogen productions that leading to the shed of uterine lining.



Spotting can be early signs of pregnancy. Pregnant implantation takes place 2 weeks after a fertilized egg makes its way into the lining of the uterine wall. This can cause a small amount of internal bleeding and when that blood gets out of the vagina, spotting happens. But only about 20% to 30% woman will experience this spotting.


Abnormal Pregnancy

Pregnant women should pay attention to spotting because it can be a sign that something is seriously wrong. It can be a sign of a miscarriage, placental problems, premature labor or an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the baby is developing outside the uterus. All of these conditions require immediate medical treatment.


A Sign of Labor

In later stages of pregnancy, spotting can be a sign of impending labor. The blood comes from the mucus plug, which is passed as the body prepares for labor. This usually occurs sometimes after 37 weeks of pregnancy. If the spotting comes earlier, women should ask her doctor about it.


Underlying Diseases

  • If spotting is not caused by the above factors but persists for some time or occurs at times, women should become concerned because it could be an infection. Infections of the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix and ovaries can cause spotting and if ignored, it will result in severe consequences.

  • Spotting can also be a symptom of other serious diseases, including cervical and uterine cancer and endometriosis or lesions in the lining of the uterus.

Spotting VS. Period

It is easy to understand the difference between spotting and a period if you understand both phenomena.
  • The major difference between spotting and a period is the amount of the blood. Spotting has a very few blood that may appear as a slight red mark on the underwear. But period has big flow of blood that last for days and sanitary pad is need.

  • Another difference between spotting and a period is the color of the blood. If the blood is bright red, you are not dealing with spotting because spotting blood is light and usually brown in color.

  • Spotting can be a result of natural body function but it can also be caused by underlying health conditions. Period is a natural phenomenon that every healthy woman experiences.

  • Spotting can happen at any time but period has its own cycle.


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