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What Is Subchorionic Bleeding?

A subchorionic bleed also known as subchorionic hematoma, which is the blood that has accumulated between the uterine lining and the chorion, located the outer fetal membrane next to the uterus. When this happens, it can result in light to heavy spotting or bleeding. In other words, a subchorionic bleed could also occur when the placenta detaches itself from the original implantation site, thereby affecting the chorionic membrane and causing it to lift apart to form another sac between the placenta and the uterus. This movement and resulting clots usually cause light or somewhat heavy bleeding.

Most subchorionic bleeds often resolve on their own and don’t pose any risks to the mother or baby. Most Women who experience subchorionic bleeding still go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies. However, in rare cases, since it can cause the placenta to separate form the uterine lining, it thereby increases the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. That explains why it is important for women with this condition to be closely monitored by their healthcare providers.

That said, subchorionic bleeds are rare as only an estimated 1% of all pregnancies have them.1 It also tends to be more prevalent among women who get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate subchorionic bleeding and hematomas because they have similar symptoms. But of course, spotting and bleeding may be a sign, especially in the first trimester. Most causes of subchorionic bleeds are actually detected during a routine ultrasound since they are sometimes without noticeable symptoms.

Even though most subchorionic bleeds resolve on their own, in rare cases, they could cause the placenta to separate from the uterine lining, thereby increasing the risk of a miscarriage or preterm labor. That explains why it is important for women with this condition to be closely monitored by their healthcare providers.

Like already mentioned, subchorionic bleeding can be hard to diagnose as many women confuse it for spotting. However, if you are pregnant and notice vaginal bleeding at any point, the logical thing to do is to let your doctor know. He will likely do an ultrasound to know the root cause of the bleeding. You will therefore be treated according to how large the subchorionic hematoma is and where it is located. You may be put on bed rest or even asked to avoid sex until the condition resolves.

If you are experiencing symptoms of subchorionic hematoma, do speak to your doctor as soon as possible for immediate medical care.

Reference:
1) First Trimester Bleeding Tied to Greater Retained Placenta Risk. MedpageToday Website. https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/acog/72600. Last accessed April 22, 2021.

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