Pregnancy

Subchorionic Hematoma: Bleeding During Pregnancy

Team Peanut7 months ago4 min read

You’re not alone if you experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. In fact, 15–25% of women encounter this in the first trimester. And one cause of this bleeding can be something called subchorionic hematoma.

Pregnant woman

You’ll be glad to hear that, in the majority of cases, subchorionic hematoma is a minor issue that will disappear over time. However, occasionally it can cause more serious problems.

That’s why it’s so important to get checked out by your doctor if you have any kind vaginal bleeding while you’re pregnant. So, let’s find out a bit more about subchorionic hematoma.

Table of Contents 📝

  • What is a subchorionic hematoma?
  • Subchorionic hematoma: Pressing questions
  • The last word on subchorionic bleeding

What is a subchorionic hematoma?

A subchorionic hematoma (also known as a subchorionic hemorrhage, or simply subchorionic bleeding) is where blood collects between the lining of the uterus and the chorion (the outermost fetal membrane), or sometimes under the placenta.

What are the symptoms of subchorionic hematoma?

The main symptom of subchorionic hematoma is vaginal bleeding. It may only be a light flow or it may be heavier with small blood clots – depending on how big the hematoma is.

Usually, subchorionic hematoma doesn’t have any other symptoms, although heavier bleeding might be accompanied by cramps.

Sometimes you may not even bleed at all, and the hematoma will only be noticed when you have your first ultrasound scan.

What causes a subchorionic hemorrhage in early pregnancy?

It’s often not possible to work out what exactly has caused a subchorionic hemorrhage. However, it may happen early in pregnancy when the embryo first implants into the wall of the uterus. This can disrupt the blood vessels there and some women may experience a little implantation bleeding or spotting as a result.

However, if the implantation doesn’t quite happen perfectly, it’s thought that this could lead to further bleeding and the build up of a subchorionic hematoma.

Do subchorionic hematomas go away?

Subchorionic hematomas vary in size, from small to large, and smaller bleeds will often clear up on their own without any treatment.

But your doctor will still want to monitor the situation, so if you have any vaginal bleeding during pregnancy at all, it’s best to inform your healthcare provider.

Subchorionic hematoma: Pressing questions

It’s natural to have questions about what subchorionic hematoma could mean for your pregnancy, so let’s take a look at some of them here.

Is a subchorionic hematoma considered high risk?

Subchorionic hematoma pregnancy outcomes are usually very good, as most hematomas are minor bleeds that will disappear over time.

However, in rarer cases a subchorionic hematoma can be larger, leading to more severe vaginal bleeding. This is a higher risk situation, but it is still possible to carry a baby to term with careful monitoring and treatment.

Can a subchorionic hematoma cause a miscarriage?

Unfortunately, a subchorionic hematoma during pregnancy can sometimes lead to miscarriage. The risk is increased if you’re a more mature mama-to-be.

It’s also more problematic if the hematoma keeps growing, which can cause the placenta to detach from the wall of the uterus. The membranes that hold the fetus may also rupture (break) prematurely, potentially leading to pregnancy loss.

How is a subchorionic hemorrhage treated?

If you’re diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage, you’ll be monitored with regular ultrasound scans. When the bleed is larger or seems to be growing, your doctor may try to manage your condition by recommending you:

  • Take bed rest
  • Avoid standing for long periods
  • Avoid exercise
  • Avoid sex

Occasionally, your doctor might prescribe blood thinners to try and reduce the hematoma. Or they might give you estrogen and progesterone to slow down the bleeding.

There’s no treatment that can completely remove a subchorionic hematoma, but the methods above can be very effective at helping you carry your baby to term.

The last word on subchorionic bleeding

In the vast majority of cases, a subchorionic hematoma isn’t anything to worry about. It’s often a small bleed that will disappear of its own accord.

A larger hematoma does have more serious risks attached, but it’s more than likely that your baby will be OK if you have regular monitoring and treatment during your pregnancy.

So, if you see any vaginal bleeding while you’re pregnant, mention it to your doc ASAP. At the very least, this will put your mind at rest, or it may be a step toward essential treatment.