Subchorionic Hematoma: Causes and Support to Feel Safe | Peanut

Subchorionic Hematoma: Causes and Support to Feel Safe | Peanut

If you’ve experienced vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, you’re not alone.

15–25% of women encounter this in the first trimester.

And one cause of this bleeding can be something called subchorionic hematoma (SCH).

As intimidating as it may sound, you’ll be glad to hear that, in the majority of cases, it’s a minor issue that will disappear over time.

Still, there are times when it can cause more serious pregnancy complications.

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.

To help you feel informed and empowered to advocate for your health, let’s find out a bit more about subchorionic hematoma.

Table of Contents 📝

  • What is a subchorionic hematoma?
  • What causes a subchorionic hemorrhage in early pregnancy?
  • How serious is a subchorionic hematoma?
  • Is a subchorionic hematoma considered high risk?
  • How is a subchorionic hemorrhage treated?
  • How long does subchorionic bleeding last?

What is a subchorionic hematoma?

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

This can also include bleeding under the placenta.

What are symptoms of subchorionic hematoma?

The main symptom of subchorionic hematoma is vaginal bleeding.

It may only be a light flow, or it could 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.

Generally, it’s believed to occur when the placenta detaches from the initial implantation site and causes a build-up of blood which forms another sac between the placenta and uterus.

So, essentially this movement is what causes this type of bleeding behind the placenta.

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

What causes SCH in pregnancy?

As for what causes subchorionic hemorrhage more generally, it’s not necessarily clear.

But there are some potential risk factors worth being aware of:

How serious is a subchorionic hematoma?

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 them immediately.

Still, it’s understandable to have questions about what it could mean for your pregnancy, so we strongly encourage you to reach out to your doctor to put your mind at ease.

You’re not the first mama-to-be to do so—just ask the moms on Peanut.

Is a subchorionic hematoma considered high risk?

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

Still, one 2021 study suggests that SCH could result in a higher risk of bleeding in the first trimester, early pregnancy loss, placental abruption, or preterm delivery.

In rarer cases, a subchorionic hematoma can be larger, leading to more severe vaginal bleeding.

This is a higher-risk situation, but it’s 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.

And 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, and this could potentially lead 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.

How long does subchorionic bleeding last?

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, but there is no set timeline.

As for the serious risks attached, 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 (especially if you have a larger hematoma).

In the meantime, know that you’re not alone in your pregnancy fears or worries.

Many mamas on Peanut have been where you are.

The door is always open—we’re ready when you are. ❤️


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