Second trimester: How much pain, bleeding, and discharge is normal?

For many people, the second trimester marks a moment of calm in pregnancy. The intense symptoms of the first trimester often dissipate, and the exhaustion, muscle pain, and anxiety about birth that are common during the third trimester may not have appeared.

Small amounts of bleeding during the second trimester are typical and may not signal a problem, though it is important to get checked if something feels wrong. In this article, we look at the possible causes and when to see a doctor.

How much is normal?

Bleeding is common during the first trimester of pregnancy, affecting 15 to 25 percent of pregnant women.

Bleeding in the second trimester is less usual, with heavier bleeding being a more serious sign than light bleeding. Causes can range from mild inflammation to problems with the placenta or cervix.

Bleeding does not usually mean a woman is going into labor or having a miscarriage.

Women who experience mild bleeding, spotting, or unusual discharge should contact their healthcare providers. When bleeding is heavy or painful, it is a medical emergency.

Not all bleeding during the second trimester is an emergency. In many cases, the woman and the baby are fine.

Nevertheless, it is important to be cautious. Prompt intervention in emergencies can save the life of both the woman and the baby. Anyone who is uncertain should go to the emergency room.

Some symptoms that warrant emergency treatment include:

  • bleeding after an injury, such as a car accident or fall
  • sudden heavy bleeding
  • bleeding that is getting progressively heavier
  • bleeding that includes blood clots
  • bleeding along with pain or contractions
  • dizziness or weakness along with bleeding
  • bleeding in a person with placenta accreta, placenta previa, or a history of preterm labor

When to call a doctor

Tell a doctor about any bleeding episodes to ensure a prompt and accurate diagnosis. Anyone who is uncertain about their bleeding should call right away.


Bleeding during the second trimester can be worrying. However, even when the bleeding is due to a serious complication, most women go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies.

Prompt medical care can prevent complications and save lives, so always talk to a provider about any bleeding, even if it seems minor.

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