In the medical world, hema means blood and toma means swelling. A hematoma, then, is an area of the body where blood pools in tissue instead of in the blood vessels where it is supposed to be. This can be caused by a severe injury that breaks a lot of blood vessels.
During pregnancy, a hematoma can form between the chorion, a membrane surrounding the embryo and the uterine wall. This is called chorionic hematoma and it occurs in about 3 percent of all pregnancies (3 in 100). This condition is the most commonly seen pregnancy-related hematoma and is the most common cause of first trimester bleeding. Hematomas during pregnancy have no known cause. One theory is that the egg might slightly separate from the uterus during development, which can lead to a tear.
There are other places in the womb where hematomas can occur. Most of the time, women don’t realize they are experiencing a problem. Most women have no symptoms of pregnancy-related hematomas. If they do have symptoms, they are likely to notice blood in the vagina and abdominal pain. Later in pregnancy, women may experience premature labor.
Diagnosis of hematomas during pregnancy
Since hematomas often have no symptoms, an ultrasound exam which shows bleeding leads to diagnosis. If you experience vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy, let your doctor know. He or she will likely request ultrasound imaging.
During pregnancy, it is easy to feel like there are so many things that can go wrong with the developing baby and their health. One of the most important things to remember is that there is a wide range of what is normal for women to experience during pregnancy. This can mean physical sensations and even pain, emotional and mood changes, and health-related concerns.
Talk to your doctor about what is normal during pregnancy. If you have a good sense of what the normal range is, you can begin to notice if you are experiencing something that does not seem to fall within that normal range. The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center strive to develop the kinds of relationships that their patients always feel comfortable talking about anything that she may be experiencing.
Treatment of hematomas during pregnancy
Treatment varies and depends on the doctor and the severity of the hematoma and the stage of pregnancy. Refraining from sexual intercourse and bed rest are possibilities. Also, you may be able to continue your normal routine. There is no surgical treatment for hematomas during pregnancy. Blood thinners may be requested. Or, the doctor may have a “wait and see” approach and not prescribe treatment until it truly seems like it is needed.
There is low to medium low to medium risk to the pregnancy with this condition. In most cases, the body absorbs the hematoma and the pregnancy continues on normally.