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Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy. Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Session Objectives. To review best practices for diagnosis and management of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy To review strategies for diagnosing ectopic pregnancy. Definition.

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Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

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Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth


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Session Objectives

  • To review best practices for diagnosis and management of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy

  • To review strategies for diagnosing ectopic pregnancy

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Definition

Vaginal bleeding that occurs during first 22 weeks of pregnancy

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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General Management of Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

  • Evaluate woman’s condition, including vital signs

  • If shock suspected, immediately begin treatment

  • If woman is in shock, consider ruptured ectopic pregnancy

  • Infuse IV fluids

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Diagnosis of Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

  • Threatened abortion

  • Inevitable abortion

  • Incomplete abortion

  • Complete abortion

  • Ectopic pregnancy

  • Molar pregnancy

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Management of Threatened Abortion

  • Medical treatment usually not necessary

  • Advise woman to avoid strenuous activity and sexual intercourse; bed rest not necessary

  • If bleeding stops, followup in antenatal clinic. Reassess if bleeding recurs

  • If bleeding persists, assess for fetal viability (pregnancy test/ultrasound) or ectopic pregnancy (ultrasound). Persistent bleeding, particularly in the presence of uterus larger than expected may indicate twins or molar pregnancy

Do not give medications such as hormones (e.g., estrogens or progestins) or tocolytic agents (e.g., salbutamol or indomethacin) because they will not prevent miscarriage.

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Management of Inevitable Abortion

  • If pregnancy is less than 16 weeks, plan for evacuation of uterine contents. If evacuation not immediately possible:

    • Give ergometrine 0.2 mg IM (repeated after 15 min. if necessary) OR misoprostol 400 µg by mouth (repeated once after 4 hours if necessary)

    • Arrange for evacuation as soon as possible

  • If pregnancy is greater than 16 weeks:

    • Await spontaneous expulsion of products of conception and then evacuate uterus to remove any remaining products of conception

    • If necessary, infuse oxytocin 40 units in 1 L IV fluids at 40 drops/min. to help expulsion of products of conception

  • Ensure followup after treatment

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Management of Incomplete Abortion if Pregnancy is Less than 16 Weeks

  • If bleeding light to moderate, use fingers or ring (or sponge) forceps to remove products of conception protruding through cervix

  • If bleeding heavy, evacuate uterus:

    • Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is preferred method, evacuation by sharp curettage should only be done if MVA not available

    • If evacuation not immediately possible, give ergometrine 0.2 mg IM (repeated after 15 min. if necessary) OR misoprostol 400 µg orally (repeated once after 4 hours if necessary)

  • Ensure followup of woman after treatment

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Management of Incomplete Abortion if Pregnancy is Greater than 16 Weeks

  • Infuse oxytocin 40 units in 1 L IV fluids at 40 drops/min. until expulsion of products of conception occurs

  • Evacuate any remaining products of conception from uterus by dilatation and curettage

  • If necessary, give misoprostol 200 µg vaginally every 4 hours until expulsion, but do not administer more than 800 µg

  • Ensure followup of woman after treatment

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Management of Complete Abortion

  • Evacuation of the uterus usually not necessary

  • Observe for heavy bleeding

  • Ensure followup of woman after treatment

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Followup After Abortion

  • Tell woman that spontaneous abortion is common

  • Reassure woman that chances for subsequent successful pregnancy are good unless there has been sepsis or unless cause of abortion is identified that may have an adverse effect on future pregnancies (rare)

  • Encourage her to delay next pregnancy until completely recovered

  • Provide counseling for women who have had unsafe abortion. If pregnancy not desired, certain contraceptive methods can be started immediately (within 7 days) if:

    • There are no severe complications requiring further treatment

    • Woman receives adequate counseling and help in selecting most appropriate contraceptive method

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Contraceptive Methods After Abortion

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Signs and Symptoms of Unruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Symptoms of early pregnancy

    • Irregular spotting or bleeding

    • Nausea

    • Swelling of breasts

    • Bluish discoloration of vagina and cervix

    • Softening of cervix

    • Slight uterine enlargement

    • Increased urinary frequency

  • Abdominal and pelvic pain

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Signs and Symptoms of Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Collapse and weakness

  • Fast, weak pulse (110 beats/min.)

  • Hypotension

  • Hypovolemia

  • Acute abdominal and pelvic pain

  • Abdominal distension

  • Rebound tenderness

  • Pallor

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Differential Diagnosis for Ectopic Pregnancy

  • Threatened abortion

  • Acute or chronic pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Ovarian cysts (torsion or rupture)

  • Acute appendicitis

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Immediate Management of Molar Pregnancy

  • If diagnosis is certain, evacuate uterus:

    • If cervical dilatation is needed, use a paracervical block

    • Use vacuum aspiration (MVA preferred)

    • Have three syringes cocked and ready for use during evacuation

  • Infuse oxytocin 20 units in I L IV fluids at 60 drops per min.

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Subsequent Management of Molar Pregnancy

  • Recommend hormonal family planning method for at least 1 year to prevent pregnancy

  • Follow up every 8 weeks for at least 1 year with urine pregnancy tests because of the risk of persistent trophoblastic disease

  • If urine pregnancy test is not negative after 8 weeks or becomes positive again within the first year, refer woman to tertiary care center for more followup and management

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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Summary

  • Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy has a wide differential diagnosis:

    • Threatened abortion

    • Inevitable abortion

    • Incomplete abortion

    • Complete abortion

    • Ectopic pregnancy

    • Molar pregnancy

  • Diagnosis can often be made clinically, saving time and expense

Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy


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