Bleeding spotting and cramping

Woman having stomach ache in office

Bleeding, spotting, pain and cramping in early pregnancy? What it can mean and what to do

Bleeding, spotting, pain and cramping during early pregnancy are common and may not affect your pregnancy. However, it is important to rule out a non-viable pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage or any other condition that may affect you or your baby. These conditions occur in about 15% of pregnant patients.

The Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service at Newcastle Ultrasound prioritises your appointment so that you can be seen by our expert team straight away. Our service goes beyond a scan. You leave with a report and treatment advice, as well as a referral for further testing or treatment, if necessary, on the same day as your scan. Bleeding, spotting, pain and cramping in early pregnancy can be distressing. We are here to help and hopefully reassure you that all is well.

Bleeding, spotting or cramping in the first trimester is common

Approximately 1 in 3 women experience minor pain, cramping, spotting or bleeding in their first trimester. In many cases these symptoms are not directly related to the pregnancy and only 1 in 6 will go on to have a miscarriage. Pain, cramping or bleeding in the second and third trimesters is more serious, however, and can be a sign that something is not right with you or your baby. If you are experiencing any cramping or bleeding outside of your first trimester seek medical advice immediately.

Cramping or bleeding in the first trimester can be due to:

  • Flatulence or gas (as the uterus gets larger and places pressure on your bowel)
  • Constipation
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Implantation bleeding
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Cervical changes due to pregnancy hormones
  • Infection
  • Miscarriage
  • Molar pregnancy

Seek medical advice if you are experiencing any bleeding or spotting along with cramping during your first trimester

If you are experiencing cramping and bleeding together this could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. You should seek medical advice immediately.

  1. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss your symptoms as soon as you are able to
  2. If you require further assessment by Newcastle Ultrasound, your GP may provide a referral to access our Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service. You can download a referral form for your GP here. If you call us prior to 11:00am you will be seen on the same day
  3. Do not use a tampon or have sex while you are experiencing any pain or bleeding


Call 000 or have someone drive you to your nearest emergency department if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain or cramping in the lower abdomen or shoulder pain
  • Intense bleeding (much heavier than a period) with or without pain. Milder bleeding can wait
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fever of more than 38 °C and/or chills


Find the underlying reason for any spotting, bleeding or cramping you may have in early pregnancy. Contact your GP and request a referral to Newcastle Ultrasound

Call our patient liaison coordinator on (02) 4957 3899 to ask any further questions about our Urgent Access Early Pregnancy Scanning Service.