Learn about the causes of subchorionic hemorrhages or subchorionic hematomas.
What Causes Subchorionic Hemorrhage in Pregnancy?
Nothing is scarier in pregnancy than bleeding. Seeing bright red blood during a time when there shouldn’t be any can be heartbreaking and cause a lot of anxiety.
During my fourth pregnancy with my rainbow baby, I started to bleed heavily. I had just had an ultrasound that day and the baby appeared fine, but the blood made me feel otherwise. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage, also known as a subchorionic hematoma, as I explained in this post. I was 13 weeks pregnant at the time, and very scared and confused.
Subchorionic Hemorrhage Symptoms
The most common symptoms of subchorionic hemorrhage is unexpected bleeding. The bleeding can range from spotting to heavy bleeding with clots.
Most of the time, there are no other symptoms. Some women report cramping, but it doesn’t always occur.
Subchorionic Hemorrhage Causes
I did what every other woman who has had the condition does: I googled what causes subchorionic hemorrhage in pregnancy (you better believe I did a ton of research!) The results were disappointing. Why?
Turns out, no one really knows what causes a subchorionic hemorrhage in pregnancy.
Here are some possibilities though:
- Separation of the fertilized egg from the uterine wall during implantation, causing a bleed or hemorrhage to form.
- Extreme trauma to the mother’s abdomen, caused by an accident of some sort, may lead to bleeding.
- Drug use by the mother during early pregnancy.
- Issues with blood coagulation during early pregnancy.
Doesn’t really give you much to work with, does it?
Of course, I have come up with my own possible causes that I’m applying only to me:
- Lifting incredibly heavy objects (I may have helped my husband move some very heavy furniture during week 12)
- Scarring from D&C from previous miscarriage (read that story here)
Other than that, my doctor says it could have happened from anything or nothing.
Does anyone else think they need to do a bit more research on this??
Subchorionic Hemorrhage Treatment
Unfortunately, you’re not going to find a clear-cut an answer for treatments of subchorionic hemorrhage either. There is no cure for a subchorionic hemorrhage as of yet.
Doctors may or may not suggest the following treatments, depending on your situation:
- Rest whenever possible. This is usually for working women or for women with other little kiddos to care for at home.
- Pelvic rest. Sorry gents, but your ladies aren’t going to be able to spend quality time with you for a while. Pelvic rest is suggested to prevent orgasms from causing the uterine wall to contract, possibly making the bleeding worse.
- Bed rest. Doctors are less likely to suggest this unless you have extreme bleeding or you are in danger of preterm labor. Another reason to suggest bed rest would be that the subchorionic hemorrhage is growing.
- No lifting above 10 lbs. This is so that there is no strain to cause the hemorrhage to bleed more or to grow.
Other than that, not much more can be done. I have found some really outdated sites saying that baby aspirin is prescribed or even hormones to help the pregnancy, but nothing else backs this up.
I have, however, found some women saying in some of the baby forums (yep, I read those too!) that they were told to drink more water. While it may seem dumb to say that, it actually isn’t. Ever experience cramping or contractions because you were dehydrated? Makes total sense to drink more water, and on top of that, to keep your belly satisfied since hunger can also cause cramps.
What Can Doctors Do for Subchorionic Hemorrhages?
To monitor the subchorionic hemorrhage, multiple ultrasounds are performed to check the size and location. Usually, these ultrasounds are done every 1-2 weeks so that doctors can check that the baby is growing well.
Your doctor may also refer you to a maternal fetal medicine specialist, who will also monitor the hemorrhage and the baby.
Subchorionic Hemorrhage Pregnancy Outcome
Thankfully, everything I’ve read has given me positive outcomes for subchorionic hemorrhage. Most of the time, the subchorionic hemorrhage either bleeds out or reabsorbs into the body. Babies are born healthy and on time.
Other times, the subchorionic hemorrhage either stays put or grows along with the baby. In some cases, if it grows too large, it may cause preterm birth as it basically pushes the baby out.
Unfortunately some women may lose their pregnancy, especially if the hemorrhage is underneath the placenta and causes the placenta to separate from the uterine wall. If that is the case for you, don’t panic, because I have read many positive outcomes for this type of hemorrhage too!
If anything, reading so many positive stories of other pregnant women with subchorionic hemorrhages has given me hope, and I hope that gives you hope as well.
So What Happened?
Having the SCH was probably the scariest thing that ever happened to me in all of my pregnancies. I am thankful to be able to say that I had a very positive outcome. My SCH was undetectable via ultrasound between weeks 17-19. I had no other episodes after that. My baby girl was born healthy and happy in late December 2015.
I still think about it from time to time, as it was a very traumatic experience for me. It was one of the scariest experiences I faced, and to this day I believe I have a mild form of PTSD from it.
If you feel scared and anxious, it is completely normal. Please speak with your doctor about ways to cope with the emotions you feel. Speak with your family and friends for support. Try not to spend too much time googling about it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!
I wish all the best for you and your baby!
If you know of anyone who would benefit from reading this, please share it! Thanks!