By Angela Onwuzoo
Maternal health experts have called for proper sensitisation of women in the country on the process and signs of pregnancy, noting that some women who are unaware of these signs often mistake bleeding in early pregnancy for menses.
They stressed that due to this misconception, some pregnant women often go for weeks and even months, without knowing they are pregnant, thus putting the health of the foetus at risk.
According to the experts, pregnancy and menses do not co-exist, stressing that a woman is not expected to menstruate while pregnant.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in exclusive interviews, the experts, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Family Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Dr. KamilShoretire; and a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr. HaleemahOlalere, noted that the blood that women see during pregnancy is not actually menses but bleeding caused by different factors.
The gynaecologists reiterated that menses does not come during pregnancy, pointing out that it is mostly ignorance that makes some women not know the difference between menses and bleeding in early pregnancy.
Shoretireemphasised that it is unusual and uncommon for a woman with a normal womb and normal pregnancy to menstruate.
He explained, “A woman can bleed during pregnancy but the bleeding is not menses and if she has never known any other bleeding other than menses, she will say is menses.
“What you call menses is the monthly shedding of the lining of the womb; that is what comes out as menses. When there is pregnancy, there can’t be the shedding of the lining of the womb. It is on the lining of the uterus that pregnancy is sited. Pregnancy and menses do not co-exist, except the woman has a double womb. A woman is not expected to menstruate while she is pregnant but she could bleed.
“That bleeding could be as a result of implantation; when a pregnancy is growing and is planting itself in the lining of the womb. The implantation causes bleeding but that bleeding is not supposed to be significant. But in some women, the bleeding could be significant.
“The woman could bleed, if the egg goes and locates itself in a place where there is a rich blood supply. So, the implantation is like an invasion; it is trying to dig a hole into the lining of the womb.
“ If it digs a place where there is so much blood supply, the bleeding becomes more than the spot bleeding. But some women who are unaware of this will be confused and mistake it for their menses.”
Continuing, the gynaecologist noted, “Normally, menstruation ceases when there is pregnancy. Menses doesn’t come during pregnancy. However, some women may bleed during pregnancy depending on the location of the growing embryo or the location of the placenta.
“The one that is common is when the woman is already pregnant and she has sex with her husband and then begins to experience bleeding. This usually occurs when the placenta is sited very close to the mouth of the womb. That is what is called abnormally sited placenta or placenta previa.