Morning sickness, nausea, and constipation may be a regular feature of pregnancy. However, when vomiting becomes severe and long-drawn, then it could cause vomiting of blood during pregnancy.
While it may sound scary, you do not have to panic as the condition is treatable. But see a doctor for diagnosis because vomiting of blood could be a symptom of some serious health issues, which might need timely treatment to avoid any complications.
In the meanwhile, feel free to peruse this MomJunction post to learn more about the causes, treatments, and remedies for vomiting blood during pregnancy.
What Is Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)?
Vomiting blood or Hematemesis often occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy. You will vomit a significant amount of blood along with the vomit. The blood in the vomit appears black or dark brown and looks like ground coffee.
There are several diseases or gastrointestinal infections that lead to blood vomiting during pregnancy. It is surely not a healthy symptom, and it is advisable to consult the gynecologist immediately. Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract including the mouth, stomach or torn blood vessels causes bloody vomit. It is the regurgitation of the stomach contents mixed with blood (1).
[ Read: Pregnancy Induced Hypertension ]
Important Facts About Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)
- Blood in vomiting during pregnancy often occurs due to the bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
- If the vomiting happens persistently, it increases the risk of Melaena. Melaena may lead to black, tarry stools. There is also the presence of blood in the stool.
- Blood in the vomit is mainly due to haematin acid.
- Fresh blood vomit occurs when some of your large blood vessels bleed heavily.
- Symptoms of Hematemesis in pregnancy include dizziness and light abdominal pain.
- During severe blood vomit, the systolic blood pressure falls rapidly.
- During pregnancy, vomiting blood occurs due to sudden mucosal tear at the esophagus. The forceful vomiting leads to Mallory-Weiss tear (esophagus tear).
Causes Of Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
There are several diseases or factors that lead to or cause vomiting blood during pregnancy. The factors are normally the outcome of a severe injury or illness.
Here are some of the common causes of vomiting blood during pregnancy:
The inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach leads to gastritis. Acute gastritis causes minor inflammation, whereas chronic gastritis can lead to chronic inflammation. The gastrointestinal disorder leads to bloody vomit during pregnancy. The harmful bacterium Helicobacter pylori infect the inner lining of the stomach.
Dehydration is probably the most significant reason for vomiting blood during your pregnancy. As your body runs out of fluid, you feel nauseous, and you often throw up constantly. The lack of fluid exerts excess pressure, and the vomit ejects bile pigments and blood.
While you are expecting, ensure you eat small meals at regular intervals and keep yourself full. Sometimes, starvation can lead to blood in the vomit.
4. Esophagus Rupture:
During pregnancy, you may often become nauseous and tendency to vomit at regular time interval. When the vomit occurs forcefully, it ruptures the esophagus (the swallowing tube). It leads to blood in the vomit.
5. Improper Diet:
When you do not intake a well-balanced diet during your pregnancy phase, your body reciprocates and leads to blood in the vomit. You may feel like throwing up, immediately after having meals or in the early mornings.
Vomiting blood may also occur as a consequence of pregnancy-induced hypertension. Hence, most doctors advise you to take plenty of rest and stay in a positive and peaceful environment. Excess stress or tension can hamper the condition of both you and your growing fetus.
7. Food Poisoning:
The intake of stale or toxic foods during pregnancy can lead to blood in the vomit. During pregnancy, you need to be extra cautious about your diet plan and hygiene. Make sure you wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before you eat them. Don’t eat foods that can trigger allergies and health complexities.
8. Medication/Drug Side Effects:
Anti-inflammatory medications including Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Naproxen often lead to irritation and bleeding. These OTC medications reduce the mucus production and directly hampers and irritate the stomach lining. Aspirin also restricts blood clotting and interferes with the platelet function.
[ Read: Safe Drugs During Pregnancy ]
9. Gastrointestinal Tract Rupture:
Vomiting causes immense pressure on the abdomen, esophagus, and chest. The sudden rise of pressure results in rupturing the GI tract. As a result, the content of the vomitus spills out and triggers intense chest inflammation. Symptoms of GI tract rupture include chest pain, shortness of breath and sweating.
Cirrhosis results from persistent alcohol consumption or autoimmune diseases like hemochromatosis. Cirrhosis leads to blood pressure spikes, and the blood vessels begin to dilate. It affects the esophagus, and internal blood vessels become prone to ruptures. Symptoms of cirrhosis include vomiting huge amounts of bright red blood and weakness.
Some of the other minor conditions that can lead to blood in the vomit include:
- Tear in the esophagus due to chronic coughing.
- Stomach ulcers
- Erosion of the stomach lining (2).
Color Of The Blood Vomit:
- When the bleeding occurs from any part of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the color of the blood in vomit appears red and fresh.
- The blood vomit appears maroon or dark brown when the injury occurs in the stomach or duodenum.
- In general, the blood vomit during pregnancy resembles something like ground black coffee. When the vomit forcibly occurs from the jejunum or proximal parts of the small intestine, it appears like ground black coffee.
Symptoms Of Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
Here are some of the common symptoms that you may experience along with vomiting blood during pregnancy:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal discomfort.
- Vomiting stomach contents.
- Vomiting blood indicates serious medical emergency during pregnancy. Seek medical help immediately, if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Rapid heartbeat
- Cold skin
- Breathing issues
- Vomiting blood after an injury.
- Severe abdominal pain
- Clammy Skin (3).
Diagnosing Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
Many complications and conditions can lead to blood in your vomit during pregnancy. For the initial stage of diagnosis, the doctor inquires about the symptom and color of your vomit. The doctor also asks about your past or recent accidental injuries.
For diagnosing internal hemorrhages or presence of stomach ulcers, the doctor conducts several imaging tests to look vividly into your body. Imaging scans efficiently reveals any abnormal growth in your body.Some of the most common imaging tests suggested by the gynecologist include:
- CT scan (computed tomography scan).
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
- Nuclear medicine scan.
- Endoscopy (Inserts a tube through the mouth to capture the image of the stomach and intestines).
- The doctor may also perform an upper endoscopy to look for blood in your upper intestinal region. During the diagnosis, the doctor inserts a small and flexible tube through your mouth or nostril. A fiber optic camera helps the doctor to view the contents of the stomach and intestine clearly.
- For further diagnosis, a blood test examines your total blood count and helps in assessing the total amount of blood loss.
- Doctors use a small lighted tube, which enters through the mouth into the esophagus, duodenum, and stomach. The Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) test diagnoses esophagus-Weiss tear that occurs due to forceful vomiting.
Complications Of Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
Some of the complications that result out of vomiting blood during pregnancy are:
It is one of the common discomforts felt after constant vomiting or a blood vomit. You may face difficulties while swallowing your food.
Due to loss of blood from your body, it triggers to deficiency of healthy red blood cells. You may suffer from anemia and loss of energy. To restore blood loss, you need to intake healthy and nutritious foods.
Vomiting blood during pregnancy often makes you feel depressed. Stress or depression can lead to adverse effects during pregnancy, and further complicate your condition. Some of these complications include:
- Rapid breathing.
- Cold and pale skin.
- Dizziness upon standing.
- Low urine output.
If you are suffering from such a condition, seek medical help immediately. Prolonged breathing disorder or stress leads to a decrease in blood pressure levels, which can impose threatening impacts on your health conditions.
[ Read: Anemia During Pregnancy ]
Treating Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
When huge amount of blood loss occurs due to vomiting blood during pregnancy, you may have to go through the following treatments:
- Blood transfusions.
- Medications to lower production of stomach acid.
- Administration of oxygen.
- EGD treatment with use of laser to stop internal bleeding.
- Ejection of fluids through veins.
- For severe internal hemorrhage or ulcer, the doctor may suggest a surgical procedure (4).
[ Read: Aspirin During Pregnancy ]
Preventing Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
Here we look at some preventive measures for blood vomiting during pregnancy:
- Avoid intake of alcohol, as it causes stomach inflammation.
- Stop smoking
- Avoid spicy foods that irritate the stomach or cause acid reflux during pregnancy.
[ Read: Heartburn During Pregnancy ]
- Limit aspirin intake and take professional guidance about every medication.
- Stay vigilant after surgery or recent accidental injuries.
While these tips can help you avoid GI tract bleeding, you can avoid vomiting blood. Additionally you should also remember to visit the doctor regularly, drink plenty of water, follow a healthy diet, maintain a proper body weight and exercise regularly.
Home Remedies For Vomiting Blood During Pregnancy
Vomiting blood during pregnancy clearly indicates that you need to stay under strict medical supervision. Loss of blood makes your body weak, which is not all good for your baby’s health. Moreover, a bloody vomit also leaves an unpleasant feeling in your mouth.
Let us look at, few helpful home remedies that help your recover from the nauseous state in pregnancy:
1. Saline Water:
After recurrent vomiting, your body suffers from a deficiency of body fluids or severe dehydration. Pregnancy is a delicate phase when you need to stay hydrated to overcome pregnancy complexities. In case of severe dehydration or loss of blood, you may have to get admitted to the hospital. Through intravenous salines, your body acquires all the body fluids and supplements and recovers easily.
2. Fruit Juice:
One of the helpful home remedies that can help you recover from severe dehydration is a regular intake of water and fruit juices. Alternatively, you can also have electrolyte solutions.
3. Well-Balanced Diet:
It is important to follow a well-balanced diet plan during pregnancy. Such food provides right amounts of vital nutrients and minerals and keeps you healthy. Moreover, the well-balanced and healthy diet plan provides the optimum amount of energy.
[ Read: Healthy Juices During Pregnancy ]
4. Eating Light Food:
Feeling nauseated and a tendency to throw up mostly occurs when your wake up in the morning. Avoid such unpleasant sensations, by eating toast or crackers in the morning. It offers you some energy and won’t make you feel nauseous.
5. Hydrate Your Body:
Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water and fresh fruit juices to avoid severe dehydration and recover from a bloody vomit.
6. Eat Less:
Don’t gorge on food. Doctors suggest that a small portion at 2-hour intervals is the best way to go about it. So, avoid eating large quantities of food, especially before sleeping.
7. Avoid Oily Food:
Stay away from fatty or spicy foods that trigger bouts of vomit during pregnancy. It is better to have boiled and low spicy foods.
Ginger helps to reduce the nauseated feeling during pregnancy. You can take ginger along with your fruit juices.
[ Read: Ginger During Pregnancy ]
9. Prenatal Yoga:
Practicing light exercises or prenatal yoga keeps you fit and avoid nausea.
10. Keep Windows Open:
Don’t sleep in a suffocating room. Keep the windows open, so that you can breathe fresh air all the night and feel comfortable.
11. Take Rest:
Lastly; remember to take as much rest you can. Avoid any stress and take enough rest to help your fetus grow well.
Instead of taking risks, it is better to follow your doctor’s advice to overcome vomiting blood clots during pregnancy. Try to follow these effective home remedies, instead of taking antibiotics that you should avoid mostly during pregnancy.
Did you experience blood in your vomit during pregnancy? Share your experiences with other would-be mommies here!
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