Any episode of vaginal bleeding or spotting during a pregnancy can be concerning, and while we encourage you to contact your IVF nurse coordinator or your OBGYN anytime you do experience bleeding in pregnancy, know that this is a very common occurrence in not only surrogacy but in any IVF pregnancy.
What Causes Bleeding in IVF Pregnancies?
Just like any other pregnancy, there can be many causes for bleeding in a surrogate pregnancy such as: cervix irritation, implantation bleeding, or leftover/trapped blood from your previous menstrual cycle. However, there is one major culprit that can cause episodes of heavy bleeding and/or cramping in IVF pregnancies, and that culprit is known as a subchorionic hematoma (also called subchorionic hemorrhage or subchorionic bleeding).
What is a Subchorionic Hematoma?
A subchorionic hematoma, or an SCH, is when blood forms between the wall of your uterus and the chorionic membrane during pregnancy.
Basically, it is a sac of blood that varies widely in size that is stationed between your uterus and the amniotic sac. According to the government national library of medicine, a SCH happens in about 22.4% of IVF pregnancies and about 11% of natural pregnancies. Basically, they are extremely common and seen even more often in IVF pregnancies. The increase in SCHs seen in IVF pregnancies appear to be linked to the higher levels of estrogen required for an IVF medication protocol as well as the increased ultrasound monitoring associated with an IVF protocol.
Does a SCH Pose a Risk to My Pregnancy?
While having an episode of bleeding and cramping during pregnancy can be disturbing and frightening, a subchorionic hematoma “does not carry with it an increased rate of (miscarriage) or other adverse fetal outcome,” according to fertstert.org.
Will a SCH Ever Go Away?
Just because a SCH is not dangerous to a pregnancy does not mean you will not feel anxiety and fear surround the situation. Know that with GSHC Surrogacy Agency, we are with you through every step and every bump in the road of this journey, and you will not go through this alone. You will have our full and total support, and you can absolutely lean on your case manager for any support that you may need. In fact, since all of us at GSHC have been surrogates (many of us more than once), we ourselves have experience subchorionic hematoma and can understand your fear first-hand. We will hold your hand and guide you through the whole process until the SCH resolves itself, as it often does and only requires time to heal. According to ClevelandClinic.org, the most common treatment plans for a SCH are:
- Reduction in activities like exercise and lifting heavy objects.
- Complete bed rest.
- Avoiding sex.
- Follow-up ultrasounds to assess the size of the hematoma.
If you have any concerns regarding bleeding in pregnancy, GSHC urges you to contact your healthcare professional as well as your case manager.