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Subchorionic Hemorrhage/Hematoma/Bleeding aka SCH (My Pregnancy Scare)

My biggest pregnancy scare so far was the subchorionic hemorrhage (or subchorionic hematoma) that I dealt with during my first trimester and the significant spotting due to it. 

What is Subchorionic Hemorrhage or Subchorionic Bleeding?

Blood collected between chorion and uterine wall. Usually can monitor with ultrasounds q1-2 weeks depending on active bleeding. Most resorb independently. Source

Also know as SCH, Subchorionic Hemorrhage/Hematoma is, in layman’s terms, bleeding in the uterus, between the placenta and the uterine lining, and can happen at any time during the pregnancy. Nearly 25% of women experience vaginal bleeding in the first trimester, but only about 1% of pregnancy have a subchorionic bleed. That said, once I told people I had one, I heard story after story of others with the same experience! SCH is the most common sonographic abnormality in the presence of a live embryo. 

What are the Symptoms of Subchorionic Hemorrhage or Hematoma?

Most commonly, vaginal bleeding, but cramping can also result. But often, you might have a SCH and have no symptoms or idea! Spotting may be red (new blood) or brown (old blood), and may vary in intensity.

Causes of Subchorionic Hemorrhage?

From my research, there does not seem to be an explicit cause of subchorionic hemorrhage. Thoughts are that it can happen during egg implantation (natural or medical). 

Risks of Subchorionic Hemorrhage? 

Women with an SCH do have a slightly elevated risk of miscarriage and preterm labor, but percentage increase depends on your pregnancy history, the volume/size of the subchorionic bleed within the uterus, age, and any other risks your doctor may inform you of. I think my risk of miscarriage increased by 2%?

Subchorionic Hemorrhage Treatment?

The majority of subchorionic bleeds resolve on their own. In my research, I saw that staying low and doing as much as possible to decrease stress would also decrease the risk of miscarriage and help the bleed resolve. I was “prescribed” pelvic rest–essentially, no high impact movements, no sex, and just staying quiet. 

My Subchorionic Hemorrhage Story

Dealing with Subchorionic Hemorrhage: My Pregnancy Scare @Suzlyfe

Ok, so I want to take you through my experience. Remember, everyone is different, and even if you have the exact same symptoms as myself, the outcome may be different. If you have any concerns, consult your doctors! They will understand!

We had our first ultrasound Thursday 6/22, and it was at that time that the doctor first noted the subchorionic bleed. He recommended that I stick to my walking rather than going back to running, etc, but that I could start having sex again, etc (I had been abstinent since the transfer on the recommendation of the doctors). That night (sorry, babe) the hubs and I did our thing for the first time in 3 or 4 weeks. (I am telling you this simply because it is important for my state of mind and also might explain the results of the next 48 hours).

The next day (Friday), I had some morning spotting, and I emailed my doctors, who assured me that as long as it was light, it was perfectly normal (and also to be expected after having sex for the first time in a long time. That afternoon, I had some cramping in the lower middle of my abdomen, a sensation that I had maybe once in the preceding weeks. But this was a bit worse–but still not terrible. Like a 3 out of 10 on the Suz pain scale (so maybe a 4 for most people? Remember, I have a totally skewed pain scale). It was tight and aching and just a bit sharp. But after consulting with the doctors, I went to bed feeling ok about the whole thing. 

The next morning, I woke up and headed downtown with Alex–who I took to the hospital, where he was working as an attending that weekend–and I went to coaching. Due to scheduling and site issues, it ended up just being the coaches and the endurance manager, and so we were just standing around chatting. All of the sudden, I could feel that I was discharging something. You know the feeling when you unexpectedly get a visit from Aunt Flow? Exactly like that. I knew that it wasn’t just light spotting and it was vaginal discharge. I knew that this was different. 

I excused myself as quickly as I could and jumped in my car, where I checked my underwear as inconspicuously as possible. Blood. Bright red blood. And a decent amount of  it. I immediately felt my heart and stomach fall, the tears started coming, and I called Alex with an SOS. I told him that I was going to our fertility clinic, which is part of Northwestern, and which I knew would be open and doing ultrasounds because I have been there early Saturday mornings for just that! Alex said he would meet me, and I was sobbing as I hightailed it to the hospital. I was convinced that all was over.

Alex met me at my doctor’s office (thank goodness he was working as an attending that weekend), and we went and talked to the front desk. It was still a little bit before the clinic officially opened to see the morning ultrasounds and labs, so I wasn’t sure if we would have to wait or what would happen. But they said that I would be seen by a fellow (like what Alex is now), rather than one of the of the ultrasound techs. Either way, I would be seen ASAP.

Alex and I went into the bathroom to survey the damage. There was more blood and large clots present in my underwear. I wear a panty liner every day of my life (for multiple reasons), so luckily I dind’t have to worry about my underwear. Honestly, that was a comfort. 

We went back in and sat in the corner and held each other’s hand and just tried not to think about what might be going on. About 3-5 minutes later, they took us back, and a minute later, the fellow came in. (Fortunately, she was someone Alex knew!).

First thing out of her mouth was, “I have good news.”

Baby was ok. The hematoma had grown a little bit, and thus the attending doctor recommended that I stay low for the next few days and that we cancel our travel plans. The short version of the rest of the story is that Alex took me back to his office (he was still technically chief resident), and I stayed there while he went to do rounds with the team (which they had delayed while he and I went to deal with our situation). 

I experienced a little bit more spotting that day (just a few drops) and the next, and a little bit of brown spotting that Monday, but then nothing else. I had no more cramping, either. That Saturday morning seems to have been the climax of the situation. I went for a walk with Alex and the dog Sunday, and increased my walking over the next few days back to my normal amount. 

The emotions of what we experienced are another story, for another day, but I wanted to share with you the physical aspect of my pregnancy scare!

Subschorionic hemorrhage: what it is + Suz's experience with this #pregnancy scare Click To Tweet

I hope that this helps explain a bit more about my pregnancy scare and what subchorionic hemorrhage aka hematoma is. Please remember that I am NOT an expert, and just because my scare resolved, if you are having any anxiety or your own pregnancy scare, talk to your doctor!

Have you dealt with pregnancy spotting or subchorionic hemorrhage?

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  • Reply Laura

    Oh wow- so scary!! What a relief to get that good news! I had one miscarriage and then my second pregnancy I worried about bleeding but thankfully never had any other issues. I’m so glad you’re safely in the 2nd trimester!

    August 1, 2017 at 6:15 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! But I’m still so paranoid!

      August 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Christina @

    That must have been so, so scary! I had just normal spotting when I was pregnant and was pretty convinced it was all over. I mostly loved being pregnant, but was so stressed about everything being okay. I’m so glad you got seen quickly and that it was all okay!

    August 1, 2017 at 6:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I was super stressed in the beginning, and now I’m starting to enjoy it in earnest

      August 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I think I shared with you that I had this with both pregnancies and it was really scary. Especially since I experienced it with a previous pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. No pregnant woman wants to see blood, and for those of us who worked really hard to get there, it’s incredibly frightening. I’m so glad everything is ok!

    August 1, 2017 at 6:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Wendy, and thank you so much for sharing! That is just terrifying!

      August 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply Jamie@TheMomGene

    Too long a story to tell here, but I had two SCH with the twins (one on each sac)…that was a loooonnnnggggg pregnancy.

    August 1, 2017 at 7:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh. My. Goodness. That just isn’t fair.

      August 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm
  • Reply Sarah Rosenblatt

    What a horrifying ordeal to go through. I’m so glad both you and Yoshi are alright! <3

    August 1, 2017 at 7:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad you got to see both of us!

      August 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm
  • Reply Rae

    I can’t imagine how scary and stressful this must have been, and I’m SO SO glad everything turned out ok. <3

    August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ugh, me too, Rae. Thank you, dear!

      August 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Glad you and Yoshi are ok!!!

    August 1, 2017 at 7:52 am
  • Reply Suzy

    Yes, you know I have! And my story was extreme. I was 12 weeks pregnant, watching my son’s soccer game and I started bleeding heavily, soaking my shorts, my shoes, and the grass/dirt below me. I dropped to my seat and someone phoned 9-1-1, an ambulance took me and Freddy and Andrew to the ER, the dr told us we were losing the baby, my uterus was contracting and I continued to soak the sheets. Finally the bleeding settled down a bit and my OBGYN came in and told us that the baby was doing great, and that the bleed was out, there was another hematoma building up but that it can be re-absorbed by my body or bleed out later (it bled out several weeks later). Happy ending, is that Callum is now a VERY ACTIVE 3 year old. 🙂 Hope my story helps someone else!

    August 1, 2017 at 8:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I remember when you told me that story… I just can’t even imagine. Your body likes to scare you! But you have that crazy little Callum, and what a gift he is!

      August 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply jennifer

    I know how scary this is, take care of yourself. I had one bad experience, and then a significant amount of spotting with all three of my good pregnancies (I was told low progesterone, which has been problem my whole life) and it was so stressful . . you know that stress does not help. But those three babies were all born big (errr, huge) and healthy!

    August 1, 2017 at 8:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha and you are so tiny!

      August 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I have actually…I have had 5 miscarriages so I can empathize with the scary feeling. I would recommend abstinence (sorry Alex) and really laying low. As hard as it is to give up running/sex/activity it’s SO worth it in the end. I am glad everything is ok!!

    August 1, 2017 at 8:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We definitely gave up all of those things and laid low indeed. I would rather him be a bit sexually frustrated and have a kiddo in the end! I am so, so sorry for your miscarriages… but you have two of the most beautiful girls!1

      August 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply lindsay Cotter

    oh man, i would have freaked! But thank you for sharing this. And glad you and the baby are ok!! Lots of rest and lots of hugs from me.

    August 1, 2017 at 8:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hugs received. And rest day today!

      August 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner

    That is really scary! I know absolutely nothing (like, less than nothing, it is actually embarrassing) about pregnancy and babies, so this is all news to me. I’m glad everything worked out ok!

    August 1, 2017 at 8:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know very little as well (still!) so this was all news to me as well! I had no idea there were different types of spotting!

      August 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Cora

    This must have been so, so scary Suz. Oh my gosh. My heart was racing for you as I read this.
    I’m so thankful you and everyone were okay <3 <3

    August 1, 2017 at 8:49 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      My heart was starting to get all upset as I was rewriting it, even though I am now thoroughly removed from it! Just not something I ever want to repeat.

      August 6, 2017 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    That is so scary! I am so glad that you and Yoshi are both okay. Keeping you in my prayers that your pregnancy continues to be safe and healthy!

    August 1, 2017 at 9:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Laura! You know how much I appreciate you doing so!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Lindsey @ livinglovingrunner

    I was a runner before I found out I was pregnant and I was told that I could keep running when I found out I was pregnant. Within a week, I started having bright red spotting after my run. Cue crazy anxiety! We weren’t trying to get pregnant…but we weren’t trying not to…and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get pregnant so soon after having a LEEP procedure. I called the doctor and they had me come in – there were all kinds of words tossed in the air over the phone with the nurse; atopic or tubal pregnancy, miscarriage, cancer…nothing positive! I went in for a sonogram and the tech didn’t help much, but the follow up with my OB put my nerves at ease. Perfectly normal pregnancy, random spotting can happen, blah blah blah… The stress over this one situation kept me from running the rest of my pregnancy – no one needs that stress! I walked miles and miles through my pregnancy though!

    I am so excited that you are pregnant!! Your journey is one that I have been following and I am so excited to see how you embrace this new chapter in your lives!! <3

    August 1, 2017 at 11:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ugh Lindsey!!! That is just the worst!!! I am so sorry that you had to go through that. SO sorry. Thank you so much for following my story and sharing your own!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:23 am
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    I cannot even imagine. I’m so glad you and the baby are okay!!! Can’t you do anything the easy way? 😉

    August 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Nope. We already tried that and were denied.

      August 6, 2017 at 9:21 am
  • Reply Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups

    What a scary experience! I am so glad you and the babes were okay. Thank you for sharing your story.

    August 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for reading, Emily!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:21 am
  • Reply Farrah

    I feel like I’ve been MIA from your life for ages, and I’m so sorry I missed all of this! I’m so glad that you and the baby are both okay! I have a few maternity care patients that I picked up this year and I worry for/with them whenever I see a note that they called in. Sending you all my good thoughts + love and hugs! <3!

    August 1, 2017 at 10:53 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Farrah! I know you understand the terror–from a medical perspective!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    Breathing is a normal involuntary action for most of us…..until your daughter calls you and you hear that little voice that is choked with tears…..
    Enter Mommy and Susie.

    Breathing is recommended for us to do…..until your daughter who is a fertility warrior and is on the fertility journey calls you, with a trembling voice……
    And you ARE Suzlyfe’s mommy, Clare

    Breathing becomes a goal and an art……
    When you are Suzlyfe’s mommy, Clare

    Breathing also helps keep you sane, and is good for you, and it works!
    Suzlyfe’s mommy, Clare

    August 2, 2017 at 6:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      LOVE YOU. It was a crazy day. So, so thankful for you.

      August 6, 2017 at 9:20 am
  • Reply San

    Oh man, I guess you can’t do anything without turning it into a bit of a rollercoaster ride, can you? This must have been to scary!! I am so, so, so relieved it turned outyou and the baby are ok!!! <3 Thanks for sharing.

    August 2, 2017 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    I never heard of this before. So glad everything turned out ok for you. I can only imagine how scary it must have been!

    August 2, 2017 at 3:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We totally thought it was all over.

      August 6, 2017 at 9:17 am
  • Reply Jess

    I’ve never heard of this. SO glad baby is okay!! And congrats momma! Somehow I missed your pregnancy?!? I’m 18 weeks pregnant and kinda getting back to life. I had a series of ridiculously fatigued weeks…

    August 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hear you there. I was pretty fatigued the first trimester, actually. Now I’m a bit better, but it comes in waves!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:17 am
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    I cannot imagine how worried you were – but I am so glad everything was okay! I’m praying for you guys for the rest of this pregnancy. Team yoshi!!!!

    August 6, 2017 at 4:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Kristy!!

      August 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

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