Subchorionic Hematoma: A Guide for Expectant Mothers


As a fertility specialist, I have the privilege of guiding countless women on their journeys to motherhood. One common concern that arises during pregnancy is the presence of a subchorionic hematoma. While the term may sound alarming, understanding its nature and management can alleviate anxiety and empower expectant mothers to navigate this experience with confidence.

What is a Subchorionic Hematoma?

A subchorionic hematoma is a collection of blood that forms between the amniotic sac, which houses the developing fetus, and the uterine wall. It essentially resembles a small bruise and is often discovered incidentally during routine prenatal ultrasounds.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

Subchorionic hematomas are relatively common, affecting approximately 1 in 50 pregnancies. While the exact cause remains unclear, certain factors may increase the risk, such as:

Prior miscarriage
Invasive prenatal procedures like chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis
Multiple pregnancies
Maternal age over 35
Preexisting uterine fibroids, uterus structural abnormalities

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The majority of subchorionic hematomas are asymptomatic and resolve spontaneously without any impact on the pregnancy. However, some women may experience:

Vaginal spotting or light bleeding, typically dark red or brown in color
Abdominal cramping or pelvic discomfort
If you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy, it is crucial to promptly consult your healthcare provider. Early diagnosis through ultrasound examination allows for appropriate monitoring and management.

Management and Prognosis

In most cases, subchorionic hematomas do not require specific treatment. Your doctor will likely recommend:

Pelvic rest, avoiding strenuous activity and sexual intercourse
Adequate hydration and rest
Close monitoring with regular prenatal checkups and ultrasounds to track the hematoma's progression.

Some sources suggest vaginal progesterone supplementation for patients with vaginal bleeding in the first trimester; however, this has not been shown to increase live birth rates, and its routine use is not recommended.

In a mother that is stable with a stable fetus, with no evidence of a large volume of blood loss, conservative management with follow-up ultrasound evaluation is adequate. 

The good news is that the majority of subchorionic hematomas resolve on their own within the first trimester, posing no long-term threat to the pregnancy. However, in rare instances, larger hematomas or those associated with persistent bleeding may warrant additional interventions, such as bed rest or hospitalization.

Living with a Subchorionic Hematoma

While a subchorionic hematoma diagnosis can be unsettling, it's important to remember that with proper medical care and guidance, most pregnancies progress uneventfully. 25% of subchorionic hematomas and vaginal bleeding during pregnancy are related to early pregnancy loss.

Here are some tips for managing the emotional and physical aspects of this experience:

Seek support: Surround yourself with loved ones and consider joining support groups for pregnant women facing similar challenges.
Prioritize self-care: Listen to your body, get adequate rest, and practice relaxation techniques to manage anxiety.
Communicate openly with your doctor: Ask questions, express your concerns, and actively participate in your prenatal care.

A subchorionic hematoma may bring unexpected concerns during pregnancy. However, armed with knowledge and the support of your healthcare team, you can navigate this experience with confidence and optimism. Remember, most subchorionic hematomas resolve naturally, and the vast majority of pregnancies proceed to deliver healthy babies. By prioritizing self-care, open communication, and trust in your medical team, you can focus on the joy of expecting motherhood despite this temporary hurdle.

Additional Resources:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
March of Dimes:
National Institutes of Health: