Written by Editorial Team
We all are used to the monthly bleeding that occurs during our menstrual cycle, and recognize the intensity of the bleeding as well its associated indicators. However, if you suddenly notice light bleeding or spotting before your period is supposed to start, it can cause some concern; more so, if you’ve been trying to conceive. But despair not – there may be another reason for this bleeding. It could well be implantation bleeding.
When a fertilized egg (zygote) attaches to the lining of your uterus, implantation bleeding occurs. Occasionally, implantation bleeding does not occur or is not noticed by everyone. Implantation bleeding is sometimes mistaken for a light period. In this case, you may not realize that you’re pregnant. When calculating a baby’s due date, this can lead to mistakes. Typically performed in the first trimester of pregnancy, fetal ultrasounds can provide accurate information about the due date.
In This Article
Implantation bleeding is a small amount of bleeding or spotting that occurs when the fertilized egg burrows into the wall of the uterus. By definition, it is an extremely small amount of bleeding, very close to spotting, that occurs usually during implantation since the fertilized egg implants itself to the linings of the uterus. The timeline is shortly before the next menstruation cycle and is often mistaken for a regular period.
When a mature female egg is fertilized by a male sperm cell, it goes and attaches itself to the thickened lining of the uterus. Pregnancy occurs and the fertilized egg grows into a baby. This attachment of the fertilized egg (or embryo) to the uterus lining is called implantation. It takes place about 7-9 days after ovulation and around 6-12 days after conception.
The movement of the egg during implantation may cause some blood vessels in the uterus to rupture, which then leads to light bleeding or spotting. The bleeding takes place only while the egg is attaching itself to the uterine wall. The cervix is still open and the blood passes out of the vagina. This is known as implantation bleeding and is quite normal and common. Around 30-33% of the women experience it. Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy, and should not be confused with menstrual bleeding.
In some cases, implantation bleeding produces an unusual discharge that varies in color from pink to very dark brown or black. On the other hand, extended bleeding could be a reason for concern, and you need to consult your doctor in such cases. During implantation, bleeding and discharge usually last for no more than 48 hours.
Similarly, you must also watch out for other symptoms of early pregnancy and monitor their acuteness.
Here are some signs of implantation bleeding.
Periods and implantation both cause cramps, but menstruation cramps are more intense. You may also experience cramps that feel like your period is starting. It’s important to contact your healthcare provider if the cramps affect only one side of the body or are severe. This may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or other complications.
Pregnant women often experience breast pain as soon as one to two weeks after conception. Hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy commonly lead to tender and swollen breasts.
The urge to urinate frequently is a common symptom. As the baby takes more space inside your body, it puts pressure in your bladder – the bladder then needs to be emptied more often.
Early pregnancy hot flashes are due to the fact that those hormone levels change rapidly during that time. Estrogen and progesterone are the main culprits.
Hormonal changes in the body play havoc with your emotions and moods. Women who are expecting may experience jovial moments and periods of sadness. It is possible to get mad over the tiniest problem or to laugh uncontrollably over something ridiculous.
From the initial stages of pregnancy onwards, Food can create complications. Women may begin to crave certain foods or feel constantly hungry. Early on in pregnancy, some foods and flavors might seem delightful, but others may seem unpleasant. During early pregnancy, you may develop food aversions that make you dislike things you had previously enjoyed.
Cervical mucus may change in color and consistency in the first few weeks of pregnancy. The mucus may appear sticky, white, or yellow. This is called leucorrhea. As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience changes in your vaginal discharge.
Feeling very tired is normal in pregnancy, starting early on. It is one of the first signs of pregnancy. But in case the nausea is too severe, you should ask the doctor for tips on managing it.
Implantation bleeding differs from a normal period in many ways. Firstly, the color is not fully red, it may vary from pinkish to dark brown. This latter might look like the blood, which is aged, in comparison to fresh blood, which is bright red in color. Secondly, the flow will be much less like it occurs during the period and also, won’t last long more than a day or two.
Here is how you can distinguish implantation bleeding from menstruation:
A woman with a regular menstruation cycle of 28 days would have her ovulation occurring between 12-14 days of the cycle. At that time, the egg is released from the ovary that travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus which might get fertilized with sperms and the fertilized egg now needs to attach itself into the uterus wall, so that pregnancy can carry forward for the next nine months.
This occurs around 6 to 12 days after fertilization and it is around this time, when a few blood vessels present in the linings of the uterus may get ruptured and thus light spotting occurs. To follow the timeline, bleeding occurs just a few days before the next due period date, and of course, before a woman undergoes a pregnancy test. Many women, without knowing them being pregnant, feel this to be an “early period”.
As mentioned, if ovulation occurs on day 14 of the menstruation cycle, then implantation will occur from 6-12 days after that. The bleeding may start immediately or maybe a few hours or days after that. Women with a variable menstruation cycle might discover the days to be slightly different but the timing of the process revolves around the same time more or less.
[Read : Important Facts About Ovulation]
The darkness of blood in case of implantation bleeding can vary from dark brown to dark black which varies widely from woman to woman as well as whether they are pregnant for the first or second time. It is definitely not bright red, which signifies period blood but can sometimes be very dark red as well.
Many women find it difficult to differentiate between initiation of period spotting and implantation bleeding. This happens in cases where the menstruation cycle is not 28 days in women, which varies due to various reasons like age, any gynecological problems or due to external stimuli like medicines etc. So, if you are finding spots a few days before your period is due, you must wait for a few more days and get a pregnancy test done. This will ensure whether you are about to get your periods within a few days or about to enter into the most beautiful phase in your life – motherhood
There is no hard and fast rule as to how many days the bleeding will last. Few women have mentioned that it lasts for a few hours and in some cases, it might last up to 2 to 3 days. It also differs from woman to woman if they are currently going through their first pregnancy. In this case, light spotting lasts for longer than in women who have conceived for the second or third time.
In the majority of cases, bleeding is a much lighter inflow and will stay like that for the entire duration, unlike the normal menstruation cycle which starts with a lighter flow but gets heavy with time. If you are having this bleeding, it will also not cause any blood clots like in normal periods. Women have also come up with experiences where the implantation bleeding is nothing more than a spot that has gone off within a few hours as well.
Most women go through this bleeding during their pregnancy with mild symptoms. But if you observe that any of them are too severe and difficult to manage, get your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) to check them out. Too severe nausea or cramping may hinder the normal growth of the baby and would need to be managed through medication or other means. Your doctor is the best person to help you out in such a case.
The bleeding after an implant is mostly watery in appearance.
An implantation bleeding color is more likely to be pinksh-brown.
In most cases, bleeding is quite light. It might warrant wearing a pantyliner, but not enough to soak a tampon or other feminine hygiene item.
You need time for your body to produce detectable HCG levels in order to detect pregnancy. The process typically takes seven to 12 days following the successful implantation of an egg. Taking the test too early in your cycle may result in inaccurate results.
Read Also: Why Does Implantation Bleeding Happen?
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