Implantation Bleeding or Period?

If you’re trying to conceive, and start what appears to be a normal period, you may be disappointed that your efforts to become pregnant have apparently not succeeded. However, the symptoms for implantation bleeding are quite similar to those of a period. It’s important to know which one you’re facing. This article helps you to understand implantation bleeding and what its colors and symptoms mean to you.

What is implantation bleeding?

It’s easy to mistake implantation bleeding for a regular period, particularly if you have been trying to become pregnant. Even if you haven’t been actively attempting to become pregnant, but you still miss a period, you may worry whether your symptoms are due to implantation bleeding or your period. It can confuse you, and worry you, since implantation bleeding is an early pregnancy sign.

If you have irregular periods anyway, it’s very easy to think that actual implantation bleeding is simply a period. If your menstrual cycles are often irregular, you may not have an amount of flow that could be considered regular. Some months are heavier, and this can cause worry about whether you are pregnant or not.

The timing of implantation bleeding causes more confusion. Normal periods occur two weeks after you have ovulated. Since the majority of women conceive during their ovulation week, implantation occurs between 10 days and two weeks after you ovulate. This means that ovulation bleeding coincides with the normal start time of your period.

Does every pregnant woman experience implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is an early pregnancy sign. You may or may not experience it if you are pregnant. During this time, the egg, which is now fertilized, has gone through the fallopian tubes and into your uterus. It will embed itself completely in your uterine lining.

Due to the complexity of conception rates and successful pregnancies, only about half of these fertilized eggs will successfully implant themselves in the lining of the uterus. If one fails, it will be shed by the body, along with the accompanying uterine tissue, causing an early miscarriage.

These are not typically as traumatic as late-term miscarriages, because many women at this stage don’t even know they’re pregnant. The resulting bleeding will appear just like a typical period.

If that fertilized egg does embed itself into the lining of your uterus, you could have light bleeding, also called staining or spotting. That is part of implantation bleeding.

About one-quarter of women who become pregnant will experience this bleeding and additional light bleeding during the early weeks of pregnancy. Most women will be fine, and their babies can be carried full-term.

How long does implantation bleeding last?

Most women who have implantation bleeding notice a light bleeding for just a couple of days, similar to the last day or two of their normal period. But there is no strict rule about how long that bleeding can last. Every woman is unique, and so is her pregnancy.



Implantation bleeding may last just a few hours, and then be finished. Or you may have spotting just intermittently for a few days. Some women report heavy implantation bleeding that lasts four days, or nearly the same length of time as a normal period.

If you worry that you may be pregnant, purchase and use a home pregnancy test. The length of time for implantation bleeding is different for each woman, and it’s impossible to judge whether you are pregnant or not just by the number of days you experience the bleeding. Implantation does stop all by itself, just as normal periods do.

Could you be pregnant?

If you are experiencing bleeding, is it from implantation or your period? If you are active sexually and do not use protection when you have sex, assume that you may be pregnant.

If you believe that the bleeding or spotting might be implantation bleeding, there are some questions you can ask yourself, which will clarify your concerns.

• What color is your bleeding?

• How heavy is the flow?

• Does the bleeding follow a pattern? Is it continuous or intermittent?

You are likely having implantation bleeding, as opposed to a normal period, if the following symptoms occur:

• The flow is spotty, light and intermittent.

• The bleeding is not continuous, as it would be with a period.

• You note blood if you wipe, but it does not gush.

• The blood you do see is brownish to pinkish.

• It is not as heavy as your normal periods.

• The pattern isn’t like a regular period. In a normal menstrual period, the flow will be light at first, then get heavier, before becoming light again at the end of the period.

• You note bleeding several days or even a week before you expect your next period. Implantation sometimes occurs before your normal period would start.

If you have always had regular periods, and now you have light bleeding or spotting, use a home pregnancy test to see if you’re pregnant.

You are likely having a period, rather than implantation bleeding, if these symptoms occur:

• You are having a normal flow, like you usually do.

• The bleeding is light in the beginning, then moderate, then heavy, then back to light.

• Your blood is bright red and may have clots in it.

• You may experience menstrual cramps, bloating and backaches.

If you have irregular periods on a routine basis, your periods may be different from these, and it will be harder for you to determine whether you are bleeding due to implantation or your period. Again, a home pregnancy test will let you know if you are pregnant.

Spotting can sometimes be an indicator that your period is nearly over. You may also spot before your period starts, and this makes it even more confusing.

Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding

In addition to the bleeding itself, you may feel cramping, even with implantation bleeding. The cramps may be somewhat similar to the feeling of menstrual cramps. You can also experience cramping during implantation, even if you’re not bleeding.

The cramps of implantation bleeding occur due to a fertilized egg burrowing and embedding itself into the uterine lining. It may cause contractions in the muscles of the uterus. They may pinch on your nerve endings, which may cause cramping like that during a period, for a day or two, or sometimes a bit longer.

It is not understood why some women have the cramping and bleeding and others do not. It is thought that some women may simply be able to better tolerate pain, while others are more pain-sensitive.
Implantation bleeding may also come with other symptoms of pregnancy, including headaches, emotional changes, mood swings, fatigue or bloating.

The Color of Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding can vary in color from one woman to the next. In most cases, it has a pink tinge. It can, however, be bright red. This signals that it is fresh blood, which has just been shed from the lining of the uterus.

If you experience brownish or light brown blood, it is older than bright red blood. It could have been held within the wall of the uterus after the fertilized egg was buried in the womb, and it is just now being shed.

If your implantation bleeding isn’t profuse or heavy, the color is not that important. You may experience a short time of spotting, and there usually isn’t a lot of discomfort. In case you are pregnant, tell your OB-Gyn about your symptoms and be sure not to miss any prenatal visits, to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing properly.

Can you experience heavy implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is not normally heavy. It is, in fact, nearly always light. When you wipe, you will usually notice it. It shouldn’t be profuse. If it is, that could mean that you are experiencing a miscarriage.

Contact your OB-Gyn to find out why you may be experiencing heavy bleeding. It’s important to check with your physician, to check on the health of your pregnancy. There may be something else that could be causing your heavy bleeding.

In addition to being a miscarriage possibility sign, heavy bleeding may also be a symptom of a tubal or ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when a fertilized egg is implanted in a different body part. This most commonly occurs in the fallopian tubes.

In addition, there is also the possibility of a molar pregnancy. This occurs when there is a missing embryo, but the other tissues still exist. This also causes heavy bleeding.

Reach out to your gynecologist if you have any unexplained bleeding, particularly if you are trying to become pregnant.

Why use home pregnancy tests?

If your periods are routine, with a typical flow, you won’t have much trouble telling that from implantation bleeding. But if you don’t have regular periods, and they tend to be light, it’s important to use a home pregnancy test or call your OB-gyn for a blood test for pregnancy.

The home pregnancy test will help you in determining for yourself if you are pregnant. If you’re not sure about the results, have your gynecologist do a blood test to verify your pregnancy.

Home pregnancy tests are only accurate after you have missed at least the first day of your period. Don’t waste your time and worry yourself by testing any earlier than that. Before your period, there is frequently not sufficient human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) yet in your bloodstream.

This hormone enters the blood before it can be traced in the urine. That’s why blood-testing for pregnancy is more accurate, especially if you’re testing right after a day or two of a missed period.

When you purchase home pregnancy tests, check the sensitivity. This is printed somewhere on the product packaging. The sensitivity levels range from 10-40 mIU/ml. The lower levels mean that a lower concentration of the hCG in your body must be present, for pregnancy to be detected.

Other Early Pregnancy Signs

Besides cramping and implantation spotting, there are other signs you should be aware of that point to pregnancy. They include changes in your breasts. They may become swollen, sensitive or tingly. You may also feel drained and exhausted. The feeling is sometimes compared to PMS symptoms, except this is a lot more intense.

You may feel nausea and experience a frequent need to urinate. In addition, you know your body intimately, and you may just feel like something is “not right”. Trust yourself in these instances. Watch for missed periods, which are, of course, the most obvious early signs that you may be pregnant.

Pregnancy is an individual event, and it’s different for each person. You may experience a few of these symptoms or many, or you may not experience any of them. If you are worried, take a home pregnancy test and contact your gynecologist.

Since this implantation bleeding can be easily confused with your regular period, you may be surprised when you learn from your OB-Gyn that your pregnancy is actually one month further along than you estimated originally.


22 COMMENTS

  1. Okay, I need help. It’s March 7th. Feb I didn’t have a period at all. Just sharp pains in my lower stomach and sometimes on my right side of my belly like closer to the bottom near my pelvic area. And in January I bleed like 3 days but wasn’t normal at all. It was brownish color. Now last night I went to the bathroom and i wiped and it was a little brownish color and this morning nothing just cramps and then same pains in my stomach again. Not the pains I usually get when I’m on my period I usually get back cramps when I’m on my period like really bad ones. I’m scared. I miscarriage a year ago. I’m getting bigger my clothing is getting tighter on me. My breast are sore and my boyfriend has told me he has notice I’ve been very moody at night time when we are laying in bed. I like freak out when I can’t get comfy. Or if my dog won’t stop licking me or lay down and then I freak out. What’s this mean please get back to me. It is worrying me I don’t wanna loose another baby if I am pregnant. Any concerns. I go see my Obgyn in April

    • It is possible that you are experiencing problems with your pregnancy. If you can move your appointment forward, then do so at this time. Do not wait until April to speak with your doctor unless you have to. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having at this time. Best of luck, Girl!

  2. I just started weaning my 20month old at 18 months my periods are regular as of the past 2 months. I started spotting late Saturday night and it never got heavier like it usually does and stopped Monday midday. I didn’t get any PMs symptoms like I normally do. I’m not sure exactly when I was suppose to start but anywhere from Friday to the upcoming Thursday. I am experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms and I have also been a little stressed. I took a pregnancy test that Saturday morning and it was negative. Am I experiencing implantation bleeding and when would be a good time to test again?

    • It is certainly possible that you are experiencing implantation bleeding. Continue to monitor your experiences for additional signs of pregnancy. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. You can confirm the results of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Sierra!

  3. My period is 16 days late. I’ve taken 2 home pregnancy tests and both have come back negative. I’m somewhat irregular, but this seems too long of a time. I have been having unprotected sex for about a month now with my boyfriend. I started bleeding yesterday and assumed it was my period. The bleeding stopped after a few hours and it was extremely light, I only noticed it when I wiped. Is it possible I could be pregnant even with 2 negative tests?

    • It is possible that you experienced implantation bleeding. You should speak with a medical professional as you are two weeks late. It is likely that you are pregnant. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having for signs of pregnancy. Take another pregnancy test in five days, unless you get a confirmation test with a doctor within that time. Best of luck, Mia!

  4. I have irregular periods…had very light bleeding starting in evening of 1/19-1/21-did not need to wear a pad,blood was only on tp. Then it went to clear stringy mucus with pinkish brown flecks…now have EWCM that is a little yellowish….have had mild cramps the whole time…thoughts?

    • It is possible that you were experiencing implantation bleeding. Monitor the experiences that you are having for other signs of pregnancy. You may want to take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period start date. You can confirm the results of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Kb!

  5. hello web H D ,
    is it possible to ovulate right after your period.
    well I had my period dec 25 2016 and stopped jan 1 2017 and ovulated jan 2 2017
    today is jan 19 2017 and started spotting went to by a 5 day sooner test and for my bad luck it said error.
    cramping like crazy and my breast are sooo sore.
    may I mention my period had gone buzzer last year after my miscarriage
    got prego oct 25 2016 and miscarried nov 2 2016 thought I was smart by sticking to my heavy exercise rutine. didn’t get my period tell dec 24ish bleed like crazy the 25th and for 6ish 7 days straight.
    is it normal.?

    • It is possible that you are pregnant. It is possible that you are having an unusual period. Continue to monitor your experiences as you move forward. Since you recently miscarried, you may want to speak with a doctor. If you are pregnant, then do not cause your body any additional stress. Best of luck, Kim!

  6. Hi, I started bleeding on the 21st and it’s now the 29th. I’ve had to change sanitary pads almost every hour – two hours and the bleeding is quite heavy. When I wipe, the blood comes out in brownish clots. The blood is bright red. Is this natural? Should I have stopped bleeding by now? Thank you for your help

    • Continue to monitor your experience. If it continues for another few days or become for intense, then make an appointment with a medical professional for advice. If it is possible that you are pregnant, then take a pregnancy test to better determine your situation. Reduce stress on your life at this time. Best of luck, Courtney!

  7. Can you help me please, i had my ovulation almost 2weeks ago, we went to see a dockter to help me getting pregnant, since today,i started seeing some realy light pinkish color on the toilet paper but it doesn’t show on my underwear. My period was supposed to start tuesday the 29th of last month, so my dockter said that if my period didn’t come till this monday the 5th,then i need to go for a pregnancy blood test. So where i need your help is, a few days ago i had cramps in my pelvic area but it comes and goes, and for 3 days in a row, i felt nausea. The cramps wasn’t like period cramps, i feel very tenderness down there but my breasts isn’t sore yet, i am very tired,my stomach are a little swolen and i am emotional. I am confused wheter it’ my period starting or is it implitation bleeding, i have NO symtoms of a period like i always do. Could you please tell me if it’s my period or implitation bleeding…? We’re trying for 3years for a baby. Thank you for reading

    • It could be PMS symptoms or it could be early pregnancy symptoms. With the stress of trying to conceive, it could be that your period is just late or different this month. The spotting is not heavy enough to be a real period though, so I would still go to the doctor for a blood test unless it suddenly becomes more like your regular menstrual flow. Try to relax, eat healthy and don’t stress too much about what will or will not happen–all you can do right now is wait and see if your period actually starts. Good luck, Yolandi–I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

    • If you are away of the measurement of your lining and corpus luteum, then you have already been speaking with a medical professional. It would be wise of you to speak with you doctor once again about your concerns. Continue to monitor the changes that you are experiencing. Remain positive as you move forward. Have a great week, Nadia!

  8. I have a 35 days cycle period. I am 1 week after the date when I am expecting to have my flow, I had light bleeding- it was pinkish and brownish then red but it did not evolve to the my usual flow. The light bleeding continued for 4 days. I’m concerned if it’s just a light period or implantation bleeding already. Would you know?

    • Since your period occurred at an unusual time, it is possible that you were experiencing early signs of pregnancy and it is also possible that you were having an unusual period. Take this time to continue to monitor the changes and experiences that you are having. Take a pregnancy test in five days as it will help you determine your status. If you want to make an appointment with a doctor, then do so. Reduce stress in your life at this time. Best of luck, Nicole!

  9. I need your help because I’m so confused about implantion bleeding or period. Period Oct 1-7 and had sex on Oct 8th then I noticed spotting on Oct 18th and it was light red color and watery. And it stopped for few hours. Had brownish on 23rd then on Oct 24 we had sex and notice Lil bit of blood then it stopped and its driving me crazy I had dizzy, breast sore, and sleepy before my implantion bleeding started and now I just started my period today for Oct 29 2016. Is something wrong with me do I need to go to see the doctor? Thanks

    • If you started your period, then it is likely that you were having an usual period. Continue to monitor the changes that you are experiencing as you move into the future. This will help you better determine your situation in the following months. It is likely that you are perfectly fine. However if you determine that you want to make an appointment with a medical professional regarding changes in the future, then do so. Continue to remain positive and mindful as you move into the future, Stephanie!

  10. I had period on Oct 1-7 and i had sex on the 8th without protection. I noticed that I was spotting on Oct 18th not sure if its implantion bleeding or my periods. Then on Oct 24 I saw thick brownish and had sex on Oct 24 and start to bleed a lit bit then stopped. Now I just started my period today for Oct 29. Can u tell me what’s wrong with me? Thanks

    • If you started your period, then it is likely that you were having an usual period. Continue to monitor the changes that you are experiencing as you move into the future. This will help you better determine your situation in the following months. It is likely that you are perfectly fine. However if you determine that you want to make an appointment with a medical professional regarding changes in the future, then do so. Continue to remain positive and mindful as you move into the future, Stephanie!

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