What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like on a Pad?

When you are trying to get pregnant, every symptom that you experience can give you false hope. For many women, one of the first signs of pregnancy is implantation bleeding. Only about one out of three women actually experiences implantation bleeding, but this sign is the first one that can possibly occur. Since it can be similar to a menstrual cycle in some ways, it is important to learn how to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and a normal menstrual cycle.

What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like on a Pad?

There are a few ways that you can tell if you are experiencing implantation bleeding. While every woman is different, implantation bleeding will generally be very, very light. It will be like having spotting or a very light period. The blood should not be heavy or dark. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding or clots, you are most likely experiencing your normal period and not implantation bleeding.

To see if you are having implantation bleeding, consider the following factors:

Color: Brown blood occurs when the blood has been in the body for longer before reaching the outside air. Pink blood is when red blood mixes with cervical mucus to appear lighter. In general, implantation bleeding will cause light pink or brown blood.

Flow: The blood flow is the main difference between a period and implantation bleeding. The blood show should be extremely light. There should be any times when the blood flow is heavy or filled with clots. If it is heavy at any point in time, you are just having an early period. The blood flow for implantation bleeding will be light and should only last a few hours or days.

Regularity: When you are undergoing implantation, the blood flow will most likely be off-and-on. It will last for a maximum of two days. If you only have blood flow for a few hours, then you may be experiencing implantation bleeding.

When Can You Expect Implantation Bleeding to Happen?

A number of people who comment on our site ask if they can have implantation bleeding immediately after sexual intercourse. The answer to this question, of course, is no. Implantation happens 6 to 12 days after conception. If you experience bleeding immediately after intercourse, it is from another cause. In addition, you are more likely to get pregnant and not have implantation bleeding because two out of three women do not experience implantation bleeding at all.



If you are experiencing implantation bleeding, it will happen a bit before your period was supposed to start. It will also be 6 to 12 days after you conceived. If you have bleeding that occurs outside of this timeline, then you should go to the doctor. You are either having your normal period, or another medical condition could be causing the bleeding. Reproductive problems like PCOS or vaginal infections can both cause bleeding outside of your normal menstrual cycle. It is important that you get medical help for any of these causes for your own health and the health of any future pregnancy.

Can You Take a Pregnancy Test After Having Implantation Bleeding?

Technically, you can take a pregnancy test any time you want to. It won’t show any results though if your hCG levels are too low. Your hCG levels do not start to increase until after implantation has occurred. You will not have pregnancy symptoms or pregnancy hormones until after implantation. After implantation, wait at least 7 to 10 days before taking a pregnancy test. Otherwise, you may get a false negative because there may not be enough hCG in your body for the test to pick up. HCG levels double every few days in early pregnancy, so you will not have a long time to wait.

When to See a Doctor

Many women experience light implantation bleeding at the start of their pregnancy. While this is a normal symptom, be careful to spot for some of the indications that the bleeding is more than just implantation. Any prolonged, heavy or unusually bright red bleeding is a sign that you may have a threatened miscarriage. If you experience any symptoms that are out of the ordinary, it is important to go to your doctor right away to make sure that your pregnancy is healthy.


2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,

    My cycles are very irregular.

    My previous cycle was 51 days and the most recent one was 32 days.

    When my period started I thought it was as per normal, except very light. It lasted for 3 days and then stopped.

    4th and 5th day there was nothing.
    Evening of the 5th day I had some pelvic cramps.

    6th day I started spotting brown mixed with very stringy cervical mucous. This lasted until day 8. Visible when wiping and a few spots on a panty liner.

    Did a HPT on day 9 but negative.
    Could this have been implantation bleeding? Or just a normal period.

    I currently have no pregnancy symptoms besides very sensitive nipples. But I didn’t have symptoms with my 1st pregnancy either.

    • As you are nine days late, you may want to make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. This will just be to determine what your situation is. It is possible that you are pregnant, so take a pregnancy test at this time. You can confirm your result with your medical professional. Best of luck, Liz!

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