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.