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.


  1. First of all my husband and I do not have protected sex. He is 51 and I am 46 so we figured we were okay. My last menstrual period was May 21, 2017. I was expecting my next cycle to begin on June 18 and now it is June 27. I am having a very light something but definitely not my normal flow. My cycles are basically regular occurring every 29 to 30 days and my periods have always been extremely heavy where I would even need to were multiple pads on peak days. The last time my husband and I had sex was on June 16 ( 2 days before start of period). 10 days after on June 26, I thought my period had finally arrived but on the 26 and 27 of June I’ve had nothing to even touch my pad. I only see a very small amount of blood on toilet paper after I wipe. So, what do you think is going on?

    • It is possible that you are experiencing a wide range of influences. You may be experiencing an unusually heavy period. It is also possible that you experienced heavy implantation bleeding. Perhaps there are signs of another medical concern. Your best option is to continue to monitor the symptoms that you are having and make an appointment with a medical professional. They will be able to give you the proper tests and advice that you are seeking. Best of luck, Lydia!

  2. hi had periods 6th of may,had sex 13th but i used pills,around 18and19 had sex again,around 21st started to bleed,could it be pregnancy or normal period?

  3. I saw my February period n the 7th, and in march it came on the 5th. So, I was expecting my April period on the 2nd but it came on the 5th. Which means that I was 3 days late. Normally I do start feeling cramp/menstral pain when it is a day to my period. So I started feeling the cramp on 1st of April , thinking that my period wud start the next day, which is on the 2nd. But my period didn’t came until the 4th day.And I continue feeling the pain till the 4th day. But on the 4th day, I saw a brown discharge, and after like 4hrs I saw Bright redish blood with tiny clot that was a little bit heavy. Which came throughout the whole day. So I don’t know if this is implantation bleeding .

    • It is possible, but it could also be an early miscarriage or a slightly abnormal menstrual cycle. You can take a pregnancy test to be sure. If it is negative, then it was most likely just your period or a very early miscarriage.

  4. 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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