Facts on Implantation Bleeding You Should Know

Implantation bleeding can be confusing. Sometimes it can be mistaken as the start of your menstrual cycle or breakthrough bleeding associated with your period. What a lot of women don’t realize is that it is often one of the first signs you are pregnant. Since every pregnancy is different, you may or may not experience implantation bleeding, but if you do, don’t worry. If you are unsure or need advice, your doctor will be able to help you.

What Is Implantation Bleeding? Is It Normal?

Implantation bleeding is perfectly normal and is actually very common. It usually occurs between 10 to 14 days after you conceive. It is sometimes referred to as pregnancy spotting.

You might be wondering when and why the bleeding occurs. It happens when your fertilized egg attaches to the uterus lining, which is typically around the time your period would usually start. The big difference is implantation bleeding is much lighter and only lasts a short while.

Often times, women mistake implantation bleeding for a lighter than usual period. Some don’t even notice when it happens. Because of this, mistakes are sometimes made when calculating a baby’s due date.

What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

Often it is just a tiny amount of pinkish discharge and it can be as little as a drop or two. Sometimes, it is yellowish in color with a couple of blood streaks. Most of the time, it only happens once and is not a continuous flow, that's why it's called pregnancy spotting.

When you experience implantation bleeding, do not be alarmed if you feel mild uterine cramps. Your fertilized egg "injures" uterine vessels when it attaches to the uterine wall, which may cause mild discomfort.

Implantation bleeding usually happens a few days to a week before the normal start of your menstrual cycle. The other difference between pregnancy spotting and your period is it only lasts a few hours. Sometimes it may last for a day or two, but never longer.

Normally, your basal body temperature will rise above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit at the last phase of your menstrual cycle. However, when a fertilized egg implants, your basal temperature will drop below this and then rise sharply after implanted.

How to Tell Implantation Bleeding and Period Apart

Knowing what implantation bleeding does look like will go a long way in helping you distinguish it from your normal period. You can easily get confused, thinking you are just spotting before your regular menstrual cycle. There are several ways to distinguish between implantation bleeding and your period.

  • The consistency of implantation bleeding and your period is very different. Pregnancy spotting starts light, stays light and never contains blood clots. Your menstrual cycle gets heavier after it starts and before it tapers off and often contains clots.
  • Implantation bleeding is light pink, brown or yellow with reddish streaks and is more of a discharge than actual bleeding. Your period is red and at times even bright in color.
  • Cramping is normal for both implantation and menstrual bleeding but implantation causes considerably mild cramps. Your period cramps can be quite painful and intense. If you experience light cramps along with a pink discharge, it might be pregnancy spotting.
  • The flow of implantation bleeding is more like spotting lasting a very short period of time. Your menstrual cycle will run a course of approximately a week and the flow will occur on a more consistent basis.

When Will a Pregnancy Test Be Positive After Implantation Bleeding?

After implantation, it usually takes 2 to 3 days for your body to produce enough hCG to be detected in a home pregnancy test. When your implantation occurs will determine how early you can get a positive result on a test. You may be able to test as early as 4 days before your period or you might have to wait until a week after your period is due to get an accurate result. If don’t want to wait that long, you can talk to your doctor about an in-office blood test.

When to Worry About Implantation Bleeding

If you are pregnant, anytime you have bright red bleeding, heavy bleeding with clots or severe cramps, you should be concerned and contact your doctor. Implantation bleeding is mild, so these symptoms are not normal if you think you are experiencing pregnancy spotting. Always contact your doctor if you are unsure or are worried about any bleeding you may experience.

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