Six to 12 days after conception takes place, the newly fertilized ovum travels into the uterus where it attaches itself to the lining. When it attaches to the uterine wall, it may cause implantation bleeding to occur. Women who are in these earliest days of pregnancy may confuse this bleeding with the onset of their regular menstrual period. However, they can easily distinguish between their periods and implantation bleeding by knowing a few basic details about this early pregnancy phenomenon.
They also can put any fears they have to rest by realizing that this occurrence is very normal and experienced by women worldwide. It does not mean that anything is wrong with the pregnancy nor does it indicate that the woman herself is suffering from any kind of dire health condition. In most cases, the bleeding stops after a day or two. It is only when the bleeding lasts longer than a few days that a woman may need to seek medical help.
Women are also reminded that this phenomenon typically occurs days earlier than the onset of a regular period. An ovum will make the journey from the fallopian tubes to the uterus about six to 12 days after being fertilized. This time frame means that any spotting or light bleeding that occurs typically happens anywhere from a week to three days prior to the onset of a normal period. A normal menstrual period usually starts 14 days after ovulation, meaning that any light bleeding that occurs prior to that 14-day mark could be a sign of pregnancy implantation if the woman had sexual intercourse on or around the time that she ovulated that month.
What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?
Bleeding from implantation also is typically much lighter than normal menstrual blood. When the ovum implants itself in the uterine lining, it sets off a hormonal chain reaction that ultimately allows the body to prepare for the pregnancy’s development during the next nine months. This influx of hormones affects the color of any bleeding that might occur after the pregnancy implants itself. The color differentiation, combined with the relatively short duration of the bleeding, should indicate to a woman that she is not starting a period, but rather in the earliest stages of pregnancy.
Normal menstrual blood tends to be a bright red color. The color of menstrual blood indicates that the lining of the uterus is being shed and that the woman is undergoing a normal menstrual cycle. Bleeding after implantation, however, tends to be much darker and in fact sometimes not even red in color at all. In some cases the bleeding is a light to medium brown color. It also does not contain tissue as sometimes occurs during a heavier period.
Periods likewise last longer than the light bleeding that can occur after implantation. After an ovum implants itself, a woman may lightly spot blood for a day or two days at the most. However, a period usually lasts anywhere from three to five days. Some days of the cycle may even include heavy bleeding and be accompanied by painful cramps. Bleeding that occurs after an ovum implants itself is extremely light and even spotty. Some women may not notice that they are spotting at all. A very few women may have slight cramps, although these cramps are not as painful as menstrual cramps.
When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?
Another indication of whether or not a woman could be pregnant involves the timing of when the bleeding takes place. A period occurs about 14 days after a woman ovulates. During the two weeks prior to the period’s start, the lining of the woman’s uterus thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy. If an ovum does not implant itself, the lining will then be shed around the 14-day mark of the woman’s monthly cycle.
However, if an ovum does implant itself, the lining will remain in place to protect the growing pregnancy. Any bleeding that occurs is the result of the ovum implanting itself, and this bleeding will be much lighter and darker in color. It also occurs within a few days’ time after ovulation and fertilization has taken place. After a woman ovulates, the egg released by the ovary can remain fertile for 24 hours. Sperm can live inside the fallopian tubes for as long as three to five days. Once a sperm and egg combine, the ovum then may take up to another 5 to 11 days to travel to the uterus where it implants itself into the lining.
A woman who keeps accurate track of her cycle should be able to realize right away that spotting prior to the 14th day of her cycle could mean that she is pregnant. A woman who does not keep track of her cycle, however, may also know that she could be pregnant if the bleeding is very light, brown in color, and even spotty, unlike a normal period. If she experiences spotty, light, and brown bleeding, she may take use an early detection pregnancy test to find out if she could be pregnant.
How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?
The spotty and light bleeding that takes place after a fertilized ovum implants itself generally only lasts less than a day. In rarer cases, spotting may occur for two days, but almost never longer than that. The brevity of the spotting is linked to the short period of time that it takes for an ovum to implant itself fully into the uterine lining. The process for implanting itself is very quick, sometimes so fast that no spotting or bleeding occurs at all. Because the implantation itself is so brief, any spotting that accompanies it likewise is just as short-lived.
If a woman starts bleeding prior to the onset of her normal menstrual period, it could indicate that the implantation of the pregnancy was unsuccessful and that her body is miscarrying the ovum. Because this bleeding occurs so early in the pregnancy, many women assume that they are just experiencing an early period. However, they also may notice that this bleeding lasts longer than the typical three to five days of a menstrual cycle. A miscarriage can last for as long as 10 days.
If the bleeding becomes so heavy that a woman soaks more than one pad an hour or starts to experience symptoms like faintness, shortness of breath, overwhelming fatigue, nausea, and other detrimental side effects, she should see her doctor immediately. She may need to undergo a procedure called a dilation and curettage. This procedure involves scraping away the lining of the uterus and any remnants of the early pregnancy to stop the bleeding. Fortunately, this scenario only happens in the rarest of cases. Bleeding from implantation itself is harmless and poses no risk to a woman’s health. It typically means that the pregnancy is progressing as normal and that the body is preparing itself for the upcoming nine months prior to delivery.
Signs Of Pregnancy During Implantation Bleeding?
Bleeding from implantation differs from the bleeding of a regular period. Most women, particularly those who are in tune with their bodies and cycles, detect this bleeding as spotting that looks light brown in color. The spotting may be so faint that a woman might mistake it as regular discharge. However, the timing of it, combined with the fact that it is taking place days earlier than the onset of her normal period, could be enough to help a woman know that she is experiencing bleeding from a pregnancy implantation.
Most spotting from early pregnancy takes place without noticeable cramping like the cramps that occur with a period. Some women might feel a bit achy or even think that they are coming down with a urinary tract infection. However, this slight cramping typically only lasts a few hours, if that long. It also can be dispersed relatively easily by taking acetaminophen.
Some women choose to wear panty liners during the time that they are spotting because of pregnancy implantation bleeding. Most often, however, the spotting is not heavy enough to warrant wearing a sanitary napkin. Women also can go swimming, continue to exercise, and carry out their normal routines without fear of the spotting or light bleeding interfering with their schedules. Once the spotting ceases, they may wait another week to take a pregnancy test to confirm that they are in fact pregnant.