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What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Deanna Baranyi
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Implantation bleeding is light bleeding or spotting before or near the time that a woman would expect her normal menstrual cycle. In general, a woman experiences implantation bleeding when the egg and sperm meet and then attach to the wall of the uterus. Because the uterine wall is rich with blood, drops of blood often leak from the vagina when the fertilized egg attaches to it. At that point, the woman may notice the spotting and may be able to conclude that it is bleeding from egg implantation. Alternatively, if the egg does not meet a viable sperm, it will be flushed out of the body during the normal menstrual cycle.

A woman can expect this kind of bleeding for five to ten days after the time of conception. Many women initially believe that it is the start of their cycle, but when the bleeding never progresses beyond a light spotting, they discover they are pregnant. When this type of bleeding occurs, the blood will typically be a dark red, brown, or even black color because the blood is dry by the time it exits the body; there have been some reports, however, of pink spotting as well.

If a woman experiences light spotting or bleeding, it may be the first sign that she is pregnant. There are several types of home pregnancy test kits designed to inform a woman, even several days before the expected start of her period, whether or not she is pregnant. The home pregnancy test kits work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone released by the placenta after the fertilized egg implants in the wall of the uterus. Other symptoms of pregnancy that may accompany this condition include minor cramping and a slight rise in body temperature. In addition, a pregnant woman may experience nausea, tender breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, and an increased awareness to odor.

Although many women become alarmed if they bleed early in their pregnancy, implantation bleeding should not cause concern. It is completely normal and will only last one or two days. There are other causes of bleeding in early pregnancy, such as hormonal changes, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and molar pregnancy. Some of these can be fatal to the fetus, while others, such as hormonal changes, are harmless. Although complications are infrequent, if a woman experiences implantation bleeding and more severe pain, a doctor should be consulted. Pain or increased bleeding after implantation may be signs of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is light bleeding or spotting that may occur in early pregnancy. It results from a fertilized egg attaching to the endometrium, the uterus lining, to start developing into a fetus. Implantation typically occurs about 6 to 12 days after conception. The bleeding is usually very light and may be accompanied by light cramping.

How is implantation bleeding different from a period?

Implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than a period, and it usually occurs earlier in the cycle. Menstrual bleeding typically occurs in the middle of the cycle, while implantation bleeding usually happens within a few days of when a woman would expect her period. Implantation bleeding is typically pink or brown in color, while menstrual bleeding is usually bright red.

Is implantation bleeding common?

Implantation bleeding is relatively common in early pregnancy. Estimates suggest that up to 30% of pregnant women experience implantation bleeding. However, it is important to note that not all women will experience implantation bleeding, so it is not always a reliable indicator of pregnancy.

Are there any risks associated with implantation bleeding?

In general, implantation bleeding is a normal part of early pregnancy and is not a cause for concern. However, if the bleeding is heavy or lasts for a prolonged period of time, it may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. In this case, it is important to see a doctor for further evaluation.

What should I do if I experience implantation bleeding?

If you experience implantation bleeding, it is important to track your symptoms and contact your doctor if the bleeding is heavy or persists for more than a few days. It is also important to take measures to ensure that you are taking proper care of yourself, including eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi , Former Writer
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.

Discussion Comments

By anon1004152 — On Nov 29, 2020

My period is supposed to start next week and I am having light bleeding right now so I am worried if I might be pregnant.

By anon356708 — On Nov 27, 2013

I just had light pink spotting two days ago and nothing since, but today I noticed a brown discharge. I never had any of these signs with my three other pregnancies. I'm going to give it two weeks and take a test.

By anon353240 — On Oct 29, 2013

My cycle is usually 34 days long. Two days ago, on the 31st day of my cycle, I had brown spots and no bleeding after that spotting. What is this? I've been on clomid for four months.

By adsiadsi — On Jul 14, 2013

Please help me on this. I'm planning for a pregnancy. My last period was in mid June and a normal cycle for five days. After that I had unprotected sex in an effort to conceive. Now for the past week, every other day, I have a little blood spot on my garments, but no period comes. I always feel like my period is coming because some liquid has come every time. I always have a 28-30 day cycle.

Now it's mid July I haven't had a period. So it this a pregnancy sign? When should I go test?

By ElizaBennett — On Nov 18, 2011

@MrsWinslow - Absolutely not! Actually, only a minority of women experience implantation bleeding. I did with my first baby, but not with my second. With my first, it was about two days of light spotting starting nine days after I ovulated. Then nothing with the second - I actually was surprised to find out I was pregnant because I had had the implantation bleeding last pregnancy.

I think women who are "fooled" by implantation bleeding, thinking it's their period, are those who have always had light, irregular cycles. And who maybe have a little denial going on!

You don't say whether you've been tracking your cycles and ovulation. If you are more than 17 days past ovulation and have not gotten your period, you are almost certainly pregnant. But if you don't know when you ovulated, especially if your cycles are not always regular, than there's a chance that you simply ovulated late and your period will arrive shortly.

It sounds like you are hoping for a "yes" from the way you worded your question, so I will cross my fingers for you!

By MrsWinslow — On Nov 17, 2011

My period is late, but I have not noticed any bleeding of any kind; no implantation bleeding or ovulation bleeding. Does that mean that I can't be pregnant?

Deanna Baranyi

Deanna Baranyi

Former Writer

Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
Learn more
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