Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
For those who are planning to start a family, implantation bleeding can be an exciting hint that you may be pregnant. It happens when the fertilized ovum embeds itself onto the endometrial wall and starts to become a fetus.
When does implantation bleeding occur, and would you also experience other symptoms?
Implantation spotting is not a definitely sign and symptom of pregnancy, as every person is different. This is a helpful hint for those who do not normally experience pre- menstrual spotting, as they are both similar in outlook. It is also helpful to remember that only a third of females experience implantation spotting.
When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?
Implantation bleeding is when the endometrium starts to change to accommodate the growing blastocyst, between six to twelve days after fertilization. When the female egg first becomes fertilized with sperm, it will send a signal to the uterus to prepare for its arrival.
For a successful pregnancy, implantation stage is crucial. If the endometrial wall is not thick enough, or less than eight millimeters thick, the fertilized egg will not be able to stick on the wall, hence pregnancy will not happen.
For people whose period is like clockwork, the implantation bleeding can happen after you missed your normal cycle by a few days. This is because menstruation is shedding of the endometrial wall, when the female egg is not fertilized. When there is a fertilized egg, the wall remains ready for implantation, hence there will be no period.
How Long After Conception Does Implantation Occur?
If you are planning for a family, you might be interested to find out how soon can you start using your pregnancy test. Typically, once the ovum becomes fertilized, it takes six to twelve days for the zygote cell to travel from the fallopian tube to the endometrial wall, where implantation happens. When that happens, it may cause implantation bleeding, and start of a new life.
To make sure that you are pregnant, use a pregnancy test kit. A health professional will advise to wait a few more days after the spotting happens to confirm a pregnancy. Although some test kits are sensitive enough to pick up Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) on implantation, it is still advisable to wait until a week after spotting. For people who want an earlier answer, a blood test will offer a more accurate answer on status of pregnancy.
Aside from bleeding, another symptoms to lookout for are:
- Implantation cramping, where the body reacts to the disruption by sending signals to clear out the broken vessels out from the body. This is to make sure that the uterus is clean from clots and remains a healthy space for a fetus to grow
- Temperature changes, usually an implantation dip. This is a minor drop in your basal body temperature for around twenty- four hours. It happens around seven to ten days after ovulation, but more common when a pregnancy is successful.
- Cervical discharge that is thick and white.
How Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?
- Spotting will be pink to brownish looking. The rusty brown colored spot indicates that it is older blood that has been in the body for a little longer than normal. As it takes time for the endometrial wall to build, it is not uncommon and is not dangerous.
- Light spotting, not flowing. Instead of a consistent gush, it will present as a few spots randomly throughout the day.
- White discharge may accompany implantation bleeding. Once implantation happens, body will use mucus to protect the fetus from foreign matters, so you may experience discharge when you have the spotting.
How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?
Implantation bleeding is usually non- heavy spotting, and will only last for a day or two. You might confuse it with premenstrual period if you are not a regular person. If the spotting lasts more than two days, seek professional advice.
Other Causes Of Spotting
If you have spotting but you have not been having sexual intercourse, or not planning to start a family, there are other conditions that can cause spot bleeding. These include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which comes with a lot of pain and discomfort.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, where the hormones are imbalanced and cause partial shedding of the wall. People with PCOS often experience painful menstruation and cramping.
- Insertion of Intrauterine Device (IUD) may initially cause bleeding due some minor physical damage during insertion. However, having IUD does not guarantee total pregnancy prevention, as you can have ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg embeds on the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. When that happens, it is an emergency situation.
- Fibroids are harmless tumors that grow on the endometrial wall, spotting is usually mid- menstruation cycle. It is a regular occurrence, and is a nuisance that can be fixed by the gynaecologist.
- Sexually transmitted diseases can cause inflammation of the cervix, which in turn causes spotting. Other symptoms that appear alongside bleeding include pain during sex, fever and frequent menstruation.
- Cancer may cause spotting, especially ovarian cancer.
If you have been expecting to become pregnant, what other symptoms should you be looking for next? The easiest way to confirm a pregnancy is a urine test, but if you are impatient and want a sure answer, the blood test is the way to go. You can opt for a quantitative blood test, which can confirm a pregnancy seven to twelve days after fertilization, which is around implantation.
Signs That You May Be Pregnant
If you do not experience implantation spotting and cramping, here are other signs that you may be a little being inside of you.
- Sore breasts, more like an ache as your mammary gland wakes up to start producing breast milk for when the baby is born. Aside from soreness, some may experience color changes on the nipples.
- Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of pregnancy. Even though it is called morning sickness, it does not always happen only in the mornings.
- Mood swings can be a tricky sign, particularly if you experience them before your period. Hormonal changes can affect mood, and this may affect you for a while.
- Changes in taste buds is another common symptom of pregnancy.