Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and important events in life. A missed period is often interpreted as the first sign of pregnancy, but implantation bleeding is also a sign that pregnancy has occurred. Read on to learn all about implantation bleeding and why it is important.
What is Implantation Bleeding?
The egg is fertilized by the sperm inside the fallopian tube and then makes its journey to the uterus. As it travels, the newly formed union of the egg and sperm (zygote) grows and divides increasing the overall number of cells present. Once it reaches the uterus, it embeds itself in the lining called the endometrium. This is critical, as the uterine lining will provide nourishment for the growing embryo. The implantation process causes a minor amount of bleeding in about 1/3 of pregnancies and is one of the earliest signs that pregnancy has occurred. If implantation does not occur, the fertilized egg passes out the vagina and the pregnancy is lost.
2. Time of occurrence
Implantation bleeding occurs between 6 and 12 days after ovulation and before the next menstrual period is due to occur. The exact time of occurrence may vary from one woman to another.
The only noticeable sign that implantation has occurred is a minor amount of bleeding or spotting. Depending on how rapid this blood makes it out of the vagina, it may appear pink, bright red or brownish in color. Understand that not all women experience any bleeding from implantation.
4. Associated symptoms
Symptoms are what are typically expected of an early pregnancy: bloating, nausea, breast tenderness and swelling and increased sensitivity to odors. No pain should be felt and discomfort or outright abdominal pain can be a sign of a more serious problem. In that case seek medical care to ensure the pregnancy is in the correct location and not outside the uterus. This dangerous condition is called an ectopic pregnancy.
Vaginal bleeding form implantation can be concerning to the female and falsely interpreted as a sign of a miscarriage or lost pregnancy. Keep in mind that implantation bleeding is minor and large clots or tissue is not passed during implantation bleeding.
6. Lasting time
The bleeding can last from a few hours or up to three days. Most women describe it as light spotting. Bleeding may happen only once or several times a day over a three-day time span.
7. How to cope with it
Keeping calm is the most important part of coping with implantation bleeding. Becoming excessively worried about it only adds stress to your pregnancy. It is usually very minor and a panty liner is often all that is needed.
- Don't panic
Take a few deep breaths. Try to relax and remember that implantation bleeding is a positive sign of pregnancy and not to worry. There is nothing that you did to cause the bleeding from implantation. It simply is a normal process and part of early pregnancy.
- Have an ultrasound
Your doctor may order an ultrasound to further evaluate, but this is most often not necessary. It is very difficult to see anything on an ultrasound at this very early stage of pregnancy.
8. When to worry
Symptoms to be concerned about include back pain, heavy period like bleeding, passing clots or tissue or bleeding that lasts for more than three days. If you are feeling light headed, feverish or having increasing discomfort, seek medical care quickly.
Differences between Implantation Bleeding and Menstruation
1. Nature of discharge
Menstrual bleeding is heavy, produces clots and cramping. Implantation bleeding occurs before the expected time of the next period and often is without any symptom or sign other than light spotting. This bleeding will be scant in amount, pink or bright red, but can occasionally be darker or brownish in color as it takes a while to pass from the vagina.
2. Associated symptoms
Implantation bleeding is without symptoms, but you may experience nausea from the early hormone surge in pregnancy. Back pain, abdominal or pelvic cramps, mood swings and fatigue all go along with menstruation.
3. Time of occurrence
Normal menstrual cycles occur every 28 days in most women. They can occur early or be late or even missed altogether depending on a variety of factors. If you miss an expected period, it is wise to take a pregnancy test. Implantation bleeding occurs 6 to 12 days after ovulation, so in essence.
Implantation bleeding should last no more than 72 hours or 3 days. Menstrual bleeding commonly lasts 5 days, but can be shorter or longer depending on the age and hormonal status of the female.