When couples plan to conceive, they look for many signs to confirm pregnancy. Some women experience implantation bleeding which is an early sign of pregnancy. This can occur even before taking a pregnancy test which usually shows positive results after 8 -10 days.
So what is implantation bleeding and when does it happen? Continue reading to find out.
Successful fertilization results in the formation of the embryo by the union of egg and sperm. After this the embryo starts dividing and growing, signalling the body to prepare itself for pregnancy. In this process, the layer of the uterus called the endometrium evolves. It thickens during the menstrual cycle to prepare itself for pregnancy and then grows stronger to nourish the embryo for nine whole months.
Anywhere from six to twelve days after fertilization, the fast-growing embryo moves down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The inner lining of the uterus called the endometrium has enough nutrients to support the embryo. Therefore, the embryo attaches itself to the endometrium and becomes dependent on the mother’s body. This process is called implantation. When implantation happens, the embryo can rupture some blood vessels which can cause blood discharge from the vagina which is called as implantation bleeding.
Implantation typically occurs 6-12 days after ovulation or fertilization. This is usually the time before a woman would otherwise expect menstruating. A point to remember is that for some women, their menstrual cycle and implantation bleeding window can overlap. Because of this, it is critical to differentiate implantation bleeding from the first day of their periods.
Implantation bleeding looks like light spotting blood. Fresh bleeding can be a shade of light or dark red. Blood can also look pink or orange if it is mixed with other vaginal discharge. A couple of key differentiating factors between menstruation and implantation bleeding is the amount of discharge and the number of days the bleeding lasts. So, if what you face right around the time you expect your period is bright or dark red blood and is a full flow in that you are filling up pads and tampons, it is highly unlikely that what you are experiencing is implantation bleeding.
However, if your menstruation is shorter than normal, you did not fill up pads or tampons, it was more pinkish/brownish than red, and you had less cramping than normal, it is possible that you are having implantation bleeding. Make sure to take note of the colour and consistency, as well as the time of your bleeding. These are details you should share with your doctor for a diagnosis.
It can vary from women to women. Implantation bleeding can continue anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. It can be an amount of blood which you can wipe off with a square of toilet paper, a few times on a pantyliner, or it could be a light flow for one, two, or even three days. Generally, this duration can be longer for first-time mothers and shorter for mothers conceiving for the second time as their bodies have adapted themselves or have gotten 'used to' implantation.
Since implantation bleeding is a sign that can often occur before you test positive on an actual pregnancy test, it can be easily confused with light bleeding which occurs before the start of your menstrual cycle. And unfortunately, there’s no conclusive way to find out. The best way to confirm you are pregnant or not is to wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test.