If you are a new mummy-to-be, you may not have heard of implantation bleeding before.
But if you are trying to get pregnant, you may be very interested in learning all about this light bleeding that can be one of the very first clues that you have conceived! Though not all women have implantation bleeding, you should know what it is and how to recognise it, just in case you are one of the lucky ones that gets the early tipoff! Keep reading to learn all about implantation bleeding!
What is implantation bleeding?
Your body has a great internal communication system. The moment that a sperm cell has succeeded in fertilising one of your eggs, typically when you are 3 weeks pregnant, the brand new embryo will begin the on-going process of growing and dividing—and it will tell the rest of your body right away to get ready for it! The walls of your uterus, also called the endometrium, respond by growing thicker so that they can provide a safe environment for the new embryo when it arrives.
When it begins growing, the efficient little embryo also begins its long journey from your ovary, through he Fallopian tube, all the way down to the uterus. This will take between 6 and 12 days! But once it reaches the uterus, it embeds itself right into the endometrium where it can rest, as well as receive oxygen and nutrients for the duration of the pregnancy.
When the egg embeds itself, it might have a bit of a crash landing. Sometimes some blood vessels in the area burst. When the blood comes down and out through the vagina, this is implantation bleeding. And this is sometimes the very first sign that a woman is pregnant!
How to recognise implantation bleeding
The signs of implantation are not always easy to recognise, even if you are one of the 33% of women who will see them. But here is what you should look for:
- Bleeding or spotting that is accompanied by discharge before your expected period, especially 5 to 10 days after having sex
- Mild cramping that could feel like you are about to start your period
- Morning sickness or aversion to smells
- Breast tenderness
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Sudden mood swings
To sum up, you will most likely recognise implantation bleeding if it comes with other early signs of pregnancy. If you think you may have experienced implantation bleeding but you aren’t sure, you may want to take a pregnancy test. It typically won’t be accurate on the day that you see the spotting, so you will need to wait at least a week.
Also, if you didn’t have sex within 14 days of the time that you noticed the bleeding, then it probably won’t be due to implantation.
Implantation bleeding vs. your period
Implantation pain (or implantation cramps) and discomfort can be a little bit tricky to distinguish from normal menstrual discomfort, so you should know how to tell the two apart. Here’s what you should know:
- Implantation bleeding will always come earlier than your period would have.
- The bleeding is typically very light, lasting no more than a couple of days, and sometimes it is just one spot.
- The blood is often a slightly different colour than you would see from your period. Some say that it is more pink, while others say that it is less red and darker.
- Implantation bleeding will usually come with more discharge than you would typically find during your period.
One of the best ways to be prepared to look out for something like implantation bleeding is keeping close track of your menstrual cycle. If you make a menstrual calendar for yourself, you can easily notice irregular spotting. It could also help you with getting pregnant, as you can make sure to try on the days when you are ovulating and thus more likely to conceive.
Should you go to the doctor?
Implantation bleeding is completely safe and normal. However, if seeing unexpected blood or spotting scares you, especially while trying to become pregnant, it can never hurt to go see a doctor. There are also some times when it is recommended to seek medical attention, such as:
- You have already confirmed that you are pregnant and you are bleeding or spotting
- You have irregular bleeding with painful cramping that feels somehow different from menstrual cramps
- If you have bleeding accompanied by fever or chills
- You think you may be pregnant and want to confirm it, but for some reason are unable to take a pregnancy test or are dissatisfied with the results
Other reasons for bleeding when pregnant
Though implantation bleeding is typically the first kind of vaginal bleeding you can experience during pregnancy, it may not be the last. Many women will have some kind of spotting or bleeding at some point during their pregnancy. Sometimes there is no explanation for it, but other times it can be a sign of something wrong. Here are some conditions that could cause vaginal bleeding during pregnancy:
If the bleeding is caused by one of these dangerous conditions, it will most likely be accompanied by pain, severe cramping, fever, or some other noticeable symptom. So if you see bleeding while you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, don’t jump to the worst conclusion!