Implantation Bleeding: Questions and Answers

Eileen Bailey Health Guide April 05, 2013
  • Implantation bleeding is thought to occur when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. This happens sometime around 10 to 14 days after conception. It can sometimes be confused with an early period but usually implantation bleeding is much lighter, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple days.

     

    What causes implantation bleeding?


    When an egg is fertilized, it moves down the fallopian tube to the uterus, normally arriving there about 9 days after fertilization. As it burrows into the uterine lining, some women will shed some blood. This is implantation bleeding.

     

    Does everyone experience implantation bleeding?


    Most women either don’t experience much bleeding or don’t notice. Others may notice only a little spotting. Some women will experience cramp like feelings and spotting for several days. Approximately one-third of women will experience implantation bleeding.

     

    Does implantation bleeding look the same as a period?


    Implantation bleeding is normally pinkish or brownish in color rather than the bright red of your period. It usually is not as heavy and doesn’t follow the same type of pattern as your period: light in the beginning, moderate to heavy for several days, then light again. Instead implantation bleeding lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Although some women have said the blood flow was moderate, it normally is light spotting off and on.

     

    If I had implantation bleeding during a previous pregnancy, does that mean I always will have it?


    No, you may experience implantation bleeding during one pregnancy and not have it or not notice it during a second pregnancy.

     

    When does implantation bleeding occur?


    It normally occurs about a week or so before you would expect your period. That is why many women believe it is an early period or they  are simply spotting in the days leading up to their period.

     

    If I am trying to get pregnant and don’t notice any implantation bleeding, should I be worried?


    No, most women either don’t experience this or there is so little spotting they don’t notice. While some women may see this as an early sign of pregnancy, the majority of women never notice. Therefore, just because you don’t notice anything don’t assume you aren’t pregnant.

     

    How soon after implantation bleeding should I take a pregnancy test?


    Home pregnancy tests can detect a pregnancy approximately 10 days to 2 weeks after ovulation, which would be about 1 to 2 weeks after you expected to get your period. Because implantation bleeding occurs about a week before your expected period, you should still wait a few weeks before using a home pregnancy test.

     

    When should I see a doctor?


    If you know you are pregnant and are experiencing bleeding (not spotting) you should talk with your doctor to make sure everything is okay. If you aren’t sure if you are pregnant and are spotting, you probably don’t need to call your doctor, wait until you confirm the pregnancy with an at-home test and then call your doctor to set an appointment.

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    References:

     

    “A Spot of Uncertainty,” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Countdown to Pregnancy

     

    “Is Implantation Bleeding Normal in Early Pregnancy?” Date Unlknown, Roger W. Harms, M.D., MayoClinic

     

    “What is Implantation Bleeding?” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Infertility Answers.org