Waiting until you’re official “late” to take a pregnancy test can feel like agony, especially when you really want to have a baby. The most frustrating part is thinking your period is late and then discovering a little blood in your underwear. Although you might feel tempted to throw in the fertility towel for the month, you could actually be experiencing implantation bleeding.
What is implantation bleeding?
If you see light bleeding, small pink or brown spots in your underwear and you think you might be pregnant, it could be implantation bleeding. That happen 6 to 12 days after conception, and you may mistake it for your regular period. It’s actually an early sign of pregnancy. It’s not dangerous and you don’t need treatment. Heavy bleeding (more than the typical period) is cause for concern, though. Contact your doctor if you have this alone or combined with fever, chills, and cramps that get worse.
Causes of implantation bleeding
After a sperm fertilizes your eggs, they become an embryo. It then travels to the uterus, where it implants itself into the lining. Sometimes, as the embryo attaches, it causes a little bleeding. This doesn’t cause any problems for the baby that will develop.
Pregnant women can bleed for a reason other than implantation. If it heavy plays with or without pain or cramping at any time, call your doctor.
If you’re pregnant and you can see blood, it may be caused by:
- Sex: sometimes it happens early on, although it can happen at any time during pregnant. Hormone changes in your body may be to blame. It should stop on its own.
- Ectopic pregnancy: this is when an embryo implants outside of the uterus. You may have bleeding with pain and cramps. It’s dangerous and you need to see a doctor right now.
- Miscarriage: about 15% of known pregnancies end during the first few months. Most women bleed and cramps afterward. Call your doctor right away if you know you’re pregnant and you have these symptoms.
How do I know it’s implantation bleeding and not my period?
Implantation bleeding can mimic menstruation, especially during those first few days of your period when you have a lighter flow or if you normally experience light periods, so you might feel confused when you start spotting. Here’s how to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and menstruation:
- Watch the flow: Bleeding from implantation is light and remains light, but menstruation starts light and gets heavier. Implantation bleeding does not contain blood clots, which often appear during menstruation.
- Check the color: Red blood that looks bright or vibrant points to menstruation, and discharge that appears light pink or brown can be a sign of implantation. Bleeding from implantation can occasionally look red, but it more commonly looks brown or pink.
- Regularity: Menstrual flow typically continues through the full duration of your period without stopping, but bleeding from implantation can come and go. Implantation bleeding often causes spotting or off-and-on bleeding for about one or two days. This differs from a menstrual cycle, which normally lasts between four to seven days.
- Cramping severity: Both menstruation and implantation bleeding can cause cramping, but cramps from your period feel much more intense. Light or faint cramping that never increases in intensity could mean implantation, especially if it’s coupled with brown or pink discharge.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.