Implantation Bleeding – Signs, Symptoms & When to Worry

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A Guide to Implantation Bleeding

Getting pregnant is something that can be unpredictable. It can happen either by accident or it could be a few nail-biting months before you have a baby on the way. Often, many women end up becoming victims of morning sickness and only then realizing that they’ve been pregnant for a while! Is there a way you could figure out if you were pregnant shortly after conception? Yes, it’s a phenomenon called implantation bleeding, and with this, you can figure out in a week if you’re pregnant or not!

What is Implantation Bleeding?

This is a type of light bleeding (spotting) which is an indicator of the egg attaching itself to the uterus. It is estimated that 33% of pregnant women experience this. It is not a medical emergency and is as natural as the sun rising in the east.

It makes its presence known in the form of a brown or pink hue. Unlike a period, it doesn’t last long and doesn’t have any agonizing pain attached to it. In fact, it’s so subtle that you may not even realize its significance.

Every woman is familiar with what her menstrual cycle experience is like. Being observant helps a lot as a slight difference in the colour and reduced flow could make you aware of a possible implantation bleeding.

When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?

On an average, implantation bleeding occurs around nine days after conception. However, the range is variable with the same taking place either in a week to as long as two weeks. In many cases, the bleeding will take place just prior to your menstrual cycle. As ovulation takes place after 11-14 days, there are chances that it could be confused with your menstrual cycle. This is what makes it difficult to detect, and women don’t realize that what they think is their period is, actually, a sign of being pregnant!

Stages of Implantation Bleeding?

After the egg is fertilized by a sperm, the cell division occurs until the fertilized egg becomes a blastocyst, after roughly five days. The blastocyst then travels for about a day towards the uterus where the following stages of implantation take place:

  • Adplantation: When the embryo is about a week old, it attaches itself to the walls of the uterus.
  • Adhesion: The embryo begins to penetrate the walls of the uterus so that it can securely fasten itself.
  • Invasion: The final phase, the embryo begins to embed itself into the uterine wall.

Pregnancy Implantation Signs and Symptoms

Below are some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy implantation. However, not all women experience these symptoms, and, a pregnancy test is the only sure-shot way of knowing that you are pregnant. Additionally, many of these symptoms must continue for at least a week after the ovulation cycle is over.

Pregnancy Symptoms

1. Bleeding/Spotting

Implantation spotting is the most reliable indicator that a pregnancy implantation has taken place. Light, short bleeding without the regular period cramps is a sign of implantation. However, spotting may also be a result of sexual intercourse due to increased sensitivity of cervix.

2. Cramping

The process that takes place within your body leads to implantation cramping. However, this pain can be differentiated from menstrual cramping as its intensity is lesser. One aspect to be noted is that cramping isn’t the result of the physical embedding as it is too tiny to be felt. The mild cramping is a result of the hormonal changes that take place within the body after implantation.

3. Breast Changes

After implantation, hormones begin to send chemical messages to the body to prepare itself for pregnancy. In response, the breasts start getting tender and swollen. You may experience some soreness because of this.

4. Increased Basal Body Temperature

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the temperature of your body during a state of inactivity. Many women who are actively trying to get pregnant have a BBT chart to track their ovulation. The best time to take this measurement is right after waking up. When you are ovulating, the BBT increases due to the increased progesterone levels. During implantation, there is a dip in the BBT to below 98.6-degree Fahrenheit, after which there is a dramatic rise in temperature.

5. Frequent Urination

The implantation causes a flurry of activities within the body, one of which is an increase of blood flow to the pelvis. This puts stress on the bladder making you feel the need to urinate often. However, this is associated with menstrual cycles as well and is not a guarantee for implantation.

6. Food Craving or Aversion

The surge in hormones could make you crave a specific food item that you don’t usually eat. Alternatively, you might feel an intense aversion to food items that you may have eaten on a regular basis not too long ago.

7. Hot Flashes

This can happen to sometimes due to the dynamic change in hormones that takes place during implantation.

8. Cervical Mucus

There will be a marked increase in your mucus flow due to an increase in hormones that will stimulate the cervix.

9. Mood Swings

You will experience rapidly changing emotions that can range from crying one minute to being elated the next minute. This is on account of change in hormones. However, these are also pre-menstrual symptoms and do not guarantee implantation.

How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?

It is difficult to give an accurate number for this as each woman’s body is different. However, an estimate is that most of the bleeding due to implantation last for 24-48 hours. In some cases, the duration has reached more than a month which is an exception and not the norm.

Difference Between Implantation Bleeding And Menstrual Cycle

As there can be a lot of confusion between the two, here are some characteristics of implantation bleeding and how it is different from a menstrual cycle.

1. Colour

  • Implantation Bleeding: The implantation bleeding is usually pink or brown in colour. The brown colour that is sometimes observed is only on account of older blood.
  • Menstrual Cycle: The period colour is varied and is considered a biological health monitor for a woman. While a bright red colour can indicate the new blood, a greyish hue may indicate an infection or miscarriage.

2. Duration

  • Implantation Bleeding: It does not last for long and has a maximum duration of 1-2 days.
  • Menstrual Cycle: It can last anywhere between 2-7 days. It is highly variable and depends on factors such as lifestyle and body type.

3. Discharge

  • Implantation Bleeding: The discharge is always highly viscous.
  • Menstrual Cycle: The discharge changes according to the ovulation cycle and is often considered an accurate indicator of a woman’s fertility. The mucus is an egg white colour and relatively watery when a woman is most fertile. On the other hand, the discharge becomes sticky and has a creamy texture when a woman is in her non-fertile stage.

4. Cramping

  • Implantation Bleeding: The cramps experienced are mild compared to what you go through during a period. The cramps are caused because of hormonal activity after the implantation.
  • Menstrual Cycle: The cramps can range from mild to severe with each period. A hormone called prostaglandin causes muscle contractions within the uterine wall which is responsible for the cramps.

5. Volume

  • Implantation Bleeding: The amount of bleeding is minimal and in many cases, does not even require a changing of the pad. The volume of bleeding is also independent of any other conditions.
  • Menstrual Cycle: The amount of bleeding is on average about 10-30 ml per period, though sometimes it can even cross 500ml! The flow is variable and depends on conditions such as the size of the individual, exercise and hormonal levels.

How to Verify If Your Implantation Is Successful?

While the symptoms associated with pregnancy implantation are a good indicator, there can always be other reasons for them such as low hormones. The best way to verify your implantation is by taking a pregnancy test. Ensure that you take your test at least 10 days after the implantation bleeding to avoid a false positive.

Best time to take a Pregnancy Test

How Can You Improve Your Chances of Implantation?

Many women are unable to get a successful implantation despite trying for months. Below are a few tips they could do to help get pregnant:

1. Go High on Fibre

Fibre-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables have been known to help the body maintain a healthy progesterone level.

2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish such as salmon and mackerel, which are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, prevent the uterus from contracting too hard which can cause pain and mal-positioning of the uterus.

3. Avoid Stress

Stress can throw your ovulation off balance as high levels have been known to affect the hypothalamus, the area that regulates your hormones. It can begin a vicious cycle, as not getting pregnant leads to stress, which in turn leads to not getting pregnant. You can see the signs of stress in your cervical discharge, which, instead of increasing in volume, becomes patchy and interspersed. So take a chill pill, and you’re sure to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

4. Stay Away From Xenoestrogen

These are chemicals that have oestrogen-like properties. They are very harmful to the body and reduce the elasticity of the uterine wall. Xenoestrogen is often found in non-organic foods and non-vegetarian products subjected to growth hormones.

5. Avoid Alcohol

For some, having a few glasses of wine may help set the mood. However, studies have shown that alcohol can reduce the chances of implantation. Just sharing one bottle of wine a week could reduce the chances of a couple conceiving by a quarter!

6. Gravity

This may seem a little strange, but the little swimmers stand a better chance of reaching the egg with gravity to gently nudge it along. Lie down with some pillows under your bottom and your legs rested on a wall to improve the mobility of the sperm.

7. Relaxed Environment

Overtaxing the body while you’re trying to get pregnant isn’t a good idea due to the stress that your body has to go through. It would lead to the body giving precedence to keeping up with your pace during pregnancy. Avoid vigorous exercises and switch to easier forms of keeping the body fit like yoga or walking. Those with an active social life could also scale it down a little and focus on spending some me-time to rejuvenate themselves.

8. Herbal Remedies

Herbs have been known to help the overall health of the uterus by toning the muscles and reducing cramps. Some of the herbs that recommended by herbalists include cramp bark, black haw and partridgeberry.

FAQ’s

Most women aren’t aware of what implantation bleeding is, let alone know the symptoms associated with it. We’ve curated some of the most common questions that pregnant women around the world have with respect to the topic:

1. What is Implantation Discharge?

This is the thickening of the cervical discharge. It takes place once the egg is fertilized to protect the egg from harmful bacteria and lower preference is given to sperm movement. There is also an increase in the discharge which would result in your underwear being wet often. You can examine this by following the below steps:

  • Wash your hands to avoid an infection.
  • Find a spot where you can comfortably access the cervix.
  • Using an in an upward movement, use your index finger to collect some discharge.

2. Can Implantation Bleeding Be Heavy or Red?

The Implantation Bleeding Amount is always light and would not even require you to change your pad. Anything heavy maybe something else. If you experience heavy bleeding along with nausea or vomiting, it may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, which is a medical emergency.

3. If There Is No Implantation Bleeding What Does It Indicate?

It isn’t necessary that every implant must have bleeding associated with it. While many women do experience bleeding, around 2/3rd of pregnant women do not experience it! In situations like these, you can see if you show other symptoms related to pregnancy. If you are pregnant, then the hormonal fluctuations would have already begun, and you may experience nausea, fatigue and swollen breasts.

4. What to Do If An Implantation Bleeding Takes Place After a Missed Period?

There are some instances where you can get the bleeding without having a period. In these instances, it becomes crucial that you understand the difference between a period and implantation bleeding. Is it an implantation bleed or is it a minor period? You can always take a pregnancy test to keep your mind at ease. Trying waiting for a few days before taking the pregnancy test to avoid a false negative result.

5. When To Consult a Gynaecologist?

There are two scenarios where you can seek the guidance of your gynaecologist. First, there is heavy bleeding followed by fever or vomiting. This can be a sign of the embryo being placed outside the uterus and requires medical assistance. The second scenario is after a being tested positive for a pregnancy test.

6. When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Now that you know about implantation bleeding, getting a pink/brown bleeding can have you excited. However, don’t be too quick to pull out the pregnancy stick. The hormone hCG, which is secreted by the foetus, and is detected by most pregnancy devices, takes a while to reach the bloodstream and urine. This means if you do a pregnancy test too early, it may result in a false-negative. Testing for pregnancy via a blood test would be faster as the hCG reaches the bloodstream first. To be on the safe side, you can take the test after 10 days. Also, if you are checking your urine for hCG, follow the below steps to avoid a false positive:

  • Avoid drinking too much water as it could dilute the hCG
  • Take the test early in the morning as it is likely to have a high hCG content.

Vaginal health is sacred, and an unannounced visit by Aunt Flo can be a scary experience. Spotting as a result of implantation is, by all means, normal and shouldn’t cause any worry. If anything, it is a time to rejoice because it means you’re about to be a mom soon!

Also Read: 1 Week Pregnant

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