About 25-40% of women experience implantation bleeding, which is vaginal bleeding seen in the first couple of weeks of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding symptoms are like that of regular menstrual bleeding, therefore many women find it difficult to differentiate between the symptoms of implantation bleeding and menstrual bleeding. Implantation bleeding is a positive sign of pregnancy. There is ongoing research as to why only some women experience implantation bleeding and others do not. However, it is important to note that this bleeding does not have any impact on pregnancy. We will read about implantation bleeding first, before we turn towards the symptoms.
What is Implantation?
Implantation happens when a sperm meets an ova and fertilizes it; it is then called blastocyst. The process of fertilization does not occur in the womb as is usually thought, but in the fallopian tube, which is located near the ovaries. The blastocyst (also called fertilized egg) aligns itself with the lining of the uterus about five days after it is fertilized. This cyst is hardly visible to the naked eye. After the cyst aligns itself, it is called an embryo. Implantation bleeding happens approximately six to twelve days after the ova is fertilized. The lining of the uterus has blood in it. When the fertilized ova attaches itself to the uterus' endometrial lining, little blood comes out of the uterus. This blood is referred to as implantation bleeding. It is the body's mechanism, where the uterus adjusts to pregnancy. This vaginal discharge is pinkish-brown in color. This pregnancy implantation bleeding is not like regular menstrual bleeding, it is just spotting.
Implantation Bleeding Symptoms
★ It usually occurs about nine to ten days after ovulation, which is about a week before the next menstrual cycle is due. Implantation bleeding may be experienced during all pregnancies or may be just one time. Some women do not experience implantation bleeding at all. The signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding do indicate pregnancy.
★ Implantation bleeding differs in color from the regular menstrual bleeding. The color of implantation bleeding ranges from pink to brown. In some rare cases, it can also be black. At times, there can be specks of red color, but that is rare. Often the color of implantation bleeding is faded. Unlike menstrual bleeding, no clots are passed in implantation bleeding.
★ Implantation bleeding is not as heavy as menstrual bleeding, as only a small amount of blood is released. It is scant, therefore most women are able to make do with a panty liner. It generally lasts from one to three days; very rarely does it last for five days.
★ There are many women who confuse between implantation bleeding and spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy. Mild cramps usually accompany implantation bleeding, this can be understood as a menstrual period symptom. The cramping feeling does not last very long and disappears on its own. Breast tenderness can also be seen in most cases of implantation bleeding.
★ Some women mistake implantation bleeding symptoms for signs of stress and consider it to be a mini-period. If bleeding is accompanied by nausea, food cravings or food aversion, constipation, increased basal body temperature, fatigue and breast tenderness, then these are pregnancy symptoms.
★ Implantation bleeding causes no harm, neither to the mother nor to the baby. The amount of blood lost during implantation bleeding is very small, hence it is not harmful. However, if the bleeding is heavy, you might want to talk to your obstetrician and gynecologist. Some women also experience cramps like menstrual cramps, however, there is nothing to be alarmed about.
★ If pain accompanies implantation bleeding, then this could point to an ectopic pregnancy. In such a case, the fertilized ovum is implanted often in the Fallopian tube, but it can also attach itself to cervix, ovaries or in some rare cases also in the abdomen.
Implantation bleeding symptoms can be very confusing, therefore, if any of the signs are noticed, it is advisable that you take a pregnancy test to confirm the reason behind the bleeding. The test should ideally be taken about a week after the periods were due. If you feel that you had implantation bleeding around the time your periods were due, it is advisable to wait for a couple of days before you take the pregnancy test. Morning is the best time to take a pregnancy test. Always remember to use the first urine in the morning for the pregnancy test. In either case, if the pregnancy tests comes positive or negative, it is suggested you take the pregnancy test one week after the first pregnancy test. With this you will be sure whether you are pregnant or not. In case of confirmed pregnancy, you should seek advice from your gynecologist and obstetrician, to start with prenatal care. Often obstetric ultrasonography is recommended to assess the condition correctly.