What is Implantation Bleeding? (2023)

Implantation bleeding can occur about 10-14 days after conception when the fertilized egg attaches to the interior lining of the uterus. This movement of the egg can result in light bleeding or spotting, which is completely normal and should not require any kind of medical attention. Generally, around a third of pregnant women will experience implantation bleeding. While similar in timing to a woman’s menstrual period, the two are different. Implantation bleeding is lighter than menstrual bleeding.

Implantation Bleeding Symptoms

Implantation bleeding is considered one of the early pregnancy symptoms (at least one of the first easily identifiable signs for a mother). Because implantation bleeding occurs near the time of her next period, many women are confused whether it is a possible pregnancy or a period. Here are other signs of implantation bleeding

  • Light or faint cramping (less than a normal period cramp)
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lower backaches

(These can also be PMS symptoms or ovulation symptoms, so having these along with pinkish/brownish spotting does not guarantee that it has to do with pregnancy.)

What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

Implantation bleeding looks a bit different from the average woman’s period. It is important to remember that not all women have the same kind of blood flow during their menstrual period. Some will have a heavier flow during their period while others may experience a bit more unpredictability.

These are the key differences between implantation bleeding and a period:
  1. Color. Whether heavy or light, most women are familiar with the color of their period (usually a bright to dark red). Implantation bleeding, however, is typically light pink to dark brown (rust-colored) in color.
  2. Clotting. Some women experience a great deal of clotting during their menstruation, while some do not see much at all. Implantation bleeding, however, should not present any clots.
  3. Amount. Most women are able to fill pads and tampons during their periods, but with implantation bleeding, it is different. The descriptor “bleeding” can be misleading – implantation bleeding is usually only spotting or a light flow rather than a full flow. Typically, implantation bleeding is a little pink or brown discharge only when a woman wipes or just enough to get on a pantyliner. It may be either intermittent or a more constant light flow.

What is Implantation Bleeding? (1)

How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?

Implantation bleeding should last only between a couple of hours to three full days. If the bleeding you are experiencing is bright or dark red blood, lasts more than three days, and is a full flow in that you are filling up pads/tampons, it it very unlikely you are experiencing implantation bleeding.

(Video) Implantation Bleeding vs Period | How to tell the difference

Women who are going through their first pregnancy will likely spot or bleed a little bit more than women who are used to the egg attachment. (It is similar to dental flossing of the gums as the first time the gum line is aggravated, it will bleed more, while subsequent times bleeding is lessened.)

However, if your menstruation cycle is shorter than normal (< 3 days), you did not fill up pads or tampons, it was more pinkish/brownish than red, and you had less cramping than normal, it is possible that you are having implantation bleeding.

Why Does Implantation Bleeding Happen?

About 10-14 days after conception (when the sperm joins with the egg), the embryo will implant itself into the wall of the uterus. This movement may break down some blood vessels within the uterus wall and cause some bleeding.

Menstruation occurs around 11-14 days after ovulation (when an egg is released & conception is possible), which is another reason why the two are often confused with one another. Some women may simply believe their period is a few days early. Implantation bleeding typically happens within the week before the expected period.

For example, if you are sexually active and expect your period on January 25th, then you might question any spotting you have between Jan. 18th – Jan. 25th as possible implantation bleeding. It is not common that implantation bleeding would occur before this time or after a period is expected or missed. However, if one experiences ovulation early in the fertility window and the implantation process is quick, or one experiences ovulation late in the fertility window and the implantation process is slow, it is possible.

Women know what their normal menstrual flow looks like, and as long as they are not on any kind of new medication (including birth control and emergency contraceptives) or have a change in stress level, then their menstrual blood flow, color, and consistency are usually the same. So, when this lighter, pink spotting occurs, it will appear a bit out of place.

(Video) What is Implantation Bleeding? | Dr Sumina Reddy | Reproductive Medicine | Hi9

Implantation Bleeding Concerns

Implantation bleeding should not be a cause for concern and should pose no real risk to the developing baby. If you experience bleeding or spotting more than a few days after your missed period, it is not likely to be implantation bleeding. True pregnancy concerns rarely come from implantation and usually occur after the missed period.

Though this post-implantationlight bleeding during pregnancy is not considered normal, there are a few main reasons it may occur:

  • Irritation of the cervix (especially following OBGYN exams)
  • Irritation or small tears from intercourse
  • Heavy or excessive lifting or exercise/exertion
  • Vaginal infection.

At least 50% of women that experience spotting/bleeding (other than implantation bleeding) will go on to have a normal, healthy pregnancy.
Extended bleeding can be a sign of something more serious, especially further on during the pregnancy. Molar pregnancy or miscarriage are two concerns, which is why whenever visiting the OBGYN or other doctors, it is necessary to inform them of current or recent bleeding (especially if it is heavy), as well as any other symptoms you are experiencing.

In your first trimester, be sure to let your healthcare provider know about any spotting.
Let your healthcare provider know immediately about any spotting in your second or third trimesters.
If at any point during your pregnancy you experience heavy bleeding, contact your healthcare provider immediately or consider seeking emergency care.

For women going through nausea/vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain (especially one-sided pain), it is possible you are experiencing anectopic pregnancy, so inform your doctor right away. Cramping is normal during pregnancy, yet if the level of pain during cramping increases, it is recommended to contact a doctor.

Still Not Sure?

If you are not sure which type of bleeding you are having, we recommend waiting three days after the bleeding/spotting stops before taking a pregnancy test. You are welcome to contact our toll-free helpline at 1-800-672-2296 to speak with a pregnancy educator.


Often, taking a pregnancy test before the missed period or during implantation bleeding is just too soon for tests to offer conclusive results. Ideally, waiting a week after the spotting or missed period is most desirable as the results should prove more accurate.

Next Steps

Implantation bleeding is a sign of a potential pregnancy. If you have waited until after your period was due and taken a pregnancy test that delivered a negative result, there is a good chance you are not pregnant. Watching for implantation bleeding while trying to get pregnant is fine, but many women do not experience nor notice implantation spotting even when it does occur.

Want to Know More?

  • Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
  • Getting Pregnant After Ovulation
  • Bleeding During Pregnancy

Compiled using information from the following Medical sources:

1. March of Dimes: “Pregnancy Complications.”

2. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: “What Are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?”

3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Abnormal Uterine Bleeding,” “Early Pregnancy Loss.”

(Video) Implantation Bleeding: What It Is and What to Look For

4. Norwitz ER, et al. Overview of the etiology and evaluation of vaginal bleeding in pregnant women.

5. Moore KL, et al. Answers to clinically oriented questions. In: Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013.

6. Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ038. Bleeding during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


7. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Months 1 and 2. In: Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2015.

8. Mayo Clinic FAQs

(Video) What is Implantation Bleeding? - Dr. Rashmi Chaudhary


What is considered implantation bleeding? ›

Implantation bleeding is exactly what it sounds like. When a fertilized egg attaches, or implants, to the lining of the uterus, some people notice light bleeding or spotting. The attachment and subsequent movement of the embryo in the uterine wall can break down small blood vessels and cause this bit of bleeding.

How much implantation bleeding is OK? ›

How much bleeding is normal? The amount of bleeding with implantation can be different from person to person. Some people may not experience any bleeding, while others may have bleeding that looks like a light period and lasts a couple of days (two to three). “Anything in this range is considered normal,” Dr.

How many days is implantation bleeding? ›

The zygote implants itself into the uterine wall about 3 to 4 days after it has entered the uterine cavity. Implantation bleeding, if it happens, usually only lasts around 1 to 2 days.

What color and quantity is implantation bleeding? ›

Implantation bleeding, however, is typically light pink to dark brown (rust-colored) in color. Clotting. Some women experience a great deal of clotting during their menstruation, while some do not see much at all. Implantation bleeding, however, should not present any clots.

What are positive signs of implantation? ›

Implantation is an essential early stage in conception when cells attach to the uterine wall. Signs of implantation include bleeding, cramps, discharge, and breast tenderness. These can be early signs of pregnancy.

Will a pregnancy test be positive during implantation bleeding? ›

Although a positive pregnancy test is possible during implantation bleeding, it's still very early and your hCG levels are usually very low at this point. You're more likely to get an accurate test result if you wait until your implantation bleeding stops and after your first missed period.

How heavy is implantation bleeding last? ›

Implantation bleeding occurs in the first two weeks of pregnancy. It is generally light and lasts a day or two. Many other factors can also lead to light bleeding in early pregnancy. Anyone who experiences heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should consult a healthcare provider.

How long after implantation did you get a positive test? ›

In 6 to 12 days after conception, a woman may experience implantation bleeding. About 7 days after that, hormone levels in the urine are high enough to detect using a home pregnancy test.

Can failed implantation cause early period? ›

Failed implantation can lead to an early period in some cases, as the body may shed the uterine lining, including the unfertilized egg, earlier than usual. This can result in a lighter and shorter menstrual cycle, often mistaken for implantation bleeding.

Does implantation bleeding hurt? ›

Implantation cramping is a type of pain sometimes experienced when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. This process is called implantation. Cramping sometimes occurs when this happens, but it does not always cause pain.

Is implantation bleeding thick or thin? ›

Texture: The texture of implantation bleeding can vary, but it shouldn't be overly thick. “It shouldn't contain clots,” Lamppa says. Clots typically form with heavy bleeding, so if you're truly experiencing implantation bleeding, you shouldn't have them.

Can implantation bleeding fill a pad overnight? ›

However, while menstrual flow will usually get progressively heavier, implantation bleeding will not. On a pad: Implantation bleeding is usually light and, therefore, should not soak a pad. However, the bleeding may be enough to be noticeable, and a person may wish to wear a pantyliner.

Is implantation bleeding watery? ›

Blood loss during an implantation bleed tends to be light or described as “spotting”. It is mostly pinkish and watery in appearance, though it may also be a brighter red colour or even brown. After lying down for a while or first thing in the morning, the blood may be more of a brownish colour.

How do you feel during implantation? ›

Implantation cramps feel similar to menstrual cramps, though they're usually milder. You might feel a light twinge or prickling, or the pain may feel dull and achy. These cramps happen when a fertilized egg nestles into the lining of your uterus, and they can last for a few days.

When do implantation symptoms start? ›

Early signs and symptoms include implantation bleeding or cramps, which can occur 5–6 days after the sperm fertilizes the egg. Other early symptoms include breast tenderness and mood changes.

How do you predict implantation? ›

Method 1: Figure out your ovulation date first
  1. Length of cycle – 14 days = Cycle day number for ovulation. Was this helpful?
  2. Date of ovulation + 9 days = Date of implantation (give or take a few days) Was this helpful?
  3. Date of first day of last period + 23 = Date of implantation (give or take a few days)
Oct 29, 2019

What is the most common day for implantation? ›

However, the science shows us that implantation most commonly occurs on days 8, 9, and 10 past ovulation. Since it takes a few days for hCG to show up in your urine, the earliest you could get a positive pregnancy test if your embryo implanted on day 8 past ovulation would be day 10.

What do implantation cramps feel like? ›

Women who experience implantation cramps have described them as a prickling, pulling or tingling feeling. You can also differentiate between the two based on timing. Typically, implantation (and any associated cramping), occurs: Six to 12 days after ovulation (the same time when you'd expect to get your period)

Why am I only spotting when I wipe? ›

You may experience spotting instead of a period for a number of reasons, including pregnancy, menopause, ovulation, stress, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other medical conditions, trauma, smoking, and taking birth control pills can also cause spotting.

How thick is implantation bleeding? ›

Implantation bleeding is brown, dark brown or slightly pink. It's considered spotting or light bleeding. It shouldn't be heavy enough to soak through a pad. Implantation bleeding resembles the flow of vaginal discharge more than it resembles the flow of your period.

What happens after implantation? ›

If implantation happens, the cells continue to divide — some cells develop into your baby and others form the placenta. You begin to release hormones that tell your body a baby is growing inside your uterus. These hormones also signal the uterus to maintain its lining rather than shed it.

What are the signs of implantation failure? ›

When an embryo doesn't implant, you might experience the normal symptoms associated with menstruation, such as:
  • Cramping.
  • Bleeding.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea.
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Pain in your lower back.
Aug 1, 2022

How long can implantation delay your period? ›

Most people miss their period around two weeks after conception. That's because conception tends to happen around day 12–14 before your next period starts, which is when you ovulate.

What not to do during implantation? ›

It's recommended that you avoid strenuous physical activities like heavy weight-lifting or high-impact cardio during your two-week wait as it could lead to uterine contractions and affect the implantation process. After the first few days of our waiting period, you can do some light exercising like walking or swimming.

Which side does a girl implant on? ›

Ramzi theory suggests that a healthcare provider can use ultrasound images to detect the fetus's gender as early as six weeks' gestation. If the placenta implants on the right side, the baby's sex is male. If the placenta implants on the left side, then the baby's sex is female.

How does your lower stomach feel in early pregnancy? ›

Your growing uterus is pulling and straining the muscles that support it. You may feel sharp pains or just a mild pulling sensation. It often occurs when you cough, sneeze, stand up, sit down, roll over, or during sex.

What day is implantation cramping? ›

Every woman is different, but implantation cramping generally occurs between day 20 and 22 from the first day of your last period if you have a 28-day cycle, Ruiz says. “You might think that your period is a little bit early,” he says. “There's a sensation that your period is coming.”

Can implantation bleeding last 4 days? ›

In most cases, implantation spotting only lasts from a few hours to a couple days, but some women report having implantation spotting for up to seven days. You may experience some light cramping and soreness during implantation. For this reason, women often mistake implantation spotting for their regular period.

Can implantation bleeding be heavy at first? ›

Bleeding flow pattern: Implantation bleeding starts with light spotting and heavy flow may follow after a few days of light spotting. Whether the women are lightweight or overweight, the implantation bleeding pattern is the same.

Is it my period or am I pregnant? ›

Pregnancy-specific symptoms

“The key difference between the two, however, is that with pregnancy, your period doesn't occur.” Nausea is also a symptom that can accompany pregnancy and is often not experienced with PMS. “The nausea in early pregnancy often resolves after the 12th week of gestation,“ Giles said.

Can you test positive before implantation? ›

Trace levels of hCG can be detected as early as eight days after ovulation. That means you could get positive results several days before you expect your period to start.

Can implantation bleeding have small clots? ›

Are clots a symptom of implantation bleeding? Implantation bleeding will not usually produce a mixture of tissue and blood. If you see clots, you can be fairly sure it is part of your period, not caused by implantation bleeding.

What does confirmed implantation bleeding look like? ›

Implantation bleeding is brown, dark brown or slightly pink. It's considered spotting or light bleeding. It shouldn't be heavy enough to soak through a pad. Implantation bleeding resembles the flow of vaginal discharge more than it resembles the flow of your period.

How do you know if your period is coming or your pregnant? ›

Things like missing your period, sore or tender breasts, feeling more tired and nausea (morning sickness) are common symptoms of early pregnancy. Some people have symptoms of pregnancy before they miss their period. Take an at-home pregnancy test if you think you might be pregnant.

Does implantation bleeding mean implantation is complete? ›

Implantation bleeding can be an early sign of pregnancy and just means your fertilised egg has implanted in the womb. However, if you see blood and are in any way concerned, it's best to get it checked out to rule out any risks.

Will you test positive before implantation? ›

If you take a pregnancy test before implantation occurs, the test will tell you that you're not pregnant, even if you have actually conceived. Since hCG is not yet in your system, the test cannot detect it.

How long do implantation cramps last? ›

The duration of implantation cramping varies from person to person but doesn't last longer than a few days. Some people experience a few minor twinges over a few hours or the course of a day. On the other end of the spectrum, some experience intermittent cramping that comes and goes over one to three days.

How soon will a pregnancy test read positive? ›

In many cases, you might get a positive result from an at-home test as early as 10 days after conception. For a more accurate result, wait until after you've missed your period to take a test. Remember, if you take a test too soon, it could be negative even if you're pregnant.


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