Implantation Bleeding Explained

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Published On
15 Aug, 2023
Read Time
2 minutes

Implantation bleeding is a topic that often confuses people. So, if you're trying to conceive or are simply curious about the nuances of pregnancy, this article is for you.

In this post, we'll cover what implantation bleeding is, learn when it commonly occurs and what you should expect if you experience it.

What is implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding happens when a fertilised egg (embryo) attaches to the lining of the uterus.

It's often characterised by light spotting and is caused by the blood vessels in your uterus bleeding when the embryo implants. 

What does implantation bleeding look like?

Implantation bleeding typically involves a small amount of spotting that can range from light pink to a rusty colour. This light bleeding can last between a few hours to up to four days and is sometimes accompanied by other implantation symptoms.

You may notice light traces of blood in your underwear, on a sanitary pad or the paper when you wipe after going to the toilet.

When does implantation bleeding occur?

Implantation bleeding typically happens around seven to 15 days after conception and lasts for a few days.

You may find that it happens around the time you'd expect your period if you have a regular, 28-day cycle, but it'll be much lighter than menstrual bleeding.

Is it implantation bleeding or a period?

Implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than a usual period and can be accompanied by some other early pregnancy symptoms which can help you. If you usually have light or irregular periods, the following points may help you differentiate between the two.

   Implantation bleeding Menstrual bleeding
Duration 1-4 days 4-7 days
Blood flow Light or spotting Heavier
Blood colour Light pink or dark brown Bright red
Cramping Light and doesn't increase in intensity Heavier and lasts longer
Other symptoms Nausea Breakouts, bloating and PMS
Pregnancy test result Positive Negative

Is implantation bleeding common?

Implantation bleeding happens in 15 to 25% of early pregnancies, and not all pregnant people experience implantation bleeding, so if you haven't noticed any symptoms yet, this doesn't mean you're not pregnant.

If you do not see any bleeding, it is not a sure sign that you are not pregnant.

When should I get checked if I am bleeding in early pregnancy?

Light bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy is common, but any implantation bleeding that you experience should be short-lived.

If you know you're pregnant and are experiencing heavy bleeding it could be a sign of something more serious (like a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or an infection), so it's best to talk to your doctor or midwife about any bleeding you experience at any stage of pregnancy if you're feeling concerned.