How long does an implantation bleed last? Perhaps this is one question that every woman who is trying to get pregnant asks as this process plays a vital role in conception.
When a woman is actively trying to conceive, there’s that crucial and probably one of the longest two weeks between ovulation or the process of releasing an egg during menstruation among females, and a positive result of a home pregnancy test.
Some women, in fact, spend these two weeks being hyper-aware of every ache and craving, as well as cramp, hoping these are early signs of pregnancy already. Also, another thing that women who are trying to get pregnant look for are signs of bleeding or spotting, which is a telltale symptom of pregnancy. But you know, at the end of the day, you can never tell until you do a pregnancy test and it shows positive results.
Now, while it is really hard to tell whether you are or not pregnant by signs and symptoms alone, particularly spotting, there are many women who go on to have healthy, normal pregnancies have what experts call as implantation bleeding, which they said happens around the time when a woman’s embryo lodges itself into the side of her uterus. But the thing is, how long does an implantation bleed last? How do you know if it is implantation bleeding and not your usual monthly period?
What is implantation bleeding?
First and foremost, since we are talking about implantation bleeding, it is just right that we fully understand what is this all about, right?
Basically, implantation bleed or implantation bleeding refers to light bleeding or spotting that happens between 7 and 14 days after fertilization.
According to the website, What to Expect, “once ovulation occurs, and the moment an egg is successfully fertilized by a sperm, the embryo starts dividing and growing, sending out signals to a woman’s body to prepare for pregnancy.”
When that happens, the endometrium or the walls of the uterus will then start to change. While they have already been thickening throughout every menstrual cycle, the endometrium will have to grow even more and mature to help protect and nourish the embryo, which will stay there for nine months.
Between 6 and 12 days after a fertilized egg attached itself to the interior lining of the uterus, implantation bleeding may happen. The movement of the egg can result in light spotting or bleeding, which is considered as completely normal, and should not require any kind of medical attention.
By the way, the endometrium ensures that there are enough nutrients for the embryo. Once the embryo attaches itself to the endometrium, it automatically becomes reliant on the mother’s body – seeking nutrients and oxygen.
Going back to implantation bleeding, according to studies, around one-third of pregnant women experience it. While implantation bleeding’s timing can be similar to a woman’s menstrual period, it is very important to not be confused because, at the end of the day, the two have differences.
What are the signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding?
As earlier mentioned, implantation bleeding is considered as one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. Usually, it starts around just a few days before the menstrual period occurs. Since implantation bleeding happens at a similar time to that of a woman’s monthly period, many women get confused between pregnancy and a normal monthly period.
Now, to avoid confusion, according to the American Pregnancy Association, here are some of the key signs and symptoms to help you distinguish whether or not it is implantation bleeding:
- Light or faint cramping (less than a normal period cramp)
- Mood swings
- Breast tenderness
- Lower backaches
APA says, however, that these symptoms can also be pre-menstrual period symptoms as well, thus having these plus the presence of pinkish or brownish spotting does not 100 percent guarantee that it has something to do with conception or pregnancy.
What does implantation bleeding look like?
Before we proceed to knowing how long does an implantation bleed last, it is also important that we know the difference between how implantation bleeding look like compared to a typical menstrual period.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, implantation bleeding does look a little different compared to the average woman’s period. In addition, they said that it is important to take note that not all women are the same – each woman has her own kind f blood flow during the menstrual period. While some may have a heavier flow, others may experience a little more unpredictability during their monthly period.
However, even with all these, there are still several differences between menstrual bleeding and implantation bleeding.
Here are some of the key differences according to APA:
Regardless if a woman has heavy or light blood flow during menstruation, most women are familiar with how their periods look like. Normally, an average menstrual period shows off a bright to dark red blood color. Meanwhile, during implantation bleeding, the blood usually appears in light pink to dark brown in color.
Each woman is unique. While some may experience a great deal of clotting during their monthly period, others do not see that much at all. As with implantation bleeding, it typically does not present any clots at all.
– Length of Time
Normally, a woman’s monthly period lasts for about 3 to 7 days. While women who are not on birth control may have the tendency to bleed for a longer period of time, those who are under or taking birth control pills usually bleed for a shorter period or in some cases, do not bleed at all. Meanwhile, an implantation bleeding usually lasts anywhere between a couple of hours and 3 full days.
Majority of women are able to fill in their pads as well as tampons during their monthly period. With implantation bleeding, it’s totally different. The term “bleeding” can actually be misleading, because in reality, implantation bleeding is just a typical spotting or a very light flow rather than a full or heavy flow. Implantation bleeding is usually a pinkish or brown discharge only. Normally, you won’t even notice it unless you wipe your down under. The amount of discharge is usually just enough to get on a pantyliner. Also, implantation bleeding discharge may be either intermittent or more constant light flow.
Now, if what you have experienced around the same time as your monthly period is bright or dark red, and lasts more than three days, as well as you are able to experience full flow that is able to fill in your pads or tampons, then, most likely, what you are experiencing is just your usual monthly period.
However, if what you are having is shorter than the usual 3 days menstruation period, plus you are unable to fill a pad or tampons, and the color is more pinkish and brownish, as well as you experience less cramping than usual, it is probably safe to say that what you are going through is an implantation bleeding.
You see, it really takes a lot of careful observation to tell whether what you are experiencing is implantation bleeding or just your usual menstrual period. Now, if you are in doubt, you can always see your healthcare provider right away.
When does implantation bleeding happen?
As mentioned earlier, implantation bleeding usually happen 6 to 12 days after conception, which refers to when a sperm joins with the egg. The embryo would implant itself into the wall of the uterus. Because of this process or movement, it may lead to breaking down some blood vessels within the wall of the uterus, which causes some bleeding or spotting.
A normal menstruation usually happens around 11 to 14 days after ovulation. However, with implantation, it usually happens within the week before the expected monthly period occurs, which is the reason why a lot of women get confuse between the two.
It is normal though for implantation to happen before your monthly period or after you missed your period. While it may be a challenge for some women to distinguish the difference between the two, for those who are familiar with how their menstrual period looks like it is easier to tell.
How long does an implantation bleed last?
Now that you already know what implantation bleeding is all about, as well as it’s signs and symptoms, let’s proceed to how long does an implantation bleed last.
As earlier mentioned, implantation bleeding is a type of bleeding that usually happens early on in pregnancy. Some healthcare professionals believe that this occurs when an embryo attaches itself to the wall lining of a woman’s uterus. While it is part of the pregnancy process, not all expecting moms will get to experience implantation bleeding or spotting.
For those who may experience this though, generally, implantation bleeding is light and short. It usually lasts for just a few days. However, some women are reported as having implantation bleeding or spotting for up to seven days.
Implantation bleeding normally occurs 11 to 14 days after the egg and sperm get together. Also, around this time you most likely have already missed your monthly period.
Based on studies though, women who are going through their very first pregnancy are more prone to experiencing implantation bleeding or spotting compared to women whose uterus is used to egg attachment.
It is also important to note that implantation spotting is normal and will stop on its own. When this happens, treatments are unnecessary.
What are the other symptoms of early pregnancy?
Implantation bleeding is just one of the many early signs of pregnancy. With implantation bleeding though, you have to be aware that color and consistency of implantation bleeding differ from one woman to another, and also, it depend on the number of pregnancies a woman have had.
However, if you think you are indeed pregnant, apart from implantation bleeding, you must also watch out for other symptoms, which include the following:
- Frequent urination
- Breasts may become tender or swollen
- Food aversions
- Sensitive Smell
While, these may help, it still is not reliable as some or not most of these are also indicators of menstrual period or other health concerns. The most reliable symptom though that you are indeed conceiving is when you missed your period – of course, that is if you do have regular menstruation as women with irregular menstrual cycle may find it difficult to tell as well if they are already pregnant or not.
Now, to be sure, one of the easiest ways to confirm whether or not you are pregnant I through a home pregnancy test or better yet, have yourself checked by your healthcare provider.
Are there any implantation bleeding concerns?
Generally speaking, implantation bleeding should not be a cause for concern. In the same way that it should not pose any risk to the developing embryo. Normally, it should not take long. However, if it does, most likely it has nothing to do with implantation bleeding or spotting.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy concerns rarely come from implantation. Also, it normally occurs after the missed menstrual period. Although post-implantation light spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is not normal at all, experts say there are few other reasons why this may happen, which include:
- Irritation of the cervix (especially following OBGYN exams)
- Irritation or small tears from intercourse
- Heavy or excessive lifting or exercise/exertion
- Vaginal infection.
If you happen to experience any of these, make sure to immediately see your healthcare provider.
When to take a pregnancy test?
One of the most reliable ways to confirm if you are indeed bearing a child is through a pregnancy test. In fact, pregnancy test manufacturers claim home pregnancy tests are up to 99 percent accurate. But when is it okay to take a pregnancy test?
According to experts, you may do as soon as the first day of your missed monthly period. Usually, the test pick up the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG as early as your first day of missed period.
Furthermore, hCG doubles in concentration every two or three days during the early pregnancy period. The perfect time to do pregnancy test actually depends on the sensitivity of your test, and has also something to do with how long it has been since the embryo has been implanted in your uterus.
In addition, experts say that the closer you are to the start of your usual menstrual period, the less chance you will get a false negative result in your pregnancy test. Thus, it is highly recommended to do the test after you missed your supposed first day of menstruation for the month.
However, if you remain unsure about the result, you may as well opt for a blood pregnancy test through your healthcare provider.
When to see a doctor?
Apart from pregnancy, spotting can be a sign of other health conditions – that is why it is important to let your healthcare provider know whenever you experience abnormal spotting or bleeding. Though light bleeding during the early pregnancy stage does not usually mean anything negative (like a miscarriage), it still is recommended to see a doctor to be sure, and to ensure safety.
If you happen to do a home pregnancy test and turned out to be positive, make sure to immediately schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Your doctor will help confirm your pregnancy test result. Moreover, they will be discussing with you your options for family planning, which include prenatal care, as well as discussing choices.
Also, seeing your doctor when blooding or spotting occurs helps rule out any potentially dangerous causes of bleeding or spotting like cervical polyps, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.
By the way, for women who are taking birth control, spotting usually go away over time. However, if the flow becomes heavier than usual, make sure to see your doctor right away.
Furthermore, immediately call your doctor if any of the following happens:
– There is bleeding or spotting after menopause.
– There is vaginal bleeding or spotting in a child before the supposed menstruation.
– You experience heavy vaginal bleeding that fills a pad in just an hour or less.
In addition, see your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
- fever or chills
- fluid or tissue coming from the vagina
- increased pelvic pain
- painful intercourse
- painful or burning urination
- vaginal discharge
- vaginal itching
Meanwhile, if you experience minor or light bleeding or spotting that goes away quickly, you probably no longer need to seek immediate care. However, if you are worried or concerned about it, do not hesitate to schedule a visit to your trusted healthcare provider.
As discussed earlier, implantation bleeding happens when the embryo transfers to the wall lining of the uterus. Also, although not all pregnant women experience it, implantation bleeding is considered one of the most common early signs of pregnancy.
Unlike the normal monthly period, how long does an implantation last is quite shorter? Although, it still is a case to case basis because, at the end of the day, our bodies are different from one another. Thus, in order to be sure that what you experience is indeed implantation bleeding and not something else, it is best to see your healthcare provider.