Implantation Bleeding Vs Period Bleeding: How To Tell The Difference
Since implantation bleeding is a symptom that can often occur before you test positive on a pregnancy test, it can be hard to know whether light bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy or just normal spotting leading up to your period. And unfortunately, theres no conclusive way to find out.
The best way to know whether youre pregnant or not is to wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test. The timing of when you last had sex might also help you figure it out. If its been more than two weeks, its unlikely that any spotting you’re having is implantation bleeding.
About a third of women who report having experienced implantation bleeding often describe it as distinct from their usual premenstrual spotting some say the blood is darker and not as red compared with normal period blood. Others have mild cramping at the same time as the spotting.
But for many women, the two types of bleeding arent different at all. So youre not alone if you assume that some spotting is implantation bleeding and get your period a few days later, or if you assume that implantation bleeding is normal spotting and end up being pregnant!
What Does Implantation Feel Like
In addition to implantation bleeding in some cases, implantation can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and changes to a persons cervical mucus. Other than general early pregnancy symptoms that may begin to appear, a person may also experience an increase in their basal body temperature.
Spotting Thats Actually A Light Period
Your spotting could actually be a light period, especially if it occurs within a day or two of when you were expecting Aunt Flo. You can probably consider it a light period if other usual period or PMS symptoms are also present. Light bleeding at the beginning or end of your normal period is not typically considered spotting .
But if your period is shorter or lighter than normal, its probably caused by a hormonal imbalance or change. Many things can throw off the monthly flux of hormones that drive your menstrual cycle. Things like chronic stress, a significant change in diet or exercise, or even an underlying medical issue.
If your periods are growing lighter or more irregular, theres an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
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Spotting From Lack Of Ovulation
The hormonal changes leading up to and after ovulation are what trigger your monthly periodif the egg released into your fallopian tube from your ovaries is not fertilized.
Lack of ovulation, or anovulation, will therefore affect your period, like a hormonal domino effect. In fact, you cant have a true period without first ovulating. This is a similar concept to early pregnancy: when your body stops ovulating, your periods also stop.6
Not ovulating can cause a lighter type of bleeding around your expected period.
Not ovulating can cause a lighter type of bleeding around your expected period.
Anovulation not related to pregnancy, or inconsistent ovulation, is not normal. It usually indicates a hormonal imbalance, either temporary or long-term. That imbalance could be caused by many of the other reasons covered in this article.
Being underweight, diet and exercise changes, chronic stress, or a medical issue like PCOS can disrupt ovulation and cause spotting instead of your period.8
Can I Take A Pregnancy Test During Implantation Bleeding
The best way to know whether you’re pregnant or not is to wait a few more days before taking a pregnancy test.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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Spotting Because Of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is caused by an overproduction of androgens by your ovaries. This hormonal imbalance then interrupts or inhibits the process of ovulation.
Your ovaries develop follicles leading up to ovulation. But if the follicle is never released, you may still experience spotting instead of your actual period.
Some other telltale symptoms of PCOS include:
- the presence of multiple cysts on your ovaries
Implantation After A Missed Period
pimptresspt18845 over a year ago
crzyfl4112 over a year ago
Guest over a year ago
Well, between implantation bleeding or period, I would guess implantation bleeding in this case. You usually notice an implantation bleeding somewhere between seven and 12 days after you conceived, if you have one at all , but it could be that the blood took a little longer to come out this time.
You could also be experiencing generic “early pregnancy spotting”, which is quite common too.
Guess what would be on my to-do list right now if I were in your shoes? Getting and taking a home pregnancy test. If you are already six days late, you should have no trouble getting an accurate test result!
Guest over a year ago
Guest over a year ago
Ebabii19 over a year ago
jessie over a year ago
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When Should You See A Doctor About A New Pregnancy
If youve taken a pregnancy test and its positive, go ahead and make your first prenatal visit right away. This is also a great time to start looking into educational resources like the myHealthyPregnancy app.
At the first prenatal visit, youll get a physical exam and other tests to make sure everything is looking healthy, and youll learn about the rest of your prenatal appointment schedule. Youll also get to talk through any expectations and questions you have, such as which foods to eat and avoid while pregnant.
Questions or concerns about your symptoms? Our 24/7 nurse line is free for our members and patients.
Positive pregnancy test? Schedule a visit.
Things To Know About Implantation Bleeding & Early Pregnancy
Many people focus on missing their period as one of the first signs of early pregnancy. You might be surprised to learn that a small amount of blood and some cramping known as implantation bleeding can be a sign of pregnancy as the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining and your 9-month journey begins.
Here are 5 things you need to know about implantation bleeding and how to tell if the bleeding may be a sign of pregnancy or of your oncoming period.
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The Big Question: Is It Implantation Bleeding Or Your Period
So how can you tell if what youre seeing in your underwear or on toilet paper is an early sign of pregnancy or your period? Lets break down the differences.
Everyones period may look a little different, so keep in mind what normal means for you when considering whether or not you could be experiencing implantation bleeding.
How Common Is Implantation Bleeding
According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately one third of women experience implantation bleeding in early pregnancy. All in all, theres no real way to know whether spotting indicates pregnancyonly a test can tell. Bleeding in the first trimester is common, although I would never say normal, says Michael Cackovic, MD, a maternal fetal medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. According to him, about 25 to 30 percent of women will experience some bleedingincluding implantation bleedingin the first trimester.
If you have no implantation bleeding, thats perfectly normal too. Dont worry! It has no bearing on the success of your pregnancy, says , APRN, CNM, a certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic.
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When To See A Doctor
Light bleeding during various stages of pregnancy is typical. It can be caused by a variety of things, such as irritation from a routine exam, sex, or a vaginal infection. This light bleeding does not usually last long, but a person who experiences any bleeding should report it to a doctor just to be safe.
A person who experiences heavier bleeding will require medical attention. A heavy or persistent blood flow that is accompanied by menstrual cramps or blood clots may be a sign of serious complications, such as:
- a molar pregnancy, where a noncancerous tumor develops in the uterus
- an ectopic pregnancy, in which egg implants somewhere other than the uterus causing a medical emergency.
- a miscarriage, which is the early loss of a pregnancy
Spotting Because Of Thyroid Issues
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause bleeding changes in your menstrual cycle. Other symptoms include fatigue, weight fluctuation, and changes in heart rate.
Hyperthyroidism especially can cause irregular or lighter periods
Hyperthyroidism especially can cause irregular or lighter periods, along with weight loss, hyperactivity, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.12 If you suspect you may be having thyroid issues, make an appointment with your doctor. They can check for typical symptoms and test your hormone levels with a blood test.
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Does Every Woman Get Implantation Bleeding
No. Bleeding only happens in 15-25% of early pregnancies1. In most cases, spotting is a normal sign of implantation, but any bleeding should be checked out if youre worried, because it could still be a symptom of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding is usually nothing to worry about. Chances are you may not even know youre pregnant when you notice it. If you notice any spotting around the date you would have your period, and you suspect you are pregnant take a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider and mention any bleeding you have, just so any other factors can be ruled out.
Signs Of Implantation Bleeding
It isnt easy to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and an early period. But here are some signs to clue you in to whats happening.
- Color. Implantation bleeding is more likely to be a pinky-brown color. Menstrual bleeding, on the other hand, may start off light pink or brown, but it soon changes into crimson red.
- Strength of flow. Implantation bleeding is usually super-light spotting. Your period may start off light, but the flow gets stronger.
- Cramping. Cramping that signals implantation is usually light and short-lived. Cramping that comes from your period is usually more intense and lasts longer. Every woman has her own pain threshold: You know your body best, so listen to it.
- Clotting. If you notice clots in the bleeding, you can be pretty sure that this is your period. Implantation bleeding will not produce this mix of blood and tissue.
- Length of flow. Implantation bleeding lasts 1 to 3 days while your period lasts 4 to 7 days.
- Consistency. Implantation bleeding is more like on-and-off spotting. Your period, however, starts off lightly and gets progressively heavier.
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What Is Late Implantation Bleeding
This type of bleeding, also called breakthrough bleeding, is a common condition many women experience during their first trimester. Some women mistake it for a period because of its timing and resemblance to a light flow. Still, the difference is that late implantation occurs around week 6 or 7 of pregnancy. In contrast, a typical period usually begins two weeks after ovulation, putting it at about week 4 or 5 in the pregnancy cycle.
Women who have been trying to get pregnant may not realize they are pregnant when they have this type of bleeding. In fact, late implantation can be one sign that leads them to test for pregnancy.
A woman who experiences a heavy flow of late implantation bleeding should immediately see her doctor to make sure it does not signal a miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester, and very early pregnancy symptoms are often missed by women because they do not recognize them as signs of pregnancy.
When Should You See A Doctor
There are many possible causes for vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Doctors take it seriously and encourage pregnant people to report it.
If youre not pregnant but also not 100 percent confident that your bleeding can be easily explained , then you should report that to your doctor, too!
Heres some more info on making the decision.
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Check For Other Symptoms
Associated pregnancy symptoms may also help a person identify the difference between implantation bleeding and menstruation.
One easily identifiable symptom is morning sickness. A feeling of nausea first thing in the morning may be a sign of pregnancy and is usually not a sign of regular menstruation. This nausea may also occur as a result of certain everyday smells, such as meat, garlic, or pets.
Another symptom caused by implantation is cramping, which occurs as the egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. These cramps are often very light compared with those that many females experience during a regular period.
Tenderness in the breasts may also be a sign of pregnancy, especially in females who do not experience breast soreness during menstruation.
Other symptoms may be harder to gauge, such as mood swings and food cravings. These can be a sign of both pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome .
What Does Spotting Look Like
Spotting usually means just a few, well, spots of blood on your underwear or toilet tissue. Some experts claim spotting that starts brown or wine-colored and becomes a brighter red is most likely the start of your period. But George Patounakis, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG, a fertility specialist in Florida, says Googling pictures won’t help if you’re wondering if your bleeding is due to implantation. “There’s no way to tell the difference between intermenstrual bleeding and implantation bleeding just by looking,” he says.
To determine whether you have implantation bleeding or your period, you should pay attention to the following three symptoms and characteristics instead.
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Food And Odor Aversions Or Cravings
Aversions to certain foods or odors are caused by your bodys hormonal changes during the first trimester of pregnancy. You may start to despise the way your favorite dinner smells or tastes, or, on the flip side, you may crave certain snacks, meals, beverages or food combinations.
When it comes to cravings or aversions, listen to your body. Its okay to occasionally indulge in late-night ice cream runsjust don’t overdo it. Talk to your OBGYN if youre unable to stomach major food groups like vegetables or whole grains. The two of you can discuss foods that can easily be substituted in.
Other Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Only one-third of pregnant women will experience implantation bleeding, so it is not a guaranteed sign of pregnancy. Therefore, it is good to know some of the other signs of pregnancy.
Before you even get a positive pregnancy test, you may notice some of these additional signs whether or not implantation bleeding occurs.
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Implantation Bleeding Vs Period: How To Tell The Difference
How can you tell if its implantation bleeding or your period? Depending on how you typically experience menstruation, this could be a bit of a waiting game. Implantation bleeding is usually lighter than a normal period. If you experience bleeding thats considered to be heavy spotting or bleeding, that would be more than implantation bleeding, Lamppa says. But if you tend to have light periods anyway, you might not notice a huge difference.
Your period will typically last longer than implantation bleeding, Macleod adds. If you bleed for a day or two, its more likely to be implantation bleeding. If it stretches beyond that time frame, you may have gotten your period. Still not sure? Wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test.
Timing Of Implantation Bleeding
The 2-week waiting time from ovulation to the next menstrual period can be pretty frustrating if youre hoping to be pregnant. Interpreting the signs correctly can be tricky, but luckily, sometimes timing in addition to the symptoms above can help you pinpoint whats going on.
Implantation bleeding and menstrual bleeding dont happen at quite the same time. Implantation bleeding happens a bit earlier than when you would expect to get your period.
Lets walk through the timing, so you can compare dates on your calendar. Day 1 of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your last period. Most women with normal cycles ovulate, releasing an egg from the ovaries, around day 14 to 16.
The egg itself is only viable for about 24 hours after being released, but sperm can live inside your body for 3 to 5 days. Its hard to know exactly when fertilization occurs, but the fertilization window is likely the 6 days sandwiched around ovulation.
The fertilized egg then implants into the uterine wall around days 22 to 26 of your cycle. If your body follows a 28-day menstrual cycle, you wont get your period until after day 28.
So, if youre bleeding earlier and lighter than normal, theres a good chance its implantation bleeding, not your period.
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