How to Recognize Implantati...

It’s estimated that up to 25% of all pregnant women bleed some in their first trimester, so if this happens to you, you should never panic. If the bleeding occurs in the first three months of pregnancy, it is normally something called implantation bleeding, and if you’re curious about the differences between implantation bleeding and a period, you’ve come to the right place.


What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, trying to avoid getting pregnant, or waiting for a sign that the pregnancy is at least starting out normally, looking for implantation bleeding can help. At a certain point in a woman’s pregnancy, the fertilized egg will snuggle into the lining of your uterus, which disrupts some of the blood vessels there. As a result, a small amount of blood can appear.

Most of the time, implantation bleeding occurs between six and 14 days after the egg is fertilized. It is a normal part of pregnancy and nothing to be concerned about, but if it comes as a total surprise to you, you’ll need to know exactly where the blood is coming from so you can decide whether to panic or celebrate! To make things even more interesting, implantation bleeding often occurs at the time your regular period usually comes, so knowing what to look for is important.


What Are the Main Differences?

If you research information on implantation bleeding vs. periods, you’ll discover the main differences between the two, which include:

  • The length of the bleeding. Implantation bleeding usually lasts one to two days, whereas most women’s periods last three to seven days.
  • The color of the bleeding. With implantation bleeding, the blood is very light and almost rust-colored, whereas menstrual blood is usually bright or dark red in color.
  • The overall flow and consistency of the bleeding. Implantation blood is more like spotting and remains light. Menstrual blood starts out light but gets darker as the days go by.
  • The pain that you feel. When you experience implantation bleeding, you may have light cramping but it is short-lived. When you’re having your period, the pain is usually stronger and longer.
  • The amount of clotting you experience. While menstrual blood may contain clots, which consist of blood and tissue, this rarely happens with implantation blood.
  • The timing of the bleeding. Normally, implantation bleeding occurs around day 20 to 24 in a 28-day cycle. Keep in mind that you can still get pregnant even if you aren’t experiencing a period. If it’s not quite time for your period and the bleeding is very light, it could be implantation bleeding.

As far as symptoms go, being on your period can really suck, and even though the symptoms for implantation bleeding are usually less severe, they can include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Mood swings
  • Light cramping

Some women experience implantation bleeding without any symptoms at all, and the light spotting is the only symptom that lets them know something is different. If you have this type of bleeding and experience a few miserable symptoms, not to worry because they will be short-lived. Whether or not you suffer with some physical symptoms, it is rare that they are severe enough to disrupt your life.


Things to Do to Learn the Differences Between the Two

The differences between implantation bleeding and period bleeding are fairly different so if you pay close attention to the blood you’re experiencing, you should be able to tell which type it is. If it’s important for you to know for sure which one is happening to you, you can track your ovulation by purchasing an ovulation kit that you can find in most drug stores, which are very effective and inexpensive too.

Regardless of what type of bleeding it is, you might be wondering at what point you should seek the help of your doctor, which is a good question. At any time, if you feel uncomfortable or concerned about what’s happening to your body, you shouldn’t hesitate to call your doctor because that’s why you have a doctor in the first place.

Nevertheless, below are some situations where calling a doctor is highly recommended. These symptoms don’t mean for certain that there’s a serious problem, but you need to check them out anyway, especially if you know that you are pregnant and it’s your first trimester. They include:

  • Extra-heavy bleeding or severe pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Diarrhea that is bloody in nature.
  • A fever that reaches over 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A severe thirst, especially if you’re not urinating regularly.
  • A severe headache or a headache that lasts two to three hours or longer.
  • Puffiness or swelling -- especially if it’s severe and comes on suddenly -- in your hands, eyes, or facial area.
  • Pain when you urinate.
  • Sudden weight gain that you don’t feel is caused by your diet.
  • Having thoughts of either harming yourself or harming your baby.

Pregnancy is a time of both physical and emotional changes; some are normal, others aren’t. You should never feel awkward about contacting your doctor for any reason. If you do, it’s time to change doctors.



Implantation bleeding is light, short-term, and usually doesn’t make you too uncomfortable. Period pain lasts longer, is heavier, and can be quite painful. If you experience bleeding around the time you’re ovulating, it is likely implantation bleeding. Nevertheless, you can be a little more sure if you track your ovulation by taking your basal body temperature regularly or purchasing a kit at a drugstore that will let you know.

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