Implantation Bleeding or Period

Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy. The fertilized egg travels down the Fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it implants into the uterine lining. When it does, the tissue that forms around the egg, known as the trophoblast, may damage some of the mother’s blood vessels in the uterus, resulting in a small amount of blood leaking from the cervix and down the vagina.

Learning how to recognize implantation bleeding may be an early clue for some women that pregnancy has begun. Here is how to recognize whether or not you are just having your period early or having implantation bleeding.


The Primary Signs of Implantation Bleeding

Examine the color and quantity of the bleeding. This will help to distinguish between pregnancy implantation and the start of a regular menstrual cycle. Implantation bleeding does not usually resemble bleeding during a normal period. It will be lighter, and of lower quantity. Sometimes, implantation bleeding can just be spotting for a few hours, or even a single spot.

  • Implantation bleeding typically consists of a discharge with a pink or brownish tint. It is often darker than period blood because it takes time for the blood to travel from the uterine wall through the vagina.
  • The amount of bleeding is relatively light, and will only last a couple of days. For some women, the flow will resemble a very light period, which is why confusion between the 2 occasionally occurs. The majority of women find that menstrual blood is more of a red color and will become heavier within a day or two.

See if you are having cramps. Pregnancy bleeding from implantation may include some mild cramping as the egg implants and the uterus is changing to accommodate the embryo. However, cramping with implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than what women might experience with a regular period. The tricky thing is that the symptoms of early pregnancy are similar to the symptoms you may feel right before your period.

  • If the abdominal cramping continues to increase, it could indicate a regular period or problem with the pregnancy, such as an ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, the pain might be associated with a completely different medical condition, such as appendicitis or a bladder infection.
  • Any pain that does not appear to be from your normal period and does not subside on its own within a couple days should be checked by a doctor. Patients that have pain that continues to intensify, or patients that develop other symptoms like fever, chills or heavy bleeding, should see their doctor as soon as possible.

Consider the timing. Implantation bleeding during pregnancy usually occurs 6 to 12 days after conception–close to the time when the next menstrual cycle is expected. Ask yourself when was the last time you had sex. If more than a month or two has passed, then it is unlikely that what you’re seeing is implantation bleeding.

  • Since implantation bleeding may be confused with the normal menstrual cycle, some women are surprised to discover their pregnancy is a month further along than they originally estimated.
  • Once the pregnancy is confirmed at a doctor’s office, the physician can use other testing to determine the correct gestational age of the fetus, particularly if implantation bleeding has left some question about when the last real menstrual cycle occurred.

Other Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding

Soreness in your breasts. Sore and tender breasts are a common symptom of pregnancy. Throughout your pregnancy, your breasts will get larger and your nipples may darken and grow. However, sore breasts are also a sign that you’re about to get your period.

Feeling nauseous. Morning sickness is a very real thing. Many expectant mothers feel morning sickness during the early part of the day; it is a feeling of nausea and an aversion to smells that previously had no effect on you, such as the smell of strong coffee. You may even be vomiting in the morning, which will be a sign that something is up.

Feeling dizzy. If you are suddenly getting dizzy when you stand up quickly, walk up stairs, or just for no reason at all, then you may be pregnant.

See if your bathroom routine change. If you are urinating a lot more frequently without any reason you can think of, or if you are suddenly constipated while previously not having any trouble with your bowels, then you may be pregnant.

Tiredness. Many women are also fatigued during the first semester of their pregnancy. If you are feeling unusually tired while getting plenty of rest and not feeling overly burdened for any reason, then your pregnancy may be the cause.

Mood swings. Pregnancy comes with some serious hormonal changes that can have a major impact on your mood. You could be crying one minute and then feeling ridiculously happy the next minute for next to no reason. See if you are suddenly sobbing while watching a corny movie or seeing a sad story on the news. Of course, again, mood swings are also a pre-menstrual symptom.


  • Some home pregnancy tests are not an accurate predictor of pregnancy until the day after a missed period, so read the packages carefully. If the implantation bleeding occurs prior to this time, you may have to wait a few days to find out if the bleeding really was due to pregnancy implantation or another cause.
  • Bleeding is also a sign of cervical cancer. If you are over 30, a pap test will rule out this serious possibility.
  • You may experience a number of these symptoms and can still not be pregnant. The best way to know if you’re pregnant and if what you see on your underwear is really implantation bleeding is to leave it to the health care professional. Make an appointment with your doctor or at your local Planned Parenthood clinic and you’ll have the results in no time at all.
  • You can also start by taking a home pregnancy test, but you have a better chance of getting accurate results if you go to a doctor or a clinic.