Implantation bleeding is a type of light bleeding that occurs during early pregnancy. It typically happens about 10 to 14 days after conception, when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. However, not all women experience implantation bleeding, and it’s not considered an important sign of pregnancy.
The amount of blood associated with implantation can vary from woman to woman. For some, there may be only a few spots of blood or mucus-like discharge spotted on underwear or toilet paper after wiping. Other women might experience heavier spotting or light bleeding for several days in a row. The color and texture of the blood may also differ from menstrual flow: implantation bleeding tends to be pinkish-brown, while menstrual flow is usually bright red.
The exact cause of implantation bleeding is unknown, but it’s thought to be a result of the fertilized egg attaching to the lining of the uterus. As this happens, some light spotting or bleeding may occur. This type of light bleeding tends to last for only a few hours or days and doesn’t bring with it any pain or cramping.
Despite being common during early pregnancy, implantation bleeding isn’t considered an important sign of pregnancy. Many women who experience it don’t actually know they are pregnant yet and may mistake the light spotting for their menstrual period starting. It can also happen in non-pregnant women due to hormone fluctuations.
Because of this, it’s important to take other signs and symptoms into account when determining if you might be pregnant. Other common early signs of pregnancy may include breast tenderness, frequent urination, lightheadedness, food cravings or aversions, fatigue, and mood swings.
If you think you may be pregnant and are experiencing any type of bleeding or discharge that doesn’t feel normal to you, contact your healthcare provider right away. They can help determine the cause of the spotting and give advice on what to do next.