Implantation Bleeding or Period : 5 Signs of Implantation Spotting

Implantation bleeding or early period? how to tell the difference between the two. Why is my period is light and early. Learn the symptoms, color, flow, duration that differentiates implantation spotting from menstrual period.

What is implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding also known as implantation spotting is a tiny amount of light bleeding that occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus(womb) in order to nourish, grow and develop.

Implantation of the embryo occurs around 6-12 days after conception. For some women, it could happen as early as 6 days after conception or has late as 12 days after conception.

The process of implantation is usually accompanied by mild cramping and in few cases light pinkish or brownish spots of blood. 

What is a period?

A period also known as menstruation is the shedding of the endometrium(uterus lining) monthly if pregnancy does not occur after ovulation.

Menstrual period is a normal part of the menstrual cycle of a woman. And it usually last for 3-7 days.

At the beginning of your menstrual cycle the follicles produce a key hormone called estrogen. The estrogen hormone causes the lining of the womb to get thicker in preparation to house a baby.

Around the middle of your cycle the estrogen hormone reaches its peak and starts declining.

Ovulation is triggered by a surge in luteinizing hormone(LH) when estrogen is at its peak.

Ovulation is the release of a matured egg from the ovaries around the middle of your cycle.

After ovulation occurs a new hormone is released known as the progesterone hormone.

It takes over the job of thickening the lining of the uterus​ where the estrogen hormone left off.

The released egg can only live for 12-24 hours. If it is fertilised by a sperm within this period pregnancy occurs.

If not fertilised, the egg disintegrates and is reabsorbed back into the body.​

Also the progesterone hormones level gradually starts to decline because it is no longer needed to prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy.

The continuous decline of the progesterone hormone causes the lining of the uterus to be shed as blood in the next 2 weeks after ovulation as a menstruation.

But if conception occurs after ovulation, the level of estrogen and progesterone hormone will rise to further thicken the uterus lining in preparation for the implantation of the embryo. 

how to know if it is Implantation Bleeding or Period - 5 key differences

Often women are not sure if the bleeding that are experiencing means there period is about to start or if it is as a result of pregnancy.

Here is how to tell the differences between implantation bleeding and period:


Implantation bleeding is lighter in color that your normal period blood. It is usually light pink or light brown in color.

Your period may be light on the first day but gets darker and more red as your menstruation progresses.


Bleeding from implantation is not a flow of blood but a few spots of blood on your panties. Most women only notice this light spotting when they clean up with tissue or toilet paper.

Whereas, your period is a flow of blood that starts of light in the first day and gets heavy in the second and third day. The flow decreases as you approach the end of your period.​

Your period is heavy enough to soak a pad or tampon. But implantation spotting will not do that.

How Long

Spotting during implantation lasts for a few hours to 2 days. And never gets heavy.

A normal menstrual period usually last for 3-7 days. And it gets heavier as the period progresses.


Implantation spotting happens around 3-7 days before your next expected period date.

Some implantation spotting can happen as close as 1-2 days before your period is due to start. Which is why many women actually think it is their period. 


Both menstruation and implantation both causes pain and cramping.

But the major difference is that implantation cramping is mild and does not cause any discomfort.​

Not all women even notice this mild cramping during implantation.

Whereas period cramps can be severe and gets stronger as the period progresses.

These period cramps are causes by the uterus contracting to shed its lining.

Cramping is both a sign of pregnancy and also a premenstrual syndrome(PMS).

Other Implantation Symptoms

Other sign of implantation to look out for are:

1. Light spotting

2. Mild cramping

3. Breast tenderness

4. Darker areola

5. Mood swings

6. Headaches​

7. Increased body basal temperature​

What does implantation spotting look like with pictures

In case you want to have an idea of what implantation bleeding should look like in pictures. Here you have it:

When to take a pregnancy test

Testing for pregnancy too early can result in a false or negative result. It is recommended you test about a week after a missed period.

Most pregnancy test work by detecting an hormone called human chorionic gonadotropins.

Only a small amount of  HCG is released immediately after conception.

A larger amount is released into the blood stream after implantation has successfully occurred.

Home pregnancy test works by testing for the level of HCG in your urine. Most usually give a positive result when your HCG level is between 15-25 mIU/ml.

Related Topics

Implantation Bleeding Color

Brown Period Blood

What Does Spotting Look Like​

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