Understanding Implantation Bleeding: Signs and Symptoms

Implantation bleeding occurs when a fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus(womb) in order to develop and grow.

Not all women experience bleeding during implantation. About 33% of women only experience it. And don't be worried if you think you're pregnant but didn't see any spotting, you may still be pregnant.

Cramping during implantation is a slight or mild pain in the uterus(womb) that occurs when the fertilised egg tries to attach itself to the lining of the womb.

When the fertilised egg is burrowing through the uterus lining it may cause some prickling pain or light prickling in the lower abdomen.​

Implantation usually occurs 7 days after conception. But it could happen earlier or later. Every woman is different. For some women it could start as early 7 days after conception.

While for some women, the egg reaches the uterus on day 7 after fertilisation but it doesn't start implantation until day 12.

Here are the stages of Implantation:

Stage 1:

The sperm penetrates the egg and fertilisation occurs.

The fertilised egg then starts to divide into multiple cells.

It remains in the fallopian tube for about 3 days.​

Stage 2:

After 3 days the egg continues his journey down to the uterus while still dividing. 

It is propelled by the millions of little hairs in the fallopian tube called cilia.

​It arrives in the uterus(womb) 6-7 days after conception.

Stage 3

Now in the uterus, the blastocyst (ball of cells) has to implant itself to the uterine lining.

The lining of the uterus is called endometrium. And it has been thickened to nourish ​the egg by the estrogen and progesterone hormone.

The blastocysts, secretes an enzyme to dissolve the thickened uterine lining.

And embeds itself into the lining to nourish, grow and develop.​

This implantation process may cause light bleeding and cramping.

It usually last for a few hours or for 2 days and it is lighter than your normal period.

​If you notice any heavy bleeding and you suspect, you are pregnant, go to the doctor immediately.

other causes of bleeding in early pregnancy are: Ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, molar pregnancy.

What Does It Look Like?

Implantation spotting is lighter and scanty spots or stains of blood. It is unlike a normal period. It is usually bright red or light pink or brown in color.

It does not get heavy and stops around a few hours or 48 hours.​

It also does not contain any blood clots like period does.​

Light or Mild Cramps

Cramping a week or few days before period could either be PMS or an early pregnancy sign.

Not all women experience implantation cramping. And the few that do experience them don't recall it as severe.

Pink or brownish discharge

A light pink or brown discharge just a few days before your next expected period is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. 

Breast Changes

Engorged or tender breast are the commonest early complaints of pregnancy.  They are due to changes that occurs in the breast tissues in preparation for the baby later.

The areola gets darker and the nipples feels more sensitive.​


Due to the heightened hormones during pregnancy. A woman may start to have swings in her mood and emotional roller coaster.

Frequent Urination

As the uterus expands during and after a successful embryo implantation, you may start to feel some pressure on your bladder. This causes you to want to visit the toilet more than usual.

Tiredness and Fatigue

A lot of metabolic changes are going on in your body right now. And your body is adjusting to the process of growing a baby.

It is not surprising that you may feel extreme tiredness and you may not be able to carry on as you did previously.​

Also an increase in progesterone hormone, also adds up to why you may feel tired and sleepy in the early weeks of pregnancy.


Another common sign of pregnancy is nausea. Although commonly known as morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day.

Although the cause of morning sickness is not fully known, It is thought to be caused by increased level of hormones.​

Pregnancy Testing

There are various ways to test for pregnancy. But the most common is to perform a home based urine testing by getting a pregnancy kit.

Urine Testing

Once implantation is successful, an increasing amount of human chorionic gonadotrophins (HCG) is released into the mother's blood stream.

Even though HCG has been secreted from the moments of conception, it is until implantation happens before a detectable amount is released.

Pregnancy test strips are designed to detect atleast 25mIU of HCG in the urine. 

If you have a negative pregnancy test but you feel you may be pregnant, test again a week after your period is over.

Blood Testing

You can also go to the doctor or midwife for a blood test to detect pregnancy. A blood test is more accurate than the home test kits. Especially if done after a missed period.

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