Implantation Bleeding: 6 Shocking Causes of Early Pregnancy Bleeding

Seeing sudden bleeding spots other than the scheduled time in the menstrual cycle can confuse any woman. It may be a symptom of any reproductive health issue 1or there may arise some anomalies in the regular menstrual cycle.

For, those who are trying to conceive, no need to panic, it may be the implantation bleeding in early pregnancy. It is normal and this is absolutely okay to have mild bleeding during early pregnancy.

If you are intrigued to know more, then stick to the end of the article.

1. What Does Implantation Mean?

What is Implantation Bleeding? | Dr Sumina Reddy | Reproductive Medicine | Hi9

After the fertilization of the egg and the sperm in the fallopian tube, the fertilized egg moves through the female reproductive tract and reaches the uterus.

The uterine lining is highly vascular which provides the best suitable site for the attachment of the developing embryo.

This phenomenon in which the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus is called Implantation. It marks the beginning of pregnancy.

2. Early Pregnancy Symptoms

As the embryo attaches itself to the highly vascular uterine lining, during the process of implantation 2a small amount of blood can appear. This is because the attachment process is slightly invasive in nature.

As the embryo implants in the highly vascular endometrium of the uterine wall, some of the blood vessels may break up and one can experience implantation bleeding. It is one of the various other signs associated with early pregnancy.

It may appear in some women and it is absolutely okay to bleed. It is not necessary that all pregnant women should experience this bleeding.

3. When Does Implantation Bleeding Happen?

For those women having a regular healthy menstrual cycle, the bleeding starts almost 14 days after ovulation or 14 days before the next menstrual period. This is when there is no fertilization and the hormone levels drop down.

But in the case of the occurrence of fertilization, the implantation of the fertilized egg also occurs almost at the same time that is 10-14 days after fertilization. Hence, implantation bleeding is often confused with normal bleeding in menstrual cycles.

4. What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

Implantation bleeding can be differentiated from normal bleeding or menstrual bleeding in terms of its colour and texture.

  • It is generally light bleeding and lasts for a few days as compared to the normal bleeding phase of the menstrual period.
  • One may observe light spotting on the pad or the panty liner. The colour is generally light red, pinkish, or brownish.
  • It does not form clots and thus it has a liquid consistency.

5. How Long Does the Bleeding Last?

Generally, the bleeding does not last for long. It may last for a couple of hours or maybe for one or two days. There might be a continuous steady flow or intermittent flow. But in some cases, it may even last for three to four days. The duration varies from woman to woman.

6. Implantation Bleeding and Menstrual Period Bleeding

Many of us, at first sight, may be confused if it is really implantation bleeding or normal bleeding in periods as both of them occur almost at the same time.

6.1. Colour

Normal menstrual bleeding is generally bright red to brownish in colour. But in case of implantation bleeding,3 there might be some light spotting only. It is usually light red, brownish-red or light pink in colour. The brownish appearance may confuse one with the older blood from the previous cycle.

6.2. Quantity

Generally during the period, one may use a couple of pads or tampons to control the heavy bleeding. In most cases, the amount of blood lost is almost 30-40 millilitres. But in the case of implantation bleeding in early pregnancy, the amount of blood flow is quite less.

Mostly, it is a brown discharge, hardly it can stain one light pad or tampon due to light flow.

6.3. Clots and Mucous

The menstrual blood generally has some clots and mucous in it. But in implantation bleeding the number of clots and mucous are minimal.

6.4. Time Of Occurrence

If someone is trying to conceive and observes bleeding almost at the time of their normal periods or a few days earlier, then that might be implantation bleeding. It occurs 10-14 days after conception.

6.5. Associated Symptoms

In case of true implantation bleeding there might be some associated symptoms and signs of early pregnancy.

These include the early pregnancy signs:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • More frequent urination
  • Breast tenderness
  • Slight cramping
  • Lower back pain
  • Cervical problems

These symptoms may be indications of very early pregnancy. The best thing to do is to get a pregnancy test done.

7. Implantation Bleeding and Pregnancy Test

Implantation bleeding is one of the early pregnancy symptoms. Every spotting or bleeding may not be due to implantation. There are numerous other reasons for bleeding even after conception like sex, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or infections.

So, by observing some bleeding almost about the time of implantation, one may not be sure of the pregnancy. The best thing is to do a home pregnancy test. Pregnancy test kits are one of the most reliable tools to be used.

7.1. When to Take a Pregnancy Test?

Just by experiencing bleeding, it is not necessary to take a pregnancy test immediately. This is because most pregnancy test kits work by detecting the Human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG) in urine. This hormone is generally produced about 10 days after conception.

During the bleeding, the amount of hCG may not be high enough to be present in urine and hence can give a false-negative result in the home pregnancy tests. But blood tests can give a more accurate result.

So, the most suitable time to have pregnancy tests is implantation bleeding followed by a missed period and other common signs of early pregnancy.4

8. Causes of Bleeding in the Early Pregnancy

During the first trimester of pregnancy, pregnant women may experience bleeding. If implantation bleeding occurs, then it is totally normal.

But if there is heavy bleeding and other symptoms which are quite abnormal in early pregnancy, then there might be some other reproductive system and pregnancy issues.

The best way out will be to consult a doctor as soon as one experiences abnormal uterine bleeding.

8.1. Ectopic Pregnancy

As the embryo attaches itself to other parts of the reproductive system like the fallopian tube or the abdominal cavity, it can cause vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy.

8.2. After Sexual Intercourse

As the cervix becomes very tender in the time of early period of pregnancy, it can lead to bleeding during sexual intercourse.

8.3. Increased Chances of Abortion

Bleeding in early pregnancy may also be a symptom of abortion. This may be due to pregnancy complications. The sooner one consults, the better it is.

8.4. Molar pregnancy

This happens when a cellular mass instead of a fetus gets attached to the uterine wall. Along with vaginal bleeding, it may also be accompanied by nausea, the passage of cysts from the vagina, pelvic pain, etc.

8.5. Complete Miscarriage During Early Pregnancy

Bleeding in early pregnancy may also be an indicative sign of complete miscarriage. If an individual experiences heavy bleeding during the first trimester, she should seek immediate medical attention.

8.6. Cervical Problems and Infections

Inflammation of the cervix along with infections such as chlamydia, and gonorrhoea may also lead to vaginal bleeding. These might be the other causes of vaginal bleeding.

9. Is Implantation Bleeding Normal?

Implantation bleeding is absolutely normal. It is a part of a healthy pregnancy. Generally, it happens 10-14 days after conception and lasts for about 1-2 days but in some cases, it might occur before the expected period and the duration varies from woman to woman.

Medically reviewed, most of the time the bleeding is all fine and does not relate to any complications associated with pregnancy.

According to studies, bleeding in the first trimester is common. About 25-30% of women may experience bleeding in early pregnancy.

10. Bottom Line

For every parent, it is their wish to give their baby a healthy life without any pregnancy complications. The first three months of pregnancy are very sensitive. Chances of miscarriage and abortion are very high during the early stages of that period.

Although bleeding due to implantation is absolutely safe in most women if someone is unsure about the type and nature of bleeding, never hesitate to consult a healthcare provider.

Healthy childbirth is an important phase of human development5. Providing quality care to the mother and growing child reduces both child and maternal mortality and also enhances child health. Keeping the pregnant mother under constant check-ups can ensure a healthy pregnancy followed by healthy childbirth.

11. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Do I Know if It’s Implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is never enough to fill a pad or tampon like a menstrual period. Colour: Menstrual bleeding is usually light to dark red in colour, and will look similar to what you normally experience during your period. Implantation bleeding is a very light colour, usually a very light pink or light rust colour.

Q2. What Are the Positive Signs of Implantation?

Implantation is the essential early stage of conception, when cells attach to the wall of the uterus. Signs of implantation include bleeding, cramping, discharge and breast tenderness. These can be early signs of pregnancy.

Q3. Will a Pregnancy Test Be Positive During Implantation Bleeding?

Although a positive pregnancy test is possible during implantation bleeding, it is still too early and your hCG level is very low at this time. You are more likely to get accurate test results if you wait until after your implantation bleeding and after your first birth.

  1. Peven, Kimberly, et al. “Assessment of a Digital Symptom Checker Tool’s Accuracy in Suggesting Reproductive Health Conditions: Clinical Vignettes Study.” JMIR mHealth and uHealth 11.1 (2023): e46718. ↩︎
  2. Kim, Su-Mi, and Jong-Soo Kim. “A review of mechanisms of implantation.” Development & reproduction 21.4 (2017): 351. ↩︎
  3. Harville, E. W., et al. “Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy.” Human Reproduction 18.9 (2003): 1944-1947. ↩︎
  4. Pontius, Elizabeth, and Julie T. Vieth. “Complications in early pregnancy.” Emergency Medicine Clinics 37.2 (2019): 219-237. ↩︎
  5. Allen, Alicia M., et al. “Determining menstrual phase in human biobehavioral research: A review with recommendations.” Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology 24.1 (2016): 1. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Anuradha Saha
  1. This article does a great job in spreading awareness about implantation bleeding, a topic not paid attention to or known by many. It lists the symptoms of early pregnancy, the possible causes of implantation bleeding and if it is dangerous. A really informative article for pregnant mothers and others alike.

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