What is implantation?
A successful pregnancy starts with ovulation. During ovulation, the ovaries release a mature egg or oocyte into the fallopian tubes. The egg becomes fertilized from just 1 of millions of sperm present after sexual intercourse or IUI. After successful fertilization, the newly formed cells, called a blastocyst, go on a uterine lining path. The blastocyst stays in the uterus for 2-3 more days. From there, the cells attach or implants into the uterine wall. This is the implantation step.
Is bleeding an implantation symptom?
Bleeding is a common symptom with implantation and is quite normal. The newly formed blastocyst attaches to the uterine lining. When this happens, some tiny blood vessels can become ruptured. This can present as light spotting or bleeding. Note that not all women experience implantation bleeding. This makes bleeding an ineffective gauge for pregnancy.
Not quite a period
While implantation bleeding is expected, the signs are often confused with a period. If the egg is unsuccessfully fertilized, the thickened endometrium and egg leaves the body during the period. Periods often present the same symptoms of implantation bleeding with light spotting at first. The differentiator is the color and duration of bleeding. Most women will experience a pinkish red to brown discharge. A period, however, may present more crimson red. Both cases are not a good indication of pregnancy. So wait a few more days, then take a pregnancy test.
What about cramping?
Like bleeding, cramping is a common implantation symptom. Cramping is a combination of hormonal changes and the blastocyst burrowing into the uterine lining. This process is necessary to start developing the fetus. Similar to bleeding, not all women will feel implantation cramping. Other symptoms that can present include breast tenderness, bloating, nausea, and aversion to certain foods.
A sign of things to come?
Pregnancy has several stages, none as important as when the embryo successfully implants into the uterus. Implantation may cause bleeding and cramping. Both symptoms are perfectly normal and will only happen for a few days. However, these symptoms can easily be confused with a period. The best bet is to wait at least 1 day after a missed period to take a pregnancy test. If bleeding and cramping continue well past this period, speak with a healthcare provider.