What Is Implantation Bleeding?
When a couple is trying to conceive, whether naturally or using an assisted reproductive technology (ART), the female is typically hyper aware of what’s going on in her body. The smallest changes are noticed and excitement is felt over what could possibly be a sign of pregnancy.
While the changes are often exciting, they can sometimes be cause for worry. Spotting and bleeding are among those changes that make a woman anxious. However, bleeding is sometimes just a natural part of the process. Implantation bleeding is one example.
Implantation bleeding can occur when the embryo implants inside the uterus. Anywhere from six to 12 days after fertilisation, the embryo moves through the fallopian tubes to the uterus and attaches itself to the endometrium (the wall of the uterus). The embryo can disrupt tiny blood vessels in the spot where it attaches and this can cause light bleeding. It can be red, pink or even brownish in colour.
Because a pregnancy hasn’t been confirmed yet, this bleeding can be interpreted to be a part of the monthly cycle and a sign that there is no baby on the way. According to implantationspotting.net – an entire website dedicated to the topic – implantation bleeding can last anywhere from a couple hours to one or two days.1 Whattoexpect.com advises women to wait a bit and then take a pregnancy test. “… For many women, the two types of bleeding aren’t different at all. So you’re not alone if you assume that some spotting is implantation bleeding and get your period a few days later, or if you assume that it’s normal spotting and end up being pregnant!”2
If pregnancy is confirmed, note that some light bleeding during pregnancy is not necessarily a cause for concern. It can be caused by irritation of the cervix after a pelvic exam, or by an infection or sex. But to be safe, always consult your doctor to be sure that it’s not a sign of an ectopic or molar pregnancy or a miscarriage.
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