Being able to recognize some of the primary implantation bleeding symptoms can give a much-needed burst of hope to women who are trying to conceive. Implantation is a process that occurs very early in pregnancy. Once an egg has been released from the ovary and becomes fertilized, it completes the journey down the fallopian tube and comes to rest in the uterus. The egg will then nestle itself into the lining of the uterus where it will establish a physical connection. This is the process of implantation, which may also be known as “implantation bleeding.” In most women, embedding will occur sometime between 6 to 12 days after ovulation or fertilization.
It can be nearly impossible to determine exactly when fertilization occurred in a woman’s cycle. If you are trying to become pregnant or believe that you may have become pregnant, you are better off keeping an eye out for implantation bleeding symptoms between 7 and 10 days from the date that you believe ovulation occurred. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook or dismiss the signs of implantation because they typically pop up around the same time that one’s period is expected. The following sections describe four signs that could indicate early pregnancy as well as ways that you can tell them apart from typical pregnancy symptoms.
Bleeding is the only real symptom associated with the implantation process that you can actually see. Unfortunately, even this sign isn’t a definitive way to confirm a pregnancy. Bleeding may occur when the fertilized egg, or blastocyst, burrows into the rich lining of the uterus. As the eggs literally fuses to the tissues there, some blood may seep out of the uterus and be dispelled through the vagina. Bleeding during this stage of pregnancy has become so highly talked-about that many women come to expect this symptom as an early way to confirm pregnancy. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 30 percent of pregnant women experience spotting after the egg has embedded itself into the uterine lining. Still, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for this sign, especially if you have been trying to conceive.
You may be wondering how you can tell the difference between pregnancy-related spotting and your period, especially considering the fact that both tend to occur around the same time in the menstrual cycle. Bleeding that occurs in early pregnancy is typically limited to light spotting – sometimes only a few drops. That being said, there have been known cases in which heavier bleeding has occurred at this time during pregnancy. You may also tell the difference between embedding blood and period blood by taking note of the color. As the egg burrows into the uterine wall, so little blood escapes that it can take a long time for the blood to actually exit the vagina. This means that the blood will be “old” in appearance – a dirty-red or brown color as opposed to the bright red blood you would see during your period. If you bleed for more than one or two days, especially closer to the date of your expected period, the less likely you are to be pregnant.
Cramping may also be a sign of early pregnancy. Most pregnant women who experience this sensation early on describe the feeling to being similar to period cramps, only less intense. A dull achiness can occur in the lower abdomen and may even be felt around the cervix. If you feel this sensation, you might be inclined to dismiss it as PMS come early, especially if you experience a bit of spotting along with abdominal discomfort. Women who typically experience a slew of PMS symptoms, such as irritability, headaches, bloating, and bowel changes, may recognize the absence of these symptoms as a possible sign of pregnancy.
Some women use basal body temperature to track the tell-tale fluctuations in their menstrual cycles. If you have been tracking your body temperature throughout your cycle then one way that you may be able to get an early head’s up in your pregnancy is to take your temperature on days 7, 8, 9, and 10 after your estimated ovulation date. During the embedding process, your body temperature will likely drop – which is often referred to as the “implantation temperature dip.” You can use a regular oral thermometer to track this change. Most women find that the most reliable readings occur if temperature measurements are taken at the same time each day. Ideally you should take your temperature just after waking up and before getting out of bed. This will prevent physical activity and other factors, such as a cup of coffee or a warm breakfast, from influencing your temperature reading. If you have not been tracking your basal body temperature throughout previous cycles then you can start prior to ovulation. Keep a notebook with each day’s temperature and keep an eye out for the tell-tale pregnancy dip about a week after you ovulate. Although this is not a definite way to confirm a pregnancy, it is a method that women have been relying on for many years to aid in becoming pregnant and confirming the early stage of pregnancy.
Breast tenderness and swelling may also occur along with some of the signs listed above. As soon as the blastocyst latches onto the uterus, your body will begin to experience hormone fluctuations to begin accommodating the needs of the embryo. Two of the most notorious side effects of such hormonal changes are breast tenderness and swelling. Although it’s usually too early at this point to notice color changes in the breasts (particularly darkening of the areolas), you may begin to feel as though your breasts are heavier or fuller. They may also begin to ache in a manner similar to that which can occur with PMS. In relation to pregnancy, this symptom can be more difficult to differentiate from PMS-induced breast tenderness. However, breast changes caused by pre-menstrual hormone changes tend to go away with the arrival of one’s period; whereas pregnancy-related breast changes tend to persist and even increase in intensity long after one’s expected period.
Although the presence of these symptoms may indicate that you are indeed pregnant, they can easily be overanalyzed. Women trying to conceive may pick these particular conditions out of a slew of PMS indicators out of the driving hope that they have conceived. The only way to get a definitive confirmation either way is to take a pregnancy test. If you are indeed pregnant, you should be able to have a positive reading with a standard test kit about four or five days after you should have started your period.