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If you are confused or are in limbo, we recommend waiting until sufficient time has passed for you to take a pregnancy test. There is a fair chance that what you might be looking into are the early signs of pregnancy and the next steps would probably be preparing for the little munchkin.
But before we dive into the comparison between the two, let’s quickly brush up on the basics.
First Things First, What is Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is the blood that flows as a result of when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining, which is one of the early signs of pregnancy.
Color Implantation Bleeding VS Period: The Signs!
When comparing period vs implantation bleeding, it is easy to tell the difference between them. To help, here are a few signs that clue you into the condition:
The color of the implantation bleeding is generally pink-brownish. Whereas, menstrual bleeding starts off as light pink or brown but changes into crimson red as the days progress.
The Pressure of the Flow
When comparing implantation bleeding vs period bleeding, the implantation generally has super-light spotting. Whereas, periods start off lighter but get stronger later.
Implantation cramps are usually short-lived and light as compared to period cramps which are usually more intense and last longer. Having said that, most women have their own pain threshold, you know yours best and it’s ideal to listen to it.
In case you notice clots in the bleeding, then it is your period. This is because implantation bleeding does not produce a mix of tissues and blood.
The Length of the Flow
In implantation, the bleeding lasts anywhere between 1 to 3 days whereas periods last between 4 to 7 days.
The consistency of the period starts off lightly and then progressively heavier, on the other hand, the implantation bleeding is more about on-and-off spotting.
Implantation Bleeding VS Period: The Other Pregnancy Symptoms
Listed below are signs you can experience if you are starting your pregnancy:
These pregnancy symptoms are experienced or caused due to the hormonal changes that occur in the body to support a pregnancy. To also point out, these can be experienced during a period too.
Time Period of the Implantation Bleeding
There is roughly a 2-week waiting period between ovulation and the next menstrual period which could get pretty frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get pregnant. Not only that, interpreting these signs correctly could be quite tricky, but luckily the timing with the symptoms (as mentioned above) helps understand the process thoroughly.
Implantation and menstrual bleeding do not take place at the same time. Implantation takes place a bit earlier as compared to when you expect your period.
We’ve mapped the timings here to help compare the dates on your calendar easily.
Day 1 of the menstrual cycle is the first day of your last period. However, most women with normal cycles tend to ovulate (release an egg from the ovaries) at around day 14 or 16. The egg here is only viable for 24 hours post-release, but the sperm has a longer lifespan and can live inside the body for 3 to 5 days. This is why it becomes a little tricky to understand exactly when fertilization occurs, but the fertilization can likely occur in 6 days around ovulation.
Afterwhich, the fertilized egg gets implanted into the uterine wall around the 22nd or 26th day of the cycle. If the body follows a 28-day menstrual cycle, you can expect the next period not until after day 28.
Therefore, if you’re bleeding earlier and lighter in comparison to normal, it is possible that it’s implantation bleeding and not periods.
When To Take A Pregnancy Test?
As you might have observed so far in the blog, differentiating between implantation bleeding vs period isn’t easy, the next best thing then is to know when to take a pregnancy test, given there is a possible chance of getting pregnant.
Pregnancy tests help measure the level of the hCG hormone or the human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood. This pregnancy hormone is made from the placenta that helps nourish the newly developing embryo in a mother.
On the other hand, if you do not wish to do a medical pregnancy test, you could opt for a home pregnancy test with urine. This test is known to be 99% accurate, that is, as long as the test isn’t expired or you’re taking it after the first day of the missed period.
Some might also opt to take highly sensitive urine tests in their earlier pregnancy days, but it is to be known that you could run a risk of getting a negative result, irrespective of you, in fact, being pregnant. In case you get a negative result, but feel the symptoms of you being pregnant, you might want to wait for about 7 more days to retest.
Alternatively, a blood pregnancy test in an administered doctor’s office can also help detect pregnancy as early as 11 days post conception.
Note: hCG isn’t produced until post-implantation, so taking a pregnancy test right after the first sign of implantation bleeding could result in a negative result.
Implantation Bleeding VS Period: Other Bleeding During Pregnancy
If you are wondering about your missed period, there are possible chances there could be another cause.
It is quite common to experience bleeding in the first trimester. In fact, research has shown that a whopping 25% of women experience bleeding in their early pregnancy days. Irrespective of that, any blood occurrence during the trimester days is considered a cause of concern and one must make sure to contact their doctor when it happens.
If the bleeding is light, it could be caused due to simple things such as the cervix being sensitive and/or the development of additional blood vessels, sex, or even a pelvic exam could cause bleeding.
Nevertheless, the occurrence of heavy bleeding or bright red could be a sign of a more serious issue. Causes of these include:
- Subchorionic hemorrhage, takes place when the placenta gets detached from the original implantation site
- An ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1 to 2% of pregnancies. This happens as the egg gets fertilized outside the uterus. If you feel any kind of intense pain on either side or behind, we recommend contacting your OBYG immediately.
- Molar pregnancy is when the mass of tissue develops from an implanted egg instead of a baby
- Miscarriage or as also known as spontaneous abortion is the loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks. This is an extremely common pregnancy complication that occurs at a rate of 15 to 20%. Furthermore, about 80% of miscarriages are experienced in the first trimester of pregnancy.
If the pregnancy tests a positive result and you’re bleeding, no matter the frequency and density, make it a point to contact your medical provider to make sure everything is healthy and safe.
Especially during times, keeping a track of what’s happening in the body could be quite a hectic job. Even more agonizing when you’re not sure or are trying to get pregnant.
It is best to keep track of your calendar to know the first day of your last period and trace down the potential date of conception. You might also want to keep a notepad, jotting down all the symptoms you experience along with the timeline to take an appropriate pregnancy test for an accurate result.
If the bleeding is too much or you experience pain, call your doctor immediately and determine the next steps. It is painful to wait when wondering if pregnant, but there can be no better substitute for your peace of mind.