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What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

Updated on December 13, 2017

Am I Pregnant: What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Although some say that implantation bleeding does not exist. Many women swear that they themselves, have experienced it and it is in fact an early pregnancy symptom. So what exactly is implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is often described more so as spotting rather than an actual flow that you would experience during your menstrual period. That being said, it is not unheard of to have a light flow around the time that implantation bleeding would occur. This light flow may be described as "implantation bleeding" (usually occurring around 6-12 days past ovulation) or "breakthrough bleeding" (usually occurring when your regular period would be due).

Implantation bleeding is thought to be caused by the fertilized egg burrowing into the uterine lining which is rich with blood. This borrowing may cause some of the uterine lining to be shed and then exit through the vagina as brown (indicating old blood), or pink discharge (some women do experience implantation bleeding as more red in colour). Brown and pink are the most common indicators that the bleeding may be due to implantation rather than a menstrual period.


Implantation Bleeding Facts

  • Only one third of women will experience implantation bleeding.
  • Implantation bleeding is often pink and/or brownish in colour.
  • Implantation may only be one spot, or one to two days of intermittent spotting.
  • Implantation bleeding may be confused for a period. However, it is not a period.
  • Implantation bleeding occurs before your expected period.
  • Some women experience luteal phase spotting leading up to their period which may be confused for implantation bleeding. However, this will turn into a regular period within a few days.
  • Implantation bleeding is not harmful.
  • Some women may experience implantation bleeding but will not notice it.

What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

If you have had unprotected intercourse recently and are experiencing some bleeding earlier than your expected period. You may be wondering what implantation bleeding looks like. Implantation bleeding can be described as bleeding that is;

  • Not like your normal menstrual period.
  • A very light flow, spotting , or a single spot.
  • Pink and/or brown in colour (rarely, although, sometimes red).
  • Instead of getting heavier like a menstrual period does. Implantation bleeding stops.
  • Usually lasts a very short period of time.

Is This My Period Or Implantation Bleeding?

It is not uncommon for women to confuse implantation bleeding their menstrual period. Here are some of the main differences between implantation bleeding and your menstrual period.

  • Your menstrual period usually begins 14 days after ovulation or around cycle day 28(this may vary for some women, for example those with a luteal phase defect). Implantation bleeding will usually occur before your menstrual period is due.
  • Your menstrual period is often heavy bleeding and lasts for approximately 5-7 days. Implantation bleeding may range from a single spot to intermittent spotting for a day or two. This spotting is usually much lighter than your normal menstrual period.
  • While your menstrual period may consist of brown discharge in the beginning or end. It mainly consists of bright red blood. Compared to implantation spotting which is pink and/or brown and not usually bright red.


Reasons For Bleeding During Your Cycle

A woman may experience bleeding during her monthly cycle for various reasons. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Menstruation. If conception hasn't taken place, the uterus sheds the uterine lining at the end of each menstrual cycle for approximately 5-7 days. It then grows a new lining and the cycle repeats. This commonly occurs every 26-36 days (some cycles may be shorter or longer).
  • Ovulation Spotting. Pink and/or brown spotting occurring around the time of ovulation (approximately 14 days after the first day of your last period). When a healthy egg is released and only lasts 1-2 days.
  • Implantation Bleeding. A light spot or spotting, usually brown and/or pink in colour. This spotting usually occurs around 10 - 14 days past ovulation.
  • Luteal Phase Spotting. Light spotting during the luteal phase (the period of time between ovulation and menstruation). This may or may not be due to low progesterone. Many women experience a few days of spotting prior to their menstrual period.

Have You Experienced Implantation Bleeding?

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    • blairtracy profile image

      blairtracy 2 years ago from Canada

      If you are completely unsure when your period is due. Try testing approximately 14 days after the last time you had unprotected sex.

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      Jennifer 2 years ago

      I've had unprotected sex and was due my period for sometime this month. I woke up during the night with really bad cramps and thought it was just my period coming. There was nothing there I just had cramps. The next day I noticed this pink faded blood on my underwear and there was only tiny spots but still getting menstrual cramps. The day after that I woke up with dark red/brown blood and got a bit heavier. I'm not sure weather I'm pregnant or not and don't know when the best time to do a test is.

    • blairtracy profile image

      blairtracy 3 years ago from Canada

      Are you sure of your ovulation date? If you have been temping, using opk's, ect. And are sure of your ovulation day. Have you had a short luteal phase before? It does sound more like a period. However, if you are still concerned wait 2-3 days and use a pregnancy test.

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      Sherry Fletcher 3 years ago

      I supposedly ovulated on the 29th of july an 9 dpo i started having some bleeding that lasted 4 days. It was pinkish brown the first day then turned red the second day the last 2 were pinkish brown again then stopped. I'm confused