If you have been trying to conceive for months, or even years, every little sign or symptom can set your mind racing. One of those little signs that most women keep an eye out for is implantation bleeding.

What is Implantation Bleeding?

Once ovulation occurs, progesterone helps to prepare the uterus for the implantation of the fertilized egg. Even if you do not conceive, this process will occur each month.  If implantation does not happen because no egg was fertilized, the thickened uterine wall will shed away every month during your period. This bleeding will typically last from three to seven days.

Upon the release of a mature egg from the ovary, progesterone production is increased by the corpus luteum. This hormone will continue to stay elevated all the way through your pregnancy, creating physical changes to help your body adapt to the budding fetus. For the first three weeks of the month prior to ovulation, the uterine wall is very thin and has low blood flow. However, when progesterone starts to increase, so too does the blood flow in the uterus and the uterine wall becomes thicker.

It is thought that the moment of implantation occurs when the blastocyst (fertilized egg) embeds itself into the uterine lining. Bleeding occurs when the tissue in which the fertilized egg is encased – known as the trophoblast – scratches a few of the mother’s blood vessels upon entering the uterus. When this occurs, a miniscule amount of bleeding occurs and since the cervix is still open, this blood travels from the uterus and out the vagina.

The Mayo Clinic defines implantation bleeding as bleeding that appears 6 to 14 days after conception has taken place.

What does Implantation Bleeding look like?

Implantation bleeding is similar to spotting. It is light in volume and pale-pink to brown in color.  It also lasts from just a singular occurrence to spotting over a 48-hour period.

It is possible to confuse implantation bleeding with your period, and vice versa. However, a general rule of thumb is that if the bleeding you are experiencing is sparse, pink, spotty, and you don’t need to change (or use) a tampon or pad, then it is most likely implantation bleeding.

A small amount of blood is likely to always be discharged during each implantation. Nevertheless, sometimes the bleeding is so light that it may not even be noticed.

Approximately 30 percent of all pregnant women have experienced implantation bleeding. However, the viability of a pregnancy does not increase just because there is evidence of implantation bleeding.  Even if you do not have any implantation bleeding, it does not mean that you are not pregnant or that there is an issue with your pregnancy.

To truly know whether you are pregnant, it is best to wait until you have officially missed a period and then take a home pregnancy test. Or schedule an appointment with your doctor to have a pregnancy blood test done.