What Is Implantation Bleeding?

What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is light bleeding from the vagina that happens in some women 10 to 14 days after conceiving a baby.

You may think it’s just a light period, but it’s an early sign of pregnancy. It’s not dangerous, and you don’t need treatment.

But heavy bleeding (more than you’d have with a typical period) can be a sign of a problem. Call your doctor if you bleed a lot, with or without fever, chills, or cramps that get worse.

Implantation Bleeding Causes

After a sperm fertilizes your egg, the combination becomes an embryo. It travels to your uterus, where it implants itself into the lining.

Sometimes, as the embryo attaches, it causes a little bleeding. It doesn't mean the baby will have problems.

Implantation Bleeding Signs and Symptoms

Implantation bleeding tends to happen before you notice morning sickness. You might have:

  • Blood that’s brown or pinkish
  • Blood that’s lighter in flow than what you get during your period
  • Mild cramping

It’s probably implantation bleeding if you have some of the other signs of early pregnancy, including:

If you’re not sure whether you’re having implantation bleeding or your period, take a pregnancy test or talk to your doctor.

How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?

Unlike most periods, it usually stops after 1 or 2 days.

Implantation Bleeding Treatment

It will stop on its own. If you're worried that you've bled a lot, call your doctor. They may want to know how much blood you saw and what color it was.

Other Causes of Bleeding During Pregnancy

Many things can cause bleeding in pregnant women, some of them harmless and some serious. If you’re bleeding a lot, with or without pain or cramping at any time, call your doctor.

If you’re pregnant and see blood in your underwear, it may be caused by:

Sex. Hormonal and physical changes may be to blame for this. It should stop on its own.

Continued

Fibroids and polyps. Your doctor might do some tests to check for these growths on your uterus.

Cervical problems. Conditions like infection or growths on your cervix can also cause bleeding.

Infection. Sexually transmitted diseases like trichomoniasis can cause light bleeding as well as more serious problems. Starting treatment as soon as possible will keep your baby healthy.

Ectopic pregnancy. This is when an embryo implants outside your uterus. You may have bleeding with pain and cramps. It’s dangerous and needs medical care right away.

Miscarriage. About 15% of known pregnancies end during the first few months. Most women bleed and cramp afterward. Call your doctor right away if you know that you're pregnant and you have these symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on December 16, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

March of Dimes: “Pregnancy Complications.”

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: “What Are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?”

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Abnormal Uterine Bleeding” and “Early Pregnancy Loss.”

Victoria Department of Health & Human Services: “Pregnancy -- bleeding problems.”

UpToDate: “Overview of the etiology and evaluation of vaginal bleeding in pregnant women.”

MemorialCare Health System: “What Color Is Implantation Bleeding? Experts Explain.”

Mayo Clinic: “Bleeding during pregnancy.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Vaginitis.”

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