Implantation bleeding is perfectly normal and extremely common, but many women are unaware of it and may mistake it for a period. It’s rare that it requires medical attention, but sometimes it is best to visit your doctor just to make sure.
What is Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy – it happens a few days before a pregnancy test will be able to accurately tell you whether or not you are pregnant. Implantation happens around 1-2 weeks after the egg has been fertilised, when the embryo multiplies and becomes a blastocyst. It attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, where it will stay until it is born – this process can cause a little bleeding.
Implantation bleeding may cause:
- Cramping – this is usually quite mild, and is one of the reasons that implantation bleeding is often mistaken for menstruation.
- Unusual coloured discharge – this is again similar to the bleeding early on in menstruation, as the blood can cause vaginal discharge to appear pinkish, brown, or even black.
- Light bleeding or spotting – this should last no more than 48 hours, often just appearing for a few hours.
- Occasionally bleeding can be quite heavy.
Women may experience other pregnancy-related symptoms at this time, including tiredness, mood swings, dizziness, headaches, tender breasts, nausea, increased sense of smell, increased body temperature, and food cravings.
What to Do During Implantation Bleeding
Implantation bleeding is a perfectly normal stage of pregnancy and does not require treatment or intervention. It is typically very light and stops within a few days without the need for treatment. Doctors recommend that women do not use tampons during this time, and rely on pads. If you have been prescribed medication as part of your fertility treatment, DO NOT stop taking it unless or until your doctor advises that you do this.
If the bleeding is abnormally heavy (beyond just spotting or coloured discharge), contains blood clots, or lasts longer than 48 hours you should see a doctor as this may be a pregnancy complication.