Implantation Bleeding vs. Period

Reviewed on 8/26/2020

What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding will appear as light vaginal bleeding or spotting. This is a normal early sign of pregnancy, but your doctor should be notified of any bleeding during pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding will appear as light vaginal bleeding or spotting. This is a normal early sign of pregnancy, but your doctor should be notified of any bleeding during pregnancy.

Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy that occurs when a 6 to 12-day-old fertilized egg attaches to the inner lining of the uterus, resulting in light vaginal bleeding or spotting. It is a normal experience that typically happens near the time of a woman’s next expected menstrual period.

What Is a Menstrual Period?

A menstrual period is when blood and tissue from the uterus is expelled through the vagina. In most women, this happens monthly. 

A menstrual cycle is how the body prepares for the possibility of a pregnancy. Hormones in the body cause the eggs in the ovaries to mature and the lining of the uterus thickens in case the egg is fertilized by sperm. The lining of the uterus is made of blood and tissue. If pregnancy does not occur, the body sheds this lining, which flows out of the body through the vagina during a monthly menstrual period. 

Periods typically start in girls during puberty, around the ages of 12 to 14, but some girls may get them earlier or later. Menopause – when periods stop – usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55 years old.

What Are Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding and Periods That Are Similar?

Symptoms of implantation bleeding and periods that are similar include:

What Are Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding and Periods That Are Different?

Symptoms of implantation bleeding that are different from menstrual periods include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting that
    • Is light pinkish or brownish – usually slightly different in color than a woman’s normal menstrual period
    • Occurs near the time of a woman’s next expected menstrual period
    • Only lasts 1 to 3 days
    • Does not contain any clots, as with menstruation 
  • Mild cramping (lighter than normal period cramps)
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Increased urination
  • Food cravings
  • Vomiting (morning sickness)

Symptoms of menstrual periods that are different from implantation bleeding include: 

  • Vaginal bleeding that
    • Is darker in color than implantation bleeding
    • May contain clots
    • Occurs every 21 to 35 days
    • Lasts from 1 to 7 days; on average, 3 to 5 days
  • Bloating
  • Fluid retention
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Acne
  • Abdominal cramps (are usually more significant than cramps from implantation bleeding)
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Trouble sleeping

QUESTION

The first sign of pregnancy is most often: See Answer

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Reviewed on 8/26/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference