When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?

Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Ultrasound of embryo implanted in the uterus

If you are trying to conceive, you may be watching for implantation bleeding as a sign of early pregnancy. Bleeding can make you nervous if you are trying to have a baby, but implantation bleeding is normal and natural. You may feel disappointed and suspect that the spotting is the beginning of your period. The good news is that a small amount of blood, such as in implantation spotting, can be a good sign that you have successfully conceived.

When Implantation Bleeding Occurs

According to MayoClinic.com, implantation bleeding occurs approximately 10 to 14 days after ovulation (when the ovary releases the egg). The range of time is broad because it all depends on how quickly the egg moves down the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterus. The duration of implantation bleeding varies. It may be very brief and virtually unnoticeable, or it may last a for a few days with flow that is lighter than or similar to your regular period. If you are experiencing a flow heavier than your normal period, it is most likely not implantation bleeding.

During your menstrual cycle, your body goes through a process that gets your uterus ready to take care of a fertilized egg and make it a nurturing environment to a fetus. If no fertilized egg enters the uterus, your menstrual period begins and the uterine lining that your body has worked so hard to make is shed. However, when fertilization occurs, the blastocyst makes its home in the uterine lining made of blood and tissue, burrowing itself into the lining until it is securely attached. This can cause some discomfort and abdominal cramping. While the egg implants, a piece of lining may separate to make room. This is nothing to be alarmed about and is perfectly normal. The blood or tissue that falls off the uterine lining then makes its way out in the form of implantation bleeding.

Other Bleeding During Early Pregnancy

The American Pregnancy Association suggests approximately 20 to 30 percent of women experience some bleeding during early pregnancy. Women who have sex early in pregnancy may bleed afterwards because the cervix becomes sensitive and engorged with blood during pregnancy. However, implantation bleeding after sex does not always occur. Other women have delayed implantation blood that only shows much later than twelve days after ovulation. Sometimes, bleeding during early pregnancy has no reason. However, if you notice that you are seeing more of it and you are having pain, contact your doctor immediately. You could be having a complication such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Monitoring Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding is normal, but it does not occur in every pregnancy. It is not a reliable predictor of pregnancy, and you should therefore plan to take a pregnancy test when you miss your period to ensure you receive appropriate medical care once you discover you are pregnant. If you experience unusual bleeding or are concerned, contact your gynecologist.

When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?