Implantation bleeding or menstruation? How to tell them apart

Because it appears when the period is expected, many women can confuse menstruation with implantation bleeding , a slight loss of blood caused by the nesting of the fertilized egg in the walls of the uterus.

Not all women experience implantation bleeding and in the absence of menstruation, they suspect the possibility of being pregnant, however when bleeding occurs, it can lead to confusion. We explain the differences between menstruation and implantation bleeding so you can identify them .

When unprotected intercourse occurs on a woman’s fertile days , there is a chance of pregnancy. The egg released by the woman is fertilized by the man’s sperm, giving rise to a zygote that descends through the fallopian tubes to the uterus where it is finally implanted to begin developing the new being.

The lack of menstruation is one of the most obvious symptoms of pregnancy , but in about a third of women, light bleeding or spotting can occur in the days that you expect the arrival of the period, or maybe a little before.

When does implantation occur?

It is impossible to know the exact moment in which the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus occurs, a milestone that begins pregnancy , since it can be different in each woman, depending on whether or not she has regular cycles .

But we can get closer if we take into account that ovulation occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle and that fertilization can occur on the same day as ovulation and up to two or three days later.

Six to ten days after the egg is fertilized , around week 4 of pregnancy , embryo implantation occurs at the time the blastocyst implants in the endometrium.

The blastocyst, a complex cellular structure made up of approximately 200 cells, begins to produce extensions that will allow it to implant in the endometrium (inner wall of the uterus). In some women, this process gives rise to what is known as implantation bleeding, which one or two days later, will descend towards the vagina .

This results in implantation bleeding occurring approximately ten to fourteen days after you have had intercourse, which would coincide in a woman who has regular cycles with the arrival of her period.

How to identify implantation bleeding?

  • Unlike period bleeding, which is usually bright red, implantation bleeding is usually dark red or brown, or faintly pink .
  • It is a light bleeding that can last a few hours, or one to two days (never more than five). While menstruation usually lasts from three to seven days.
  • The period can start light but then the flow increases, which does not happen in implantation bleeding, which occurs once and does not go on .
  • When pregnant, implantation bleeding can often be accompanied by mild cramping in the lower abdomen. Days later, you will begin to experience the first symptoms of pregnancy that will be confirmed with the pregnancy test .

Confirmation of pregnancy

To get rid of doubts, the most effective and quickest thing to do is to take a pregnancy test, however it may be soon for it. For the result to be reliable, it is important to know when to take the test .

It must be done at least one day late to ensure that the pregnancy hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin) is detected, although certain tests claim to detect it from the first week after conception.

If you suspect that you may be pregnant and notice heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain and cramps, you should see a doctor, as it could be related to a problem such as an ectopic pregnancy .

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