Implantation Bleeding or Period: How Can You Tell the Difference

If you have been trying to get pregnant or are in hopes, every little change that your body experiences makes your heart skip a beat. In fact, you must have already read up a lot about pregnancy and the symptoms and signs. Well, there are two signs that help you figure it out – implantation bleeding and a missed period.

But how exactly are you going to differentiate between the two? If you go by the anecdotes, implantation bleeding is a lighter version of periods. Sometimes, it is exactly like your normal cycle would be.

To overcome this confusion, here are a few things you can tick mark to see whether you are pregnant or not.

Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest pregnancy signs, revealing itself even before you can notice that your period is late. It is more or less like a slight bleeding but in pink or brown-ish colour. It does not happen in every pregnancy, and if it does lasts only for a few hours. However, in rare cases the implantation bleeding may continue for 1 to 2 days which is why it is often mistaken to be the beginning of a new menstrual cycle.

It would be better if we understand the entire concept, before we leap in to differentiate.

You may conceive a baby during ovulation or right after it ends. The period when you are the most fertile is usually the middle of your period cycle. For example, if your periods last for about 30 days, the most fertile period is the 13th to 16th days of the cycle. It requires about 10 days for the mature egg to move from the ovary to the fallopian tubes. Thus, the process of the gg implanting itself in the uterine walls begins on the 28th day or so of the cycle. this is why the bleeding due to implantation happens towards the beginning of the new cycle and is confused with periods.

The things you must know about implantation bleeding is that this is totally normal and probably the first sign of being pregnant. Post the bleeding; your body will launch various hormonal drives to get ready for the baby. You also should remain assured that spotting during implantation has no adverse effect on the pregnancy. It actually lets you find out about the pregnancy even before a test can confirm it.

However, if you experience severe pain in your lower abdomen or see tissues or chunks in the blood, it could be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. If this is the case, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Leading Signs of Implantation Bleeding

  • In most of the cases, the discharge is slight bleeding lighter or may be even darker than the usual period blood. Actually, some women only spot a few drops of blood on their panties which are not even bright red. Usually the discharge is pink-ish or yellow-ish with few blood streaks.
  • Bloody discharge during implantation is caused mainly due to the destruction of tissues when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine walls. Around this time you may also experience slight cramps which feel like the pulling of muscles in the lower abdomen.
  • You must know when the first day of your last cycle was. With a regular cycle of 28-30 days, ovulation would take place between the 13th and 16th days of the cycle and in another 10 days; the fertilized egg would be ready to be implanted in the uterine walls. Therefore, the bleeding post implantation may be experienced 2 to 7 days prior to the next cycle.
  • As a rule, the duration of implantation bleeding is a few hours, maybe 1 to 2 days in some exceptional cases. Implantation bleeding lasting for 5 to 7 days is abnormal.
  • In the second half of the menstrual cycle the basal body temperature rises above 98.6°F and stays at that level for about 2 weeks or so. If implantation happens, basal temperature drops below 98.6°F and a sharp rise afterwards.

Other Early Signs of Pregnancy

  • Mood swings,
  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea,
  • Sore breasts,
  • Sensitivity to smell,
  • Elevated basal temperatures.

Other Causes of Spotting

If you experience spotting and are not sure whether it is due to being pregnant or not, there could be other underlying causes like –

  • Birth control pills alter your hormones to avoid fertilization of the egg. This is why, some women experience spotting when they start taking hormonal pills. If it lingers, you should opt for a different barrier method.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is where multiple cysts grow in the ovaries. This can lead to bleeding and even difficulty in getting pregnant.
  • Benign growths like cervical or uterine fibroids or polyps can also cause bleeding.
  • Infections like the UTI or Bacterial Vaginosis can cause bleeding if they are left untreated for a while.
  • Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases also have spotting as a symptom.
  • The transition during menopause is the time when the hormone levels can vary widely, which sometimes causes spotting or irregular periods.
  • Any major spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy could also indicate miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

Menstrual Cycle

Periods or menstruation is the monthly bleeding every woman experiences. Usually, this cycle happens after a break of 28 to 35 days, varying from woman to woman. It lasts for an average of 3 to 5 days and the bleeding is quite heavy especially the first 2 days.

Symptoms during Menstruation

  • Cramps in the lower abdomen, pelvic region, back and legs,
  • Bloating or slight weight gain,
  • Tender, sore breasts
  • Mood swings,
  • Headache,
  • Fatigue,
  • Acidity,
  • Nausea,
  • Diarrhea.

Ways to Differentiate Between Implantation Bleeding and Periods

Timing – the implantation bleeding generally starts a week before your period is due. So, if you have been trying to get pregnant and have spotting or slight bleeding prior to the actual date of your period, it could be a sign of pregnancy.

Periods on the other hand, are very punctual. They usually happen at a time difference of 28 to 31 days. If you experience your periods irregularly, you should go see a doctor. It could be a sign of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Discharge – the spotting you see during implantation bleeding is usually pink-ish or bright red in colour. In some cases, it could be a shade of brown. However, there are no other discharges along with it. You should not see any chunks or tissue coming out. if you do, it could be due to miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy and should see a doctor.

Whereas during periods, bleeding can range from a shade of red to brown, depending on the cycle. If you see brown coloured blood during the start or end of a period, it could be the old blood. Otherwise, you should see bright or deep red coloured blood. Apart from this, some women also have chunks or tissues in the blood, which is the lining of the uterus.

Occurrence – implantation bleeding occurs when a woman is pregnant and the gg is attaching itself to the uterus.

Periods are like a regular cycle, that happen every month when the uterus shed its lining if the egg is not fertilized.

Blood Flow – during implantation bleeding, the flow is very light almost like small spots on your pad. If it is more than that, you should be concerned.

During periods, the flow is heavier and you would require to change your pad or tampon every six to eight hours.

Cramping and Pain – implantation bleeding as well as periods can cause cramping and pain in the body.

It occurs during implantation because the egg is being fertilized and is planting itself in the uterus.

During periods, it occurs because the uterus sheds its lining and prepares for a new one.

Duration – with implantation bleeding, it may come and go. There is very little consistency. Some women experience the spotting for a few hours, while others may have the bleeding for one to two days. However, if it exceeds this time frame, it is either a normal period or a cause for concern.

Periods contrary to this, last for anywhere between four to seven days. The bleeding is consistent and there are no breaks or stopping between the flow.

Basal Body Temperatures – during implantation bleeding the basal temperature of the body shall experience a slight raise.

During periods the temperature usually drops a little, as compared to normal. If you experience a higher temperature during your periods it could be a sign of an underlying problem.

Pregnancy Test – if you take a test during this time, it will show positive. However, some times the bleeding occurs a little sooner and there are not enough hormones in the body to affect the result of a test. In that case, you must wait for another three to four days before taking a test. Usually, the tests are accurate if taken after two weeks of having sex.

During periods, if you take a test, it will show negative on the bar.

This is the surest way to find out whether you are pregnant or not without having to visit a gynaecologist.

Home Remedies for Implantation Bleeding Pain

    1. Relaxation – the most common reactions to unexplained bleeding or cramps are stress and fear. But stress can cause your body to become tensed, which increases the discomfort. If you are feeling stressed, take a minute to sit down and relax. You can opt to listen to some meditation guide for peace of mind. Take slow, deep breaths and let the stress or fear go.
    2. Warm baths – if you’re unable to relax your body, you should try taking a warm bath. The warm water will help you unwind and alleviate stress. A warm bath relaxes your muscles and ligaments, reducing the cramps. Another way is to place a hot compress on your lower abdomen or back.
    3. Aromatherapy – another way to relax and unwind, relieve stress is to indulge in aromatherapy. When these essential oils are diffused into the air, it will have a calming effect on you.

      The essential oils you can use are –
      Lavender, Ylang ylang, Rose, Vetiver, Chamomile, Bergamot, Lemon, Geranium, Marjoram, Rosewood and Frankincence.  
    4. Sleep – if you’re feeling stressed, the most effective way to relax is sleep for a while. Many women have stated that post a good afternoon nap or a short siesta, they feel better and relieved of the cramps.
    5. Hydration – dehydration is one major reason for the body to have cramps. When the body is preparing to give birth, it eats up all the energy and nutrients, even water. So make sure you drink lots and lots of it.
    6. Exercise – going for walks, or to the gym or trying pre-natal yoga is a good way to keep healthy and get relieved of stress. However, make sure you don’t over-do it and further damage your health.
    7. Folic acid – it is said to have various health benefits for the mother as well as the developing fetus. It enhances the functioning of the placenta making sure it is capable of providing for the baby. Fish, eggs, and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of the same. It also helps the body fight anemia by keeping the hemoglobin levels in check. By increasing the intake of folic acid you may also help prevent miscarriage during the pregnancy.
    8. Avoid sexual intercourse – talk to your doctor and see if it is okay for you to have sex during your pregnancy. If the doctor asks you to abstain or you have bleeding post sex, you should avoid it.  


    When to See a Doctor

    If you experience any of these symptoms, get in touch with your doctor –

    1. Severe cramps in lower abdomen and back,
    2. Bleeding for more than three days,
    3. Heavy bleeding,
    4. Sensitivity in abdomen,
    5. Severe pain that lasts for hours,
    6. Nausea.

Source:

  • https://parentinghealthybabies.com/home-remedies-bleeding-pregnancy/
  • https://www.checkpregnancy.com/implantation-bleeding/
  • https://www.medicinenet.com/spotting_vs_period_differences/article.htm#spotting_vs_period_differences
  • http://www.parenting.com/pregnancy/health-symptoms/it-implantation-bleeding-or-just-visit-aunt-flo
  • http://implantationspotting.net/implantation-bleeding-or-period-5-leading-signs-of-implantation-spotting/

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