How Long After Implantation Can You Test?

In embryology, the term implantation means the literal attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining. It is this process by which a fertilized ovum attaches itself to the walls of the uterus known as the endometrial lining. This endometrial lining is rich in blood vessels and due an invasion of the endometrium lining, bleeding may occur. This is what is known as implantation bleeding.

There are 3 major steps that take place which result in implantation these are:

  • Attachment of the ovum- After fertilization takes place the fertilized egg starts to descend into the uterus. After conception, around the fifth day the embryo now enters  the uterus and attaches itself to the uterine lining.
  • Implantation of the Ovum in the endometrium which is sometimes accompanied by implantation bleeding- When the fertilized egg is making its way through the fallopian tube to attach itself to the uterine lining it goes through the process of implantation in the endometrium. While this movement takes place there is a slight bleeding which is completely normal and rarely requires medical attention.
  • The final fixing of the foetus and the restoring of the mucous lining- The fallopian tube houses the fertilized egg for 3-4 days after which it attaches itself to the uterine wall. This is exactly the period when most women experience spotting. This results in the thickening of the uterus and a plug of mucus seals the cervix, this stays in place till the birth of the baby.   

The process of implantation takes 12 days to complete and starts 6 days after fertilization. During implantation a large gamut of various substances and other hormones are secreted by the foetus. The hormone which is now secreted is called the HCG that is the Human Chronic Gonadotropin. The presence and detection of this hormone helps determine if the woman is pregnant or not.

Since implantation is one of the most critical and crucial moments of pregnancy the first question that pops up is that, “How long after implantation bleeding can I test?”

The answer to this question would be that, it depends. It depends on the type of test being used to conduct a pregnancy test. There are two types of tests that can be taken to determine a pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Tests  

There are two types of methods to test pregnancy, these are blood tests which involves having to visit a doctor or another method which are very easily-available and accurate at the same time, the at-home pregnancy tests.  

  • Blood Test- to take this one has to visit a clinic where a blood sample is taken and then tested for HCG.
  • At-Home Test- the function of this test is the same as a blood test, i.e. to check the level of HCG in the urine. A urine test takes longer to determine pregnancy since its slower in detection as compared to a blood test.

How long after implantation bleeding is it advisable to test for pregnancy?

The claim made by pregnancy test companies about being able to determine pregnancy on day one of the delay in the menstrual cycle is a complete rip off. The fact of the matter is that to expect a result that is accurate it is important to consider two things one being the level of HCG in the blood or the urine, and secondly how sensitive the particular test is.

During the first eight weeks after uterogestation has already taken place the HCG level in the blood increases twice the number of times every 48 to 60 hours. This can happen on any particular day after fertilization.

The best time to conduct a pregnancy test is with the first pee of the morning because this is when the urine is least attenuated. The level of HCG in blood is much more detectable as compared to that of urine. For the level of HCG in the urine to reach that of the blood it requires two extra days. Hence, around two days before the expected date of the period the HCG in the blood should be the highest for that particular period of time.

There are various types of tests which are available to check for pregnancy, in the market. Out of these tests there are some which are designed to be more sensitive than others.

That is to say that tests which specify their sensitivity as 20mlU/ml or less are suitable for early detection. Anything with more sensitivity than this test cannot be used for at least 7 to 9 days after you have experienced implantation bleeding.    

How long should implantation bleed last?

The bleeding which takes places due to implantation is slow and thus it slowly makes its way through the cervix and comes out of the vagina. This blood is generally in pink and brown spots which are visible in your underwear.

It is very important to know how long an implantation bleeding should last so that it isn’t mistaken for something else. Generally implantation bleeding should last a day or two and in exceptional circumstances three. If implantation bleeding exceeds three days you should pay close attention to your body and a visit to the doctor becomes imperative.

How reliable is a pregnancy test after implantation bleeding, what could a negative test mean?

If a pregnancy test is negative it may be quite devastating if you have been trying to have a baby for a very long time. But, it doesn’t have to be since it can just simply mean that you are taking the test earlier than you should. Studies show that 65% of all pregnancy tests taken 6 days after implantation are always negative. False negative tests are so common that it happens to almost 9 out of every 15 women taking the test.

However, testing negative several days after your implantation bleeding may be an indicator towards something else being wrong. It may be an indicator for an ectopic pregnancy, in this the level of HCG rises with such less intensity that it can hardly be detected.

If it has been weeks past the due date of your period and a considerable time has passed after implantation bleeding and the tests are still negative. You should visit a doctor at the earliest so that he can conduct various medical tests as well as other blood tests to rule out any other kind of illness like:

  • A tumor;
  • Hemolysis which means the destruction of blood cells;
  • Lipidemia which means higher count of lipids in blood;
  • Or maybe due to an laboratory error

How to confirm when a pregnancy test is positive?

Our body is the best indicator of anything that happens to us, hence to confirm if a pregnancy test is positive you should pay a little extra attention to your body and watch out for symptoms like:

  • Morning Sickness contrary to the name it does not always occur in the morning.
  • You may experience a more frequent than usual urination pattern.
  • You may become lazy or lethargic.
  • You will experience a delayed period.
  • Minor swelling and soreness in the breasts.
  • Also, something known as “linea nigra” may appear which basically means a black line which is vertical and is below the navel. This happens due to intensive pigmentation of the skin.

However, the final say in confirming pregnancy can only be left to the gynaecologist. The gynaecologist after performing the ultrasound can confirm the pregnancy. The ultrasound is capable of recording the foetal heartbeat, which can prove beyond a shadow of doubt the pregnancy of a woman. At this stage it has approximately been 24 days since fertilization and 18 since implantation.

During the 5th and the 6th week of the development of the ovum it becomes distinctly visible. The foetal heart beat is unmistakeably heard using an ultrasound.

It is safe to infer that while conducting a pregnancy test at home is much more convenient and accessible it cannot be trusted completely and a confirmation by a gynaecologist is a must.   

Conclusion

One of the clearest signs of pregnancy is implantation bleeding, it occurs during the first few stages of pregnancy. It occurs when the ovum attaches itself to the thick and mucus lining of the uterine wall. In some woman it can take up-to 12 days for fertilization to occur while in some others it may only take up-to 6 days. This happens because it takes some time for the fertilised ovum to travel to the uterus where it gets attached to the walls.

It is also very important to make sure that you do not confuse your implantation bleeding for a period or vice versa. Sometimes this bleeding can just mean early menses. Also when implantation bleeding does happen, you should wait for four days before you can take a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy tests are reliable to a certain extent and after a positive pregnancy test it is imperative to consult a gynaecologist to confirm the same. If the test is negative then don’t worry, take it again after a few days or reach out to a doctor.  

Spotting happens when there may be some drops of brown or pink discharge in your underwear. This happens to 20-30% of pregnant women around the time of their usual missed period. These women who go through spotting still continue to deliver a healthy baby.

This kind of implantation bleeding happens 5-6 days after ovulation. If you get a positive pregnancy test then the implantation took place at least 4-5 days ago and it is less likely that the this spotting represents implantation bleeding. A positive HPT, spotting, pain and cramping if occur simultaneously, you should contact your doctor immediately. The doctor will then conduct 2 simultaneous HCG blood tests on you which will be 48-72 hours apart. It is considered as a viable pregnancy if the HCG levels are more than double.    

Sources

  • https://www.babymed.com/positive-pregnancy-test-when-and-how-early-after-implantation
  • http://womens-health-naturally.com/pregnancy-test-after-implantation/
  • http://intelligentmother.com/how-long-after-implantation-bleeding-can-i-test/
  • http://implantationspotting.net/implantation-bleeding-pregnancy-test/

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