Are you wondering if it’s implantation bleeding or your period?

Posted on October 9th, 2018

You’re waiting eagerly to take a pregnancy test when you notice some spotting. You’re confused, because you’ve also been experiencing pregnancy symptoms. By Thobeka Phanyeko

Is it implantation bleeding or your period?

Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman and often mimic the imminent arrival of your period. Bleeding can also be an early sign of pregnancy; this is referred to as implantation bleeding, which is rare but does cause uncertainty when it happens. Midwifery consultant and researcher Dr Diana du Plessis sheds some light.  

ALSO SEE: 13 subtle (and not-so-subtle) pregnancy signs

What is implantation?

Implantation is when the fertilised egg implants on the inner lining of the uterus (womb).

What’s the difference between implantation bleeding and a normal period?

A normal period normally lasts five to seven days.  This occurs when fertilisation did not occur and the inner lining of the uterus, which prepared itself for the implantation of the fertilised egg, is shed. Contrary to belief – and myth – menstruation is not “dirty blood”, it’s merely a spongy type of tissue that is disposed of by the body.

How can I tell if it’s implantation bleeding?

The implantation bleeding is a bit of spotting and does not look like menstruation in any way. It can last a day or two, but is never accompanied by heavy bleeding, pain or discomfort. If the bleeding becomes heavier, and pain occurs, a miscarriage may happen.  However, when a pregnant woman has sex, she might have a bit of spotting too.

How long can I expect implantation bleeding to last?

In a normal cycle, the inner lining of the uterus will prepare itself for receiving the fertilised egg. Ovulation is where the ovaries shed an egg into the Fallopian tube. This will occur about 14 days after the previous menstrual cycle has ended.

Could implantation bleeding point to something more serious like a miscarriage?

There is no link between implantation bleeding and a miscarriage. It’s important to understand what’s happening to your body.

When the sperm fertilises the egg, it changes from a single cell to multiple cells. It has a little opening in the middle that helps the multiplied cells to drift into the uterus. It is now called a blastocyst.

ALSO SEE: 7 ways to reduce your risk of a miscarriage

Within a 28 day cycle, how long does it take for implantation to happen after intercourse?

It takes about 10 days for the blastocyst (fertilised egg) to drift into the uterus and implant itself. When it lands on the prepared inner lining of the uterus, it embeds itself to develop into the foetus.