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About one third of pregnant women will experience implantation bleeding. While it may be alarming to see, it’s perfectly natural and occurs when the egg attaches (or implants) itself onto the uterus. When the egg burrows itself into the uterine wall, it may cause some damage to the uterus. The damage may result in a small amount of bleeding, which will travel from the cervix out through the vagina.
Because implantation occurs so early on in the pregnancy, most women will assume that the blood is a sign that they are starting their period. But the color, thickness and duration of the bleeding will let you know whether it’s your period or implantation.
What color is implantation bleeding?
This is typically the first question women ask if they’re trying to get pregnant and want to know what to expect.
Typically, implantation blood is pink or brownish in color. The color is distinctly different from period blood, which is bright or dark red. In many cases, implantation blood looks just like mucus, but has a slight pink or brown tinge to it.
Here are a couple of implantation bleeding pictures to help you gain a better understanding of what this type of bleeding looks like.
Thickness and Duration
Aside from color, the most distinctive differences between period and implantation blood are thickness and duration.
Light Bleeding & Short Duration
When implantation occurs, it only causes a small amount of damage. Therefore, you won’t experience heavy bleeding. This is a one-off event that takes place relatively quickly, so bleeding only lasts a few hours at the most.
Simply put, implantation blood is very light and only lasts a short amount of time.
If your bleeding continues for more than one day and resembles your typical menstrual blood flow, it’s likely your period and not implantation that’s occurring. On the other hand, if you only experience light bleeding that lasts less than a day and is pink or brown in color, it may be a sign that implantation has occurred and you’re pregnant.
Many women experience slight cramping during implantation, but these cramps are nowhere near as severe as menstrual cramps. And just like with the bleeding, they should subside within a day.
If you’re lucky enough to not experience severe cramps during your period, it may be hard for you to distinguish between period cramps and implantation cramps.
Other Causes of Bleeding
It’s important to note that even if you see signs of implantation, there may still be other causes of the bleeding.
Miscarriage is one cause. Many women experience miscarriages very early on, and this causes bleeding and cramping. If you experience the symptoms above and a pregnancy test comes back negative, you may have had a miscarriage. If you know about your pregnancy and you notice any signs of bleeding, speak with your doctor right away. Bleeding can be normal, but it may also be a sign that something is wrong.
Bleeding may also be caused by an ectopic pregnancy, which can be dangerous. See your doctor right away if you’re bleeding and pregnant.
Only one third of women experience implantation bleeding, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t notice any blood or symptoms listed above. A pregnancy test will determine whether or not you’re pregnant, but you will need to wait until after your missed period for accurate results.