How long does implantation bleeding last? Symptoms and treatments

Bleeding from implants may be one of the early signs of pregnancy. How long it will last varies.

Instead of bleeding, it might be easier to think of it as implantation spotting or discharge, as the flow is not as intense as someone’s normal time. This wouldn’t fill a tampon, which at this stage people shouldn’t use or a pad, which shouldn’t produce any clots.

The blood that it produces is different from that of menstrual blood. Normally it is a different color to a normal menstrual blood of a female.

Bleeding from implantation happens during the implantation process. The egg that is fertilized attaches to the uterus lining, usually within two weeks of fertilization. This lining is full of veins and arteries and it splits capillary walls when the embryo binds to it which causes bleeding.

How long does implantation bleeding last?

Implantation bleeding may begin as early as five days after implantation.
Implantation bleeding may begin as early as five days after implantation.

The length of bleeding from the implantation varies. Others will observe spotting for a few hours, while others will experience a flood of light that lasts a couple of days. Many women with one pregnancy may have implantation bleeding, and not with others.

Researchers found that having a few days of bleeding during early pregnancy was normal to humans. Reports have also found that bleeding begins five days after implantation.

Bleeding from implantation typically does not last as long as the normal menstrual cycle for a woman. If a person notices a significant change in their usual period, such as spotting instead of regular flow, or a change of color in their blood, it may indicate bleeding from the implantation.

An individual who believes that they may experience bleeding from implantation rather than a period may take a pregnancy test or talk to their doctor to confirm the pregnancy.

Timeline

Implantation bleeding could develop around the same time as when someone would generally have their period. Below is a general timeline on how the implantation takes place:

  • Ovulation: After the ovaries release an egg, there is a 12–24-hour window for fertilization.
  • Day 0 (fertilization): A viable sperm reaches the egg.
  • Days 1–2: The fertilized egg transits through the fallopian tube for about 30 hours.
  • Days 2–6 (mitosis): The fertilized egg goes through cell divisions that transform it from a zygote, a single-celled embryo, to a blastocyst, an embryo with multiple cells.
  • Days 6–9 (implantation): Starting 67 days after fertilization, implantation is itself a process, which consists of:
    • Adplantation: The blastocyst first begins to stick to the uterus lining.
    • Implantation: The migration of the blastocyst is typically completed nine days after fertilization.
    • Coagulation plug: A blood clot seals the part of the uterine wall where the embryo first attached.
  • Days 6–10: Implantation bleeding usually takes place 10–14 days after conception.

Other symptoms

People with implant bleeding may also encounter other early-pregnancy-related symptoms including:

  • headaches
  • cramping that is milder than those usually experienced during their periods
  • fatigue
  • rapid changes in mood
  • sore lower back
  • breasts start to feel larger and more tender
  • morning sickness, or nausea

Management and treatment

Implantation bleeding does not generally require treatment, and it goes away on its own.

The following self-care practices can be more comfortable for those who notice spotting early in their pregnancies:

  • getting enough rest
  • elevating the feet
  • refraining from sexual intercourse
  • avoiding use of tampons

When to see a doctor

In general, when pregnant people notice any spotting or bleeding, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor.

This will help to give people peace of mind during these pregnancy phases. And it will allow for prompt treatment in cases where someone needs medical intervention.

It can be hard for someone to distinguish between implant bleeding and other bleeding causes. Although bleeding is common during pregnancy, it can be a symptom of a serious complication in some cases, such as ectopic pregnancy or early loss of pregnancy.

If any of the following symptoms occur alongside bleeding, people should see a doctor:

  • stomach ache
  • cramping, especially in the lower abdomen
  • pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or shoulder
  • fluid or discharge from the vagina
  • feeling dizzy
  • fever

Summary

Bleeding from the implantation lasts from a few hours to several days. It usually presents as a lighter flow from typical menstrual blood with a different colour.

Implantation bleeding is a relatively common occurrence in early pregnancy, and normally resolves without treatment on its own.

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