Implantation bleeding is light bleeding or spotting before or near the time that a woman would expect her normal menstrual cycle. In general, a woman experiences implantation bleeding when the egg and sperm meet and then attach to the wall of the uterus. Because the uterine wall is rich with blood, drops of blood often leak from the vagina when the fertilized egg attaches to it. At that point, the woman may notice the spotting and may be able to conclude that it is bleeding from egg implantation. Alternatively, if the egg does not meet a viable sperm, it will be flushed out of the body during the normal menstrual cycle.
A woman can expect this kind of bleeding for five to ten days after the time of conception. Many women initially believe that it is the start of their cycle, but when the bleeding never progresses beyond a light spotting, they discover they are pregnant. When this type of bleeding occurs, the blood will typically be a dark red, brown, or even black color because the blood is dry by the time it exits the body; there have been some reports, however, of pink spotting as well.
If a woman experiences light spotting or bleeding, it may be the first sign that she is pregnant. There are several types of home pregnancy test kits designed to inform a woman, even several days before the expected start of her period, whether or not she is pregnant. The home pregnancy test kits work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone released by the placenta after the fertilized egg implants in the wall of the uterus. Other symptoms of pregnancy that may accompany this condition include minor cramping and a slight rise in body temperature. In addition, a pregnant woman may experience nausea, tender breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, and an increased awareness to odor.
Although many women become alarmed if they bleed early in their pregnancy, implantation bleeding should not cause concern. It is completely normal and will only last one or two days. There are other causes of bleeding in early pregnancy, such as hormonal changes, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and molar pregnancy. Some of these can be fatal to the fetus, while others, such as hormonal changes, are harmless. Although complications are infrequent, if a woman experiences implantation bleeding and more severe pain, a doctor should be consulted. Pain or increased bleeding after implantation may be signs of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.