The Difference Between Menstruation and Implantation Bleeding

When trying to become pregnant, you may experience light bleeding. Find out the difference between menstruation and implantation bleeding.
The Difference Between Menstruation and Implantation Bleeding

Last update: 15 March, 2022

When you’re trying to get pregnant, implantation bleeding often occurs, a process similar to menstruation. However, it’s not the same thing. In the following article, we’ll tell you the difference between menstruation and implantation bleeding and everything you need to know about the latter.

How is implantation bleeding?

Embryo implantation is the process by which the embryo adheres to the endometrium, in order to receive oxygen and nutrients from the mother through the blood, and thus be able to continue its development.

This process begins on the seventh or eighth day after the sperm fertilizes the egg, and lasts until about the end of the second week.

The embryo, which is currently in the blastocyst stage, breaks the blood vessels of the endometrium to form new ones that allow it to exchange with the mother’s blood.

The rupturing of the small vessels of the endometrium causes implantation bleeding to occur.

However, not all women experience implantation bleeding.

Gynecologists estimate that it occurs in approximately one in every three pregnant women.

However, it’s a phenomenon that draws a lot of attention. Therefore, it’s important to know the difference between menstruation and implantation bleeding. In the same way, you need to know how to differentiate it from a threatened miscarriage.

A woman looking like she doesn't feel well resting her head on her hand.

The characteristics of implantation bleeding

  • It occurs approximately 12 days after ovulation, coinciding with your period
  • It usually involves the same symptoms as your period
  • Feeling tired
  • Irritability
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Migraine
  • Blood loss is less abundant
  • Its duration is much shorter than the menstrual cycle
  • It usually lasts a maximum of 3 days.
  • Its color is a little lighter than the blood you shed during menstruation
  • It doesn’t have blood clots
  • The texture of this blood is more liquid
A pregnant woman sitting with her legs crossed and her arms on her belly.

Symptoms after implantation bleeding

  • Colic
  • Belly pain similar to that felt during menstruation
  • Slight swelling of the breasts
  • Diarrhea discomfort
  • Discomfort from constipation
  • Heartburn
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Drowsiness
  • Sickness
  • Morning sickness
  • A distaste for food
  • Nausea with certain smells
  • You first cravings

What to do after implantation bleeding?

Now that you know the difference between menstruation and implantation bleeding, what should you do if you experience the latter? The first thing to do if you’ve experienced implantation bleeding is to confirm if you’re pregnant.

To do this, you must take a pregnancy test. You can purchase one at your local pharmacy as they’re not very expensive. Another way is to get some blood tests at a health center or clinic, although you may have to wait longer to receive the results.

If the result of the pregnancy test or the analysis is positive, make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible.

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials”

-Meryl Streep-

Another possibility is that you’ve suffered a miscarriage, and hence your bleeding. In this case, you should go immediately to the emergency room.

Spontaneous miscarriage

Many people experience this type of pregnancy loss, with 10-20% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

A miscarriage is when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Most of the causes of miscarriage are the following, although each woman is different:

  • The fertilized egg has an abnormal number of chromosomes.
  • Certain diseases such as severe diabetes.
  • A very serious infection.
  • A major injury.
  • Abnormalities in the uterus.
  • A blood clotting abnormality.
  • Mutated genes.

Other causes of blood loss during pregnancy

Many women experience blood loss during pregnancy and it’s not always due to a threatened miscarriage.

  • Blood loss may be due to the appearance of an intrauterine hematoma, one of the most frequent causes of bleeding in the first trimester.
  • Vaginal bleeding can also be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy, one of the kinds of miscarriage.
  • In pregnancy, brownish vaginal discharge or light bleeding may occur several days or weeks before labor pains.
  • You can also bleed if you’ve had sexual intercourse.

The most important thing of all is that whatever the cause is, you go to see a doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.