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Implantation bleeding is light bleeding which can occur when an egg which has just been fertilised attaches itself to the wall of the womb.
When a fertilised egg is implanting, the tissue around the egg burrows into the uterus lining (also known as the endometrium) creating links with the mum's blood supply and body tissue. This then gradually develops into the placenta - the baby's lifeline for the next 9 months. It is during this attachment process that a little bit of blood may be released.
What does implantation bleeding look like?The majority of women with implantation bleeding say it's a light spotting which is either light pink or brown in colour. Unlike a normal menstrual bleed, implantation bleeding rarely lasts more than one to three days and it's usually an intermittent bleeding rather than a regular flow which becomes heavier.
When does implantation bleeding occur?Implantation bleeding occurs generally before your period is expected - this is normally between 6 and 12 days after ovulation. Most women have a period about 14 days after ovulation but this depends on your individual cycle.
How common is implantation bleeding?Only about a third of women will experience implantation bleeding. Because implantation bleeding is similar to the early stages of a period, some women won't even notice it. Having said that, if you're trying for a baby it is really easy to misread spotting at the beginning of a period as implantation bleeding. So although early spotting can be a sign of pregnancy it's better not to do a pregnancy test until after the date your period is due.
How to spot implantation bleedingThere is no real way to be 100% sure if spotting is an implantation bleed until you have actually missed a period. Nonetheless, there are a few useful indicators that can help you check:
Duration - Implantation bleeding only lasts for a day or two usually and occurs intermittently.
Appearance - Implantation bleeding is generally a lightish pink/brown colour & not the dark red of a normal period
Timing - If you conceive you may experience implantation bleeding before your actual period is due. This is normally about 9 days or so after you ovulate.
Heaviness - Unlike the flow of a menstrual period which gets progressively heavier, implantation bleeding is usually more of a light spotting or coloured discharge.
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