What Is Implantation Bleeding and When Does It Occur?

Implantation bleeding is a common and normal occurrence for many women during early pregnancy. It occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus, causing light bleeding or spotting. As seeing some bleeding may sometimes cause concern when you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to understand that this type of bleeding is a normal part of the pregnancy process. This article will explore the timing and symptoms of implantation bleeding, as well as how to distinguish between implantation bleeding and your regular period.

What Is Implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is a normal occurrence in early pregnancy. It’s a light spotting that may occur when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, where it can begin growing. This light bleeding happens because the lining of your uterus contains blood vessels and vascular tissue, so, when the fertilized egg embeds itself into the wall it can cause some of the lining to break away—hence the bleeding.

When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?

Some women may not experience implantation bleeding at all, while others may simply not notice it. If you do experience implantation bleeding, this commonly occurs around 10 to 14 days after conception—when a fertilized egg becomes attached to the lining of your uterus.

If you’re wondering “how long after sex does implantation bleeding occur?” keep in mind that conception may not occur on the same day you had sex. Sperm can live as long as five days inside a woman’s reproductive tract, and conception might not occur for several days after sex.

How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?

It’s common to wonder how long implantation bleeding can last and if it can last 3 days. The duration of the bleeding can vary; however, it generally lasts from a few hours up to 2 days.

What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

What are the symptoms of implantation bleeding and what does it look and feel like? If you experience this early sign of pregnancy, you could observe the following:

  • Light bleeding or small drops of blood from the vagina

  • A brownish discharge or spotting that is brown or pink

  • Bleeding or spotting that starts around the time your menstrual period usually starts and lasts from a few hours up to about two days.

If you’re concerned about any of your symptoms or you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing implantation bleeding or something else, consult your healthcare provider.

Implantation Bleeding vs. Your Period

It’s quite easy to mistake implantation bleeding for your menstrual period, as it often occurs around the same time that your period would’ve been due. Although every woman’s period is different, there are some differences between implantation bleeding and a period to pay attention to, such as the amount of bleeding, the timing, and the color.

Here are some ways to help you recognize implantation bleeding and tell the difference between your menstrual period and implantation bleeding:

As implantation bleeding is an early symptom of pregnancy, it may also be accompanied or closely followed by other early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, or sore breasts.

Can You Take a Pregnancy Test During Implantation Bleeding?

If you think that you’re experiencing implantation bleeding versus a period, you may wonder if you should take a home pregnancy test. You can take a home pregnancy test during implantation bleeding, but if you test too early, you might get a negative result. Here's why: The pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG) detected by pregnancy tests only starts being produced in your body the moment the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus—which is the trigger for implantation bleeding. That means it’s highly unlikely that you can get a positive pregnancy test before implantation. The earlier you take the test, the less hCG there is to detect, meaning that the test may not yet be accurate. If you’re wondering how long after implantation bleeding you can test, keep in mind that you’ll get a more accurate test result if you wait until after the first day of your missed period.

If you get a positive test result, you can schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm your pregnancy. And you can try out our Due Date Calculator for an estimate of when your little one will be born.


Should You See Your Healthcare Provider?

Implantation bleeding is generally nothing to be concerned about, but it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or any unexplained bleeding during pregnancy. Although light bleeding in early pregnancy can be normal, occasionally there may be another issue that needs to be addressed.

The Bottom Line

Implantation bleeding is a normal occurrence that may happen during early pregnancy. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of your uterus, this may cause light and short-lived bleeding for some women. It can occur anywhere from 10 to 14 days after conception and may last up to two days, though many women may not even notice it. Understanding the signs and causes of implantation bleeding can help you better understand your body and fertility.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.