When a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, where it can begin growing, some light spotting may occur. This is called implantation bleeding, and it can be one of the earliest clues that you are pregnant. Some women don’t experience this type of bleeding, and some simply don’t notice it. If it happens, it doesn’t indicate a problem with your pregnancy. If you’re wondering if you might be pregnant, take our Am I Pregnant? quiz for a little fun and grab a home pregnancy test.

Is It Implantation Bleeding or My Period?

It’s possible to mistake implantation bleeding for a very light and early period at first. However, there are some differences to pay attention to. Although every woman’s period is different, it’s still possible to guess that it's implantation bleeding by the color and amount of bleeding, and by where you are in your menstrual cycle, as well as by looking out for other early signs of pregnancy — more frequent bathroom trips, fatigue, and nausea (i.e., morning sickness).

These are the main signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding compared to a period:

  • The amount of blood. Implantation bleeding isn’t heavy; it’s more like a discharge or light spotting that’s about a few drops of blood on your underwear.

  • The color of the spotting. The blood from implantation is more of a pinkish or brown color, rather than a bright red some women normally see during a period.

When Does Implantation Bleeding Happen?

You may notice implantation bleeding around 10 to 14 days after conception, when a fertilized egg becomes attached to the lining of your uterus. 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.

Should I Take a Pregnancy Test During Implantation Bleeding?

You can take a home pregnancy test during implantation bleeding. Keep in mind that the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG) that pregnancy tests detect only starts being produced in your body the moment the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus — which is the trigger for implantation bleeding. The earlier you take the test, the less hCG there is to detect, meaning that the test may not yet be accurate. If you have the patience to wait, 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, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm your pregnancy. And you can get an estimate of when to expect your baby by using our handy tool to calculate your due date.

Should I See a Doctor?

Implantation bleeding is generally nothing to be concerned about, but it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about any bleeding you experience during pregnancy. Although light bleeding in early pregnancy can be totally normal, there are some reasons for bleeding in early pregnancy that need to be addressed immediately. These can include infection, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.

FAQs at a Glance

Can you take a pregnancy test during implantation bleeding?

Yes, but home pregnancy test results are usually more accurate when taken after the first day of your missed period.

What does implantation bleeding look like?

On toilet paper, you might see light traces of pinkish or brown blood.

How much bleeding is normal for implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is very light. If you notice anything, you might only see a few spots of pinkish or brown blood.

When does implantation bleeding start?

It’s thought that when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, implantation bleeding happens. This could be about 10 to 14 days after conception. If you have regular periods, it happens around the time you would expect your period.

Implantation bleeding may sometimes be mistaken for a light period, especially if you have light or irregular periods normally. But these drops of blood could also be a sign that you’re about to embark on a very exciting journey. If you’re at all unsure, check in with your healthcare provider.