Implantation Signs and Symptoms: Cramping, Bleeding, and More

At the early stage of pregnancy, many physiological changes occur in your body; many you have no idea are happening. From the moment of conception, these series of dramatic changes occur in your system leading up to your first positive pregnancy test. Amongst these changes, the phenomenal implantation process, which many experts argue is the significant occurrence that leads to the making of babies.

Implantation occurs some days after conception, and it is what leads to the development of the embryo because some women do experience conception but don’t end up getting pregnant. However, many women are entirely oblivious to when implantation occurs in their bodies because most pregnant women do not experience significant symptoms that tell them something is going on. So when does this wonderful process occur, and how would you know?

In this article, we’ll unravel every mystery behind implantation, why it is so essential, and the vital signs or symptoms to look out for.

The Menstrual Cycle: How It Works?

Before diving into details, it is crucial to understand how the menstrual cycle works, giving you a clearer view of how the process evolves.  Women naturally prepare themselves for pregnancy through the menstrual cycle, usually a 28-day or 32-day cycle. A fundamental part of the menstrual cycle is ovulation, which refers to the separation of the eggs from the ovaries.

Typically, the process of ovulation takes place fourteen days before the start of menstruation, meaning if you have a 28-day cycle, you’ll be ovulating on day fourteen of your cycle. If yours is a 32-day cycle, you’ll be ovulating on day eighteen. After ovulation, eggs separated from the ovaries exist for about twenty-four hours. Within this period, if a woman has sex and an egg meets a sperm in the fallopian tube, fertilization would take place. Sperm can stay in a female’s body for up to seven days.

What Does Implantation Mean?

Following fertilization, the egg will glide through the fallopian tube to the uterus, burrowing into the uterine lining. The egg will then begin to develop by extracting enough oxygen and nutrients, causing it to grow into multiple cells, thereby forming a cluster rapidly; this cluster of cells is known as a blastocyst. This process is what we know as Implantation.

After successful implantation, the newly developed fetus will begin to release highly sensitive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and particularly the human chorionic gonadotropin, popularly known as the HCG hormone. The HCG hormone is what your pregnancy test kit detects to confirm your pregnancy. Following the release of these hormones, the placenta is formed, and your menstrual period is suspended.

A failed implantation process could be the effect of a weakened endometrial lining that can’t hold cells, or a blastocyst disorder, which leads to the death of the egg and excretion. When implantation fails, your menstrual period continues, meaning there’s no pregnancy.

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When Does Implantation Happen?

Generally, implantations happen between six to twelve days from ovulation. Several successful implantations occur between eight to ten days from ovulation, with nine days being highly recurrent. However, in rare cases, we have implantations less than eight days from ovulation, and issues that occur after ten days are referred to as late implantations.

Furthermore, a woman observing a 28-day menstrual cycle – who ovulates on the fourteenth day, mostly implants around the twenty-second and twenty-fourth day. For a woman with a more extensive cycle, four to eight days before new cycle implantation will occur. Hence, your implantation date largely depends on when ovulation occurs and how early or late conception occurred.

Calculating Your Implantation Date

To quickly figure out your implantation date, there is a simple technique you can employ. Using this technique requires that you know your ovulation date or the date of your last menstrual period. However, it is also important you note that this technique may not give you an accurate result all the time because implantation dates vary due to different reasons.

  • Using the ovulation date: Add nine days to your ovulation date to get your implantation date. We recommend nine days because it is the most common.
  • Using the last menstrual period: Add twenty-three days to the date of your last menstrual period, and you’ll arrive at your implantation date. We recommend twenty-three days because a 28-day menstrual cycle is most common, ovulation happens mostly on the fourteenth day, and implantation occurs nine days after. So it brings us to twenty-three days as the most frequent.

Why Is It Important To Know Your Implantation Date?

Knowing your implantation date is essential given the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy Tests: When using a pregnancy test kit, experts recommend not testing early because of the implantation date’s effect on your tests’ timing. If you carry out a test four days after your implantation date, the HCG hormone’s signals may not be strong enough to be detected by the kit, which will ultimately result in a false negative. It is recommended you wait for six to eight days after implantation before testing.
  • Pregnancy Success: Research studies have strongly indicated that your implantation time massively determines the pregnancy’s success. An earlier implantation time of eight to ten days after ovulation often results in pregnancy success. A later time of over ten days after ovulation accounts for over eighty percent of miscarriages.

Symptoms of Implantation

How do you know if you’re going through the implantation process or if you’d just undergone one? Most women do not exhibit any symptoms during implantation. However, for those who do, these are some symptoms:

1. Implantation Bleeding 

Implantation bleeding has been reported to happen to around twenty-five percent of women during implantation. It could be quite confusing also as it emerges close to the time of your period, so you may be thinking you’re not pregnant. However, the bleeding during implantation is more of spotting of blood than the flow of your menstrual periods. It also bears a pink or light brown color different from your period’s sharp or gray red.

2. Implantation Cramps

The hormones released during the implantation process result in you having some cramps. These powerful hormones, coupled with a lot going on inside you as the fertilized egg develops, may lead to you having back pains, abdominal tenderness, and cramps.

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3. Discharge

As an expecting mother, you must develop the habit of observing everything that happens to your body. During ovulation, you discharge cervical mucus that is clear and stretchy. However, during implantation, the cervical mucus discharged will be thicker and have a white color. This is caused by the hormones released while implanting.

4. Bloating

Increasing the release of progesterone in your body will result in slowness in your digestive system, causing you to feel bloated. Something similar also occurs during your period because these hormones are also released then.

5. Swollen or Tender Breasts

After implantation, your body will increasingly release estrogen, progesterone, and HCG hormone, which are powerful enough to cause your breasts to go sore. Similarly, you experience this during your periods, but it is more evident during implantation.

6. Feeling of Nausea

This is one of the most significant symptoms of progesterone in your body. It slows your digestive system, giving you a nauseating feeling. Feeling nausea is also common in women with pregnancies between four to five weeks.

7. Light Headaches

You may experience varying degrees of headaches which are caused by the presence of progesterone hormone in your system. They tend not to be severe, so nothing to worry about.

8. Mood Swings

The high functioning hormones in your body after implantation will cause you to feel somewhat moody occasionally.

9. Implantation Dip

From the time of conception, a woman’s average temperature rises at about one degree. When implantation occurs, and there’s a drop in temperature for a day, it is referred to as Implantation dip. A woman’s temperature decreases for a day and then goes back up; this may be due to a rise in estrogen’s actions in the woman’s body. 

However, this drop in temperature should not be confused with a similar one before the period starts. When your period is around the corner, the temperature drops and remains low going into the period, but with the implantation dip, it only drops for a day and then rises again. Careful observation of your body is vital in detecting an implantation dip, and when duly observed, it could help in further assuring you that you are pregnant.

Conclusion

Expecting a baby can be a thrilling and nervous experience, with weeks and months of menstrual cycles feeling like an eternity. This is why when you want to assess your pregnancy, you must be sure to do it well rather than just counting on some symptoms that are particularly similar to what you encounter before your periods. The secure way to know is to take a pregnancy test at home six to eight days after your implantation date or approach your doctor.

Generally, implantations happen between six to twelve days from ovulation. Several successful implantations occur between eight to ten days from ovulation, with nine days being highly recurrent. However, in rare cases, we have implantations less than eight days from ovulation, and cases that occur after ten days are referred to as late implantations.

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