implantation

While you may feel fairly confident that you know all there is to know about baby-making, there are cool things that happen after sperm meets egg, like implantation. In fact, for some women trying to conceive, implantation bleeding can be the earliest indication that you’ve got a bun in the oven, so it’s worth knowing about. Allow us to explain more…

What is implantation?

Implantation is the process in which a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining and settles in, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Basically, it’s the embryo staking out a cozy spot in your womb.

When does implantation occur?

Typically, implantation happens about 6 to 12 days following conception. Once the egg has been fertilized, the embryo travels down the fallopian tube to your uterus, where it implants. Learn more about the most common implantation symptoms.

What is implantation bleeding?

About one-third of women will experience implantation bleeding as well, according to the APA. When the embryo embeds in the uterine lining, it can break up blood vessels, which will then create some light spotting. It usually occurs several days before your next menstruation cycle, so you might mistake it for a period. This bleeding can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.

How do I know it’s implantation and not my period?

Well, implantation happens a few days earlier than your expected period, and it’s not going to look the same. According to the APA, the discharge tends to be pink or brown, as opposed to the bright red of your menstruation. It’s also going to be much lighter than your usual period and is often accompanied by headaches and light cramping. Of course, if your bleeding is heavier than usual, and you have fever, chills or cramps, you’ll want to call your doctor.

While all of the signs of implantation may have you eager to take a pregnancy test, hold off until the week after your missed period. Taking a test too early can result in false negatives, which can be an unnecessary bummer.