Did you experience spotting before your period? Did you know that many women overlook the early signs of pregnancy because they tend to attribute them to being symptoms of their period? Implantation bleeding is almost the same as your period, and many women don’t recognize it as a sign of pregnancy.
Signs of implantation are the first thing that most women look for when trying to get pregnant. These symptoms surface even before you realize you have missed your period. So, if you have conceived and are waiting to confirm your pregnancy during the first weeks after conception, check whether you experience implantation spotting, cramping, and other symptoms. These signs will help you decide if your conception was successful. However, on the flip-side, not experiencing implantation symptoms, particularly implantation bleeding, does not mean you are not pregnant.
Honestly, before I began to try to conceive (TTC) I didn’t know much about implantation. So, I sought out blogs, online articles and listened to podcasts to familiarize myself with the concept of implantation and also understand what it is. I thought I’d share a bit about what I learned.
What Is Implantation?
Implantation is the act of the fertilized egg attaching itself to the wall of the uterus or womb, thereby resulting in an official positive pregnancy result. Implantation occurs about 6 to 10 days after ovulation, provided the egg is fertilized.
After the egg is fertilized, it stays in the Fallopian tubes for about three days. Then the fertilized egg begins its descent to the uterus and positions itself close to the uterine wall to prepare for attaching itself to the wall. After that, the zygote attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, a process that is called implantation.
Once implantation occurs, most women begin to experience implantation symptoms, like breast tenderness, cramping, and spotting. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you could be pregnant.
This implantation process is a painless process though you do experience mid-cycle pains that occur due to ovulation, sometimes mistaken for the much-desired implantation. Contrary to popular belief, the process of conception does not occur the moment the egg is fertilized by the sperm.
When Does Implantation Begin?
Studies have found that the egg can get fertilized even as soon as 12 hours after ovulation, but no longer than 24 hours after ovulation. On an average, the fertilization occurs about nine days after ovulation. When implantation occurs, the levels of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) hormone rise. Pregnancy symptoms actually begin to increase when your body starts producing Progesterone, but then intensifies once hCG begins increasing, too.
Implantation typically occurs 6 to 10 days after you ovulate. This relates to day 20 to day 24 of your menstrual cycle. If you have the average 28-day menstrual cycle, the ovulation will occur on day 14.
Stages Of Implantation:
The process of embedding the egg into the uterine lining is called endometrium. Usually, the embryo implantation occurs on the 6th or 7th day after ovulation. This process has three stages:
• In the first stage, the embryo attaches to the uterine wall. This initial phase of the implantation process is called adplantation. During this stage, the embryo is about 5 to 6 days old.
• In the second stage, the fertilized egg penetrates the uterine wall, so that it is secure in the uterus.
• In the third stage, the embryo finally embeds deep inside the uterine wall. At this point, the ovum is located in the endometrial cavity, and as the endometrium grows, the cavity is wrapped more and more.
Types Of Implantation Symptoms:
The attached fetus begins to grow quite rapidly after implantation. Some of its waste products may start accumulating inside your body, and lead to changes.
You may experience 3 different types of symptoms, or rather the different categories of symptoms, during the period of implantation. These symptoms are as follows:
1. Successful Symptoms: These are normal symptoms that, as the name suggests, indicate that the implantation process was successful. These are signs of early pregnancy.
2. Warning Symptoms: These symptoms do not normally present themselves during implantation and hence, should be discussed with your doctor.
3. False Symptoms: These symptoms do not signal early pregnancy and actually, have nothing to do with the implantation process. However, they are very similar to the symptoms witnessed at the time of pregnancy, causing you to believe you are pregnant when you are not.
Successful Symptoms Of Implantation:
Every woman does not have the same symptoms of implantation. Also, the symptoms may not be the same from one to another pregnancy. Implantation bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of implantation and is caused when the embryo embeds into the uterine wall.
Some common symptoms that you are likely to experience when implantation has been successful include:
1. Cramping And Spotting:
Though spotting and cramping are the usual signs of ovulation, if ovulation occurs about a week before your period, it could mean that the egg has implanted itself. A common occurrence at this time is the presence of pink or brown vaginal discharge on your underwear or toilet paper. At times, women may experience spotting between their period. This makes it difficult to tell whether it is a sign of pregnancy or not.
2. Tenderness In Breasts:
Tenderness of the breasts is another common symptom that you are likely to experience. This is caused due to the increase in estrogen and progesterone levels during the start of pregnancy. Sometimes, your breasts may even swell up. However, this is merely a sign of ovulation and persists just for a few days only. If a woman is pregnant, she will notice that this tenderness will continue to persist for a while. At times, the sensitivity may become so pronounced that even a slight touch causes a nagging pain. The nipples also become highly sensitive and though the breasts may sometimes increase in size, there is no redness, and the skin remains normal.
Another reason for the tenderness and growth of the breasts could be an increase in the blood flow to the area. Some other changes that you may notice include nipples turning darker, enlarged veins in the breast area and larger areolas. These are signs that your breasts are preparing for impending motherhood and becoming a source of nutrition for your baby. If you experience breast tenderness around seven days after the possible day of ovulation, there is a high probability that implantation may be taking place. On the other hand, if the soreness occurs due to your normal monthly cycle, it will only last for a day or two.
3. Change in Food Taste:
Sometimes, you will experience an increase in your senses of taste and smell when implantation finishes and you are pregnant. This is usually responsible for creating certain cravings as well as aversions in women when they are pregnant. It could be a sign of implantation. A craving for salt is common in women, even before the missed period. It is believed that changes in our food tastes and the hormones that are released at the time of pregnancy are linked to one another. Studies have shown that a majority of women reports a sharp sense of smell or taste as a symptom of ovulation. This is attributed to the pregnancy hormones that could cause women to dislike certain foods or perhaps, develop a liking for foods that they once disliked. However, if these food aversions or cravings occur less than seven days after ovulation, they are unrelated to implantation.
4. Changes in Temperature:
During the early days of implantation, your body temperature may increase as a result of the increase in the levels of progesterone in your body. The body temperature is typically between 97-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when the egg successfully implants, the progesterone hormone speeds up metabolic processes and blood flow in the woman’s body. This causes the body temperature to rise. So, you will notice your body temperature increasing marginally. However, if the egg does not implant and you are about to have your period then with the quick drop in progesterone levels, your temperature will also drop. Sometimes, women do notice that their temperature suddenly drops 7 – 10 days after ovulation. They mistakenly take this as a sign of conception which is not true.
5. Morning Sickness/Nausea:
One of the most difficult symptoms pregnant women have to deal with is morning sickness. Nausea and vomiting are common signs of morning sickness and are usually caused by a reaction to strong odors. Studies show 99 percent women suffer from this symptom when they get pregnant. This usually occurs even before the missed period, mostly during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes, a woman can experience severe morning sickness that she suffers from excruciating headaches and backaches. Ginger helps to ease morning sickness. Even sour and sweet foods can aid a woman suffering from morning sickness.
6. High Basal Body Temperature:
Basal body temperature (BBT) is usually high when you are going through your luteal phase. This rise in BBT is associated with the hormone progesterone, and if implantation is successful, it is likely to stay elevated. Thus, a high basal body temperature of about 97.5 to 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit is a sign of successful conception.
7. Missing Your Period:
If you are pregnant, you will not get your period when you are supposed to. However, you cannot always depend on this on certain factors, like illness, stress, and surgery could also cause you to miss your period. If you don’t get your period as expected, and you also notice other signs of implantation and subsequent pregnancy, it is best to visit a doctor to get a pregnancy test done.
During implantation, it is normal to experience cramping for one or two days, and you need not worry about it. Cramping usually occurs one week after implantation. Sometimes what we presume to be implantation cramping could just be a case of flatulence or gastrointestinal problems. Also, since implantation cramps are similar to menstrual cramps, most women overlook and associate it with the start of their menstrual cycle. However, unlike menstrual cramping, this can sometimes last for an entire day or two. The contraction of the uterine walls during the embedment of the embryo causes implantation cramps to occur. If you are pregnant, as the fetus grows, it begins to push the walls of the uterus causing these mild spasms. What you should worry about is when you experience severe and intense cramps, which are accompanied by heavy bleeding and become unbearable. This problem could be a sign of a miscarriage.
These are some of the most frequently experienced symptoms that indicate implantation was successful. BUT, there are some uncommon symptoms that are not known to be a part of pregnancy. The reason for this is not everyone experiences the same symptoms and in the same intensity. Hence, it is difficult to tell if you are pregnant until a doctor confirms it through tests.
Warning Symptoms Of Implantation:
Here are some implantation symptoms that are not so widespread, but can happen:
The metabolic rate of your body tends to rise when you are pregnant as your body begins preparing to support your growing baby. During the day, women tend to feel increasingly tired, and this is attributed to the implantation process. Levels of hormone progesterone increase during pregnancy and the hormone plays the role of a mild sedative. Many times, an increase in progesterone levels can make pregnant women feel the constant need to stop and rest. This is important for you to keep your strength up.
Due to the increase in pregnancy hormones, you may develop pimples and acne. You should never scratch these off or squeeze them, as this will leave marks on your face. Instead visit your doctor for the right medication that is safe for you and your baby during this period.
3. Frequent Urination:
If the implantation is successful, within a week you will be rushing to the bathroom all the time and will end up passing only small amounts of urine at a time. This symptom occurs due to the pregnancy hormone – HCG. The hormone results in increased blood supply to the pelvic region and this, in turn, causes the irritation in the bladder and the need to urinate frequently.
4. Hot Flashes:
A lot of women have reported experiencing hot flashes when implantation occurs. This lasts for 15 minutes on the day of implantation. At the time the fertilized embryo embeds into the uterine wall, hormone levels in the body fluctuate. This fluctuation causes these hot flashes. Since this indicator is rather inconsistent, it is not mentioned in the list of signs of implantation.
Though constipation happens to people all the time, when it occurs with other symptoms of pregnancy, like spotting, cramping, and morning sickness, you can be sure it is a sign of pregnancy. This happens because the increase in hormones causes your intestines to relax, increasing the chances of constipated. There are many medicines to ease constipation. However, make sure you first consult your OB/GYN before you take them. Your doctor will be able to recommend OTC medications that are safe to take during pregnancy and have the desired effect.
Progesterone is the culprit again. When progesterone levels increase, blood sugar decreases causing dizziness in some pregnant women.Unfortunately, the mood swings come back in the third trimester.
7. Mood Swings:
Hormones increase and decrease throughout pregnancy, but never more drastically than the first few weeks after conception. You may feel happy one moment and sit crying the next. These hormone changes and mood swings typically last throughout the first trimester with a reprieve during the second trimester. Unfortunately, the mood swings come back in the third trimester.
Though these symptoms are not present in all women, learning about them can make it easier for you if you are trying to get pregnant. It will help you ascertain whether you are pregnant or not.
When the egg implants, the body kicks into action. Blood volume and circulation increases; two beginning signs of pregnancy. This can cause mild headaches that will last the duration of the pregnancy.
How Do You Confirm If Implantation Was Successful?
Taking an hCG beta blood test will help determine whether the implantation was successful. The body produces HCG hormone after implantation, and the hormone is detectable in the urine and blood after successful implantation. I discuss hCG test strips, HPT’s and beta blood tests in this blogpost.
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