Last Updated on March 30, 2020 by Sloane Marie
Deciding to start a family is an exciting time. One of the first changes that will happen along the way is implantation bleeding. While this does not happen to everyone, it is often the first sign that a woman may be pregnant.
When you become pregnant, the egg implants itself onto the uterine wall. When this happens, you may feel slight cramps or a little pain. In a portion of women, implantation can also cause light spotting. You may naturally wonder, “Can implantation bleeding be heavy?” if you are experiencing bleeding earlier than your normal menstrual cycle. In most cases, implantation bleeding is quite light and is just a little spotting.
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Can Implantation Bleeding Be Heavy?
While you may have implantation bleeding be heavy, it is normally just spotting. If you have vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding at the wrong time of the month, it could be a sign of another condition like a yeast infection. Your period may have arrived earlier than expected, or there may be a more serious problem at play. To rule out a potential pregnancy, wait until the day when your period was supposed to start and take a pregnancy test. If you experience any unusual symptoms, you should go to your doctor right away to be checked out.
Keep in mind that you will not get a positive pregnancy test result right when implantation happens. Your body does not start producing hCG in high enough levels for about two more weeks, so you have to wait to take a test. Implantation bleeding will generally happen about three or four days earlier than your period would have, so your bleeding is most likely from another cause if it occurs outside of this time period.
How Heavy Is Implantation Bleeding?
Most women do not experience any implantation bleeding at all. If they do experience some bleeding, it is generally quite light. For most women, implantation bleeding is just light spotting for a very short amount of time. There are a few cases when implantation bleeding can be heavier, but this happens far less often. Depending on your physical chemistry and hormones, implantation bleeding will normally last for just a couple of hours or a little more than a day. It may also happen on and off for a couple of days before stopping. In select cases, implantation bleeding can last for up to four days. If it lasts for longer than this, go to your doctor because you may be suffering from another medical condition or a miscarriage.
How Is Implantation Bleeding Different Than a Period?
While both of these things involve bleeding, an implantation bleeding is quite different than a period. It is typically much lighter and at an entirely different time of the month. With implantation bleeding, you may only have to use a panty liner because it is quite light. In many cases, women only experience slight spotting during implantation bleeding.
In terms of color, implantation bleeding will generally seem brown or pink before it turns a bit darker. This is because the blood has to travel from the uterine walls to the vagina. If you are experiencing bleeding because of your menstrual cycle, the blood will keep getting heavier and will turn red.
In a typical woman, the menstrual cycle lasts from 24 to 40 days. Ovulation generally occurs about 14 days before your period, or halfway between the start and end of your cycles. For a 28-day cycle, this means that ovulation happens on about day 14. When you ovulate, the egg is available for fertilization for about 12 to 24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized in this time frame, it will dissolve with your next period. If the egg is fertilized, it will implant on the uterine wall around 10 to 14 days afterward. Since this means that your implantation bleeding would occur near your period date, you might not realize that it is implantation bleeding if you normally have very light periods. Implantation bleeding will normally happen a few days before your period, so this is a potential indication that you are experiencing implantation instead of a menstrual cycle.
Both implantation bleeding and a period can cause cramps, but implantation bleeding generally causes very few cramps. You will most likely not notice any early pregnancy symptoms just yet though because your body does not have enough pregnancy hormones present yet to really cause noticeable symptoms.
Should You See a Doctor?
While implantation bleeding can be heavy sometimes, it is fairly rare. Most women do not experience any bleeding, or they only experience extremely light bleeding. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, then make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out. Heavy implantation bleeding is a less common reason than an early miscarriage, an early period or a medical condition, so talk to your doctor about your concerns. Medical conditions like endometriosis, cancer, post-menopausal bleeding and uterine fibroids can cause symptoms like heavy bleeding, so it is important to go to your doctor if the heavy bleeding is not from implantation or your menstrual cycle.