Implantation bleeding – early and late period is something most women fret about. In this article, we will help you differentiate between the two.
Early and late period by a day or two is not considered a problem by most women.
Very rarely do women get their period exactly for the same time on the same date every month throughout the year.
But after unprotected sex, everything seems abnormal if you don’t want a pregnancy.
Even if you’re trying to get pregnant, you seem to lose your judgment about spotting before period.
The New England Journal of Medicine1 talks of the importance of implantation events and how failure causes pregnancy loss.
Table of Contents
- Implantation bleeding or early period
- How to distinguish implantation bleeding and early period?
- Period three days early or implantation bleeding?
- Short early period or implantation bleeding
- Why implantation happens only a week after conception?
- How to distinguish between implantation bleeding or irregular period?
- Late implantation bleeding
Implantation bleeding or early period
Usually, Implantation occurs 7 DPO (Days Past Ovulation) and period takes double the time to start.
But sometimes the aunt’s flow surprises you by coming a week early.
First trimester bleeding happens in case of every 1 our of 4 women, and half of them have a miscarriage 2. So is it implantation bleeding or early period?
Implantation bleeding and period differ in more than one thing.
The timing of the spotting is just one of the criteria to distinguish implantation or period.
If the flow of blood is heavy, then it is most probably early period. The color of menses is bright red. Implantation spotting can be light or dark brown. Only a few drops of blood come out of the vagina as implantation bleeding.
How to distinguish implantation bleeding and early period?
You can distinguish Implantation bleeding and early period by looking for implantation symptoms.
The other signs of implantation such as cramps also distinguish it from an early period.
During implantation, the cramping is mild and doesn’t hurt much.
Menstrual cramps are immensely painful, and they continue for a longer time.
Implantation symptoms include changes in cervical mucus.
After implantation which is only 24-48 hours long, the cervical mucus glands discharge watery fluid.
Whereas after the period the vagina is not as wet as after pregnancy.
The mucus plug is essential for protecting the growing embryo. It seals the cervix end to prevent entry and exit from that point.
The rest is covered by the placenta that starts forming after implantation.
Pregnancy tests after implantation are positive and cannot be positive after the period.
The egg flows out along with the endometrial lining during a period, so pregnancy is not possible.
Early period or implantation bleeding is a common question by women who have a light period.
The first day of the period is more about cramps and breaking of the uterine lining and less about heavy blood flow.
The next day the flow gets heavier and the cramping subsides gradually.
In case of implantation, the cramping totally vanishes after the first day.
For establishing conditions necessary for implantation your body could be using sex steroids to regulate genes for implantation.
The American Society of Clinical Investigation published a research regarding the effect of sex steroids during implantation events 3.
What it really means for you, is the importance of any chemical that you take during the sensitive period.
Period three days early or implantation bleeding?
Implantation can happen anytime between 7-12 days after ovulation. So it is only 3 days before period if it late implantation.
In some cases, implantation can be so late that you miss a period during next cycle. If you don’t take a pregnancy test, you will not even come to know that you are pregnant for a month.
This is because the baby bump hasn’t grown much and you can dismiss the pregnancy signs unaware of the cause.
It will be dangerous for your baby and you if you keep taking painkillers or other drugs.
Period 3 days early is possible but implantation bleeding looking like a period is not.
A period will always be heavier and will last longer. Implantation bleeding will be light and get over within two days at most.
You need to consider all points of differences between implantation bleeding and period.
Short early period or implantation bleeding
Now a woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant or who is anxious about early pregnancy loss will not accept reality.
Short early period or implantation bleeding disregards two points of difference.
One, the duration of period considering it as a short early period and second, the timing by considering that it is early period.
Still, you are left with other ways to figure out implantation bleeding or early menses. You can record your basal body temperature, and if you find a dip, then it is implantation.
Following this, there will be a rise in BBT back to normal. The triphasic BBT confirms that you are pregnant.
Why implantation happens only a week after conception?
Implantation occurs after the zygote reaches a 64 celled stage called blastocyst. The first division after fertilization takes 30 hours, more than a day.
The next division takes another 10 hours after it.
The fourth division completes after 3 days from fertilization.
Over the time a mulberry like a bunch of cells structures caller Morula forms.
Later on, the morula goes on dividing to give rise to blastocyst. The human fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes.
During cleavage or division of the fertilized egg, the embryo travels down the tubes to reach the uterus for implantation, opposite to the way a sperm traveled for fertilization.
On the seventh day after fertilization, the embryo reaches the site of implantation. Now it attaches to the lining of the uterus using the trophoblast fibers.
The secretions from the uterus lining help it sink inside.
Then it extends projections for obtaining nutrition. After 48 hours from start, implantation completes.
On adding the time of postfertilization events, you get about a week. So implantation happens only a week after conception.
How to distinguish between implantation bleeding or irregular period?
Implantation bleeding or irregular period can be similar if you have only spotting. But the color of implantation bleeding will still be different from the irregular period.
An irregular or regular period is fresh blood coming out of the vagina. Implantation spotting is old blood that comes out of the vagina after staying there for some time.
The reason for this is the quantity of blood is so less during implantation that it takes time to flow through. While in case of the period it is a continuous flow.
For distinguishing implantation bleeding and irregular period, you can check out your ovulation date using an online ovulation calculator.
If the spotting is about a week after ovulation and has a brown color, then it is because of implantation.
Obviously, it requires that you have had sex before you expect implantation. If you did not have sex for a long time near ovulation, then it can be irregular period.
Along with that, you need to look for symptoms like cramping and pain. Even during an irregular period, the pain is excruciating.
So if you are in pain then you may be having irregular menstrual flow.
Scientists are working to understand the molecular interactions inside your body at time of implantation. Near future has it when affordable diagnostic tests will be able to detect implantation.
Studies published in Endocrine Reviews4 back in 2004 talked of it.
Late implantation bleeding
Yes, late implantation bleeding is when it almost takes place during menses. You will not miss your period. All women are unique and so different things can happen.
Late implantation bleeding is because of various reasons like the slow division of egg. This prevents the following events and in turn delays implantation.
After fertilization, early pregnancy factor releases and many other chemicals are essential for growth. Any defects during this stage can cause late implantation bleeding.
During implantation its extremely important for the endometrial lining to avoid egg embedding from a different species. To avoid the implantation of a alien egg implantation receptivity is short term.
Even during the period of embryo attachment the uterus is briefly welcoming 5. Early pregnancy loss, near implantation time, is common because of brief cross talk.
Pregnancy bleeding is not restricted to period or implantation bleeding. Heavy bleeding can be because of extra tissue growth, gestational trophoblastic disease, and embryo death.
- Implantation and the Survival of Early Pregnancy https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra000763
- PubMed. (2009). First Trimester Bleeding Retrieved September 5, 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19514696
- J Clin Invest. 1998;101(7):1379-1384. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI1057
- S. K. Dey, H. Lim, Sanjoy K. Das, Jeff Reese, B. C. Paria, Takiko Daikoku, Haibin Wang; Molecular Cues to Implantation, Endocrine Reviews, Volume 25, Issue 3, 1 June 2004, Pages 341–373, https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2003-0020
- Deciphering Cross Talk Of Implantation: Advances and Challenges https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12077405