FAQ

What’s Implantation Bleeding? How Is It Different From a Period?

FAQ

What’s Implantation Bleeding? How Is It Different From a Period?

Implantation bleeding is a small amount of blood or spotting that comes from the uterus when someone is pregnant. Sometimes people worry that what they might mistake it for their period. But, they actually look pretty different!

It’s pretty rare for someone to mistake implantation bleeding for a period. It has less blood and the blood is lighter in colour. It also doesn’t come with much cramping.

How does implantation bleeding work?

Implantation bleeding happens when someone gets pregnant. So, a fertilized egg sticks to the wall of someone’s uterus. Sometimes, this can cause a bit of blood to come out.

It usually happens around 6 days after someone has sex that could get them pregnant. So, it usually happens before someone would expect to get their period.

Not everyone who gets pregnant will have it. Less than half of all people who get pregnant do!

How is implantation bleeding different than a period?

They can look very different! Some of the ways implantation bleeding is different are:

  • Colour: It’s pink or brown. Period blood might start that colour but is usually changes to dark red.
  • Flow: It’s much lighter than a period
  • Cramping: No cramps or ones that are less intense than period cramps
  • Clotting: No blood clots are passed
  • Length: It lasts 1-3 days instead of 4-7 days like a period
  • Consistency: It’s on and off bleeding instead of bleeding that gets heavier

A lot of the time someone will only notice implantation bleeding after going to the bathroom because the flow is so light! But, periods are much heavier and easier to notice.

How can I know for sure that it’s my period?

It can be confusing to tell the difference between a period and implantation bleeding. Especially if you have irregular cycles or just started getting your period.

If you’re worried about being pregnant you can take a pregnancy test. They’re very accurate if you use them properly. You can take one 10 days after having sex that you think got you pregnant, but they’re most accurate if you wait until you missed your period. You can also talk to a doctor who can tell you for sure.

Periods can start out light and get heavier as the days go on. If you have light bleeding, you can wait a day or two and see if it gets heavier or continues. If it does, it’s probably a period!

More info

Late periods – Scarleteen

This article goes through the many possible reasons why someone could have a late period and explains them and what to do when you’re late.

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