Am I having implantation bleeding in pregnancy?

Implantation of embryo in pregnancy
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Question: Am I having implantation bleeding in pregnancy?

Answer: Implantation bleeding is spotting or slight bleeding just before your normal period is due. This is caused from a fertilized egg implanting in your uterus. The uterine lining is made up of blood and at implantation a bit of blood is displaced. This means that the blood will leave through your cervix, and thus be seen by the woman.

"When I wiped, I would find a small tinge of blood on the toilet paper," recalls Hillary, a first time mom.

"I thought it was really weird, but we were trying to get pregnant and everyone said that weird things could happen. I wish I had known more, because I was simply scared. I called the doctor's office, but they really weren't any help since I wasn't necessarily pregnant, nor an OB patient yet. That was extra frustrating."

Implantation bleeding is not a sign of something wrong. We tend to think the worst case scenario with any bleeding. Don't worry if you are having implantation bleeding.

Some women will mistake this blood as the beginning of their menstrual cycle or period. This is one of the reasons that your practitioner will ask you if your last period was normal. If you have seen spotting or some bleeding and assumed it was your period, you may have miscalculated your due date, making you further along than you originally thought. This can be a fairly common occurrence and one that all doctors and midwives will screen for during your early prenatal visits.

Implantation bleeding can be confused with other periods of bleeding. It is not bleeding near ovulation. It is also not a sign of miscarriage. These typically are at different times and may or may not have heavier bleeding. Implantation bleeding is also not associated with pain. 

Be sure to continue acting pregnant, by that I mean taking your prenatal vitamins, eating well, exercising, and avoiding potentially harmful substances.

A pregnancy test will normally be positive shortly after implantation bleeding, but it still may take days.

While many pregnancy tests say that you can take them before you missed your period, this is typically only a day or two before. And if you get a negative pregnancy test using one of these early tests before you miss your period, it is more difficult to confirm that you are not pregnant. This might be an example of a false negative pregnancy test. This is one of the reasons why it may be best to wait until you have missed your period to take a pregnancy test.

More on bleeding in pregnancy.

Sources:

Gabbe, Niebyl, Simpson, et al. Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 6th Edition.

Weschler, T. Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Harper Collins. 2006.

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