The reason implantation bleeding can be easily confused with a period is because it occurs around the time you might be expecting your period. It is a small bleed that is pink or brown in colour, so can look like the beginning of your period. It can either be a brownish discharge or spotting. Some women report feeling a mild cramping, a headache or mood swings.
If you are trying for a baby and suspect that you may have had implantation bleeding, here are some things which make it different from a period:
- Colour: Implantation bleeding is rarely the same bright red that a period bleed is. It is more likely to be pinkish or brown.
- Duration: The bleed occurs when the egg is attaching itself to the wall of the uterus, so the bleed lasts only as long as this is taking place. It could be as fast as a few hours, but last no longer than a couple of days. If the bleeding continues into a third day it is unlikely to be implantation bleeding.
- Timing: It may be slightly earlier than you were expecting your period, it can occur anytime between day 10 and day 13. If you automatically assume your period has arrived early, keep on eye on things as it may not be.
- Cramping: Some women report some mild cramping at around the time the implantation bleed occurred. The difference between period cramping and implantation cramping is that it will only be very mild (barely detectable for some women) and it will not increase in intensity.
If you’re still unsure, the only way to know for certain is to take a pregnancy test. However, you will need to wait a few days after implantation bleeding to ensure there is enough HCG pregnancy hormone in your system for the pregnancy test to detect.
A blood test, ordered through your doctor can also provide a definitive answer.