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Are you getting ready to try for a baby, or have you already started?

After you have your preconception health in order, it is time to take the plunge! Along with questions about using an ovulation calendar, and how often to have intercourse, you may wonder how to recognize an implantation bleeding. 

What is an implantation bleeding, actually?

If an egg is fertilized after ovulation, that zygote's next step is making the journey to the uterus from the fallopian tube. There, it will start to nestle in a thick bed of tissues lining the whole womb. This lining, called the endometrium, consists of blood and tissues, forms a suitable "bed" for the developing zygote. The process of implantation can, it will come as no surprise, cause some bleeding inside the womb (see a nerd's guide to getting pregnant for detailed info about the actual conception process). This bleeding will be sometimes be expelled from the body in the form if a few drops of old, brown looking blood. That is what we call an implantation bleeding.

What it looks like

The earliest time at which a fertilized egg can implant is around seven days following ovulation, and does conception. Another way to describe the timing would be around a week before you expect your period, in most women. Since the origin of this bleeding is the uterus, you can't expect to notice an implantation bleeding right at that time the blood will take a few days to travel down to the vagina. You may spot a few drops of old, brown or dark red blood (though it won't even look much like blood, usually), when you wipe after the toilet, or just in your underwear.

Basically, those who have an implantation bleeding will notice it a while before they would have their period. You can tell implantation bleeding and menstruation apart in two weeks. First, implantation bleeding comes earlier. This will only help you if you have fairly regular periods. Secondly, a period normally starts off with quite heavy bleeding and continues for days. A few drops of blood and then clear cervical mucus makes it clear that you are not experiencing a menstrual period.

Women who don't know what an implantation bleeding is may wonder if they are having a really weird period, or if they may be having a miscarriage. An implantation bleeding is, meanwhile, completely normal. Not every newly pregnant woman will experience or spot one, but this small bleeding between your ovulation and the time you would have had your menstrual period is actually quite a big gift. It is, after all, the first indication that you may be expecting a baby!

And if you don't have an implantation bleeding?

While an implantation bleeding also sometimes called implantation spotting because it is really a small amount of blood is healthy and normal, only a minority of women who have just become pregnant ever notice one. Approximately one in five pregnancies will start with the mom noticing implantation spotting. That leaves plenty of women who never had an implantation bleeding! It may be something you would like to watch out for if you are trying to get pregnant, but it is not "required" in any way.

Ovulation bleeding

Don't confuse an implantation bleeding an ovulation bleeding, which some women also experience regularly. An ovulation bleeding is probably caused by a small bleeding inside the ovaries after a follicle is released. This bleeding will occur around the time of ovulation and is sometimes accompanied by a mild feeling of pain. If you are only just ovulating, the spotting obviously cannot be caused by a fertilized egg implanting; keep on waiting patiently and watching out for an implantation bleeding and other pregnancy signs over the next few weeks.