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When you are trying to conceive a baby, it is normal to constantly be on the lookout for potential pregnancy signs. After ovulation but before your period, you may watch out for morning sickness or pregnancy nausea, extreme fatigue, sore and tender breasts, abdominal bloating and cramping, and more frequent urination. 

Another possible pregnancy symptom you will be paying attention to is the so-called implantation bleeding.

Implantation bleeding is a much-discussed phenomenon on internet discussion boards for women who are hoping to get pregnant, but scientific research into the nature of this bleeding is surprisingly lacking — unless you are talking about non-human primates. 

What Is An Implantation Bleeding?

An implantation bleeding is thought to occur when a fertilized egg nestles itself into the lining of the uterus in some pregnant women. Those women who have an implantation bleeding are most likely to notice it between seven and 12 days after ovulation, because the blood that is believed to be released during this process takes a while to be expelled from your body. 

An implantation bleeding may consist of extremely light spotting or be slightly heavier, but it is not generally heavy enough to fill a menstrual pad. In most cases, an implantation bleeding is characterized by dark brown or dark red blood, and it typically lasts between one and two days

Since a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall around five to six days after conception, it is unlikely that any bleeding you may experience sooner is an implantation bleeding — if, that is, you are sure when you ovulated because you used urine ovulation tests. Women who experience slight spotting around a week before their period is due, meanwhile, are more likely to have had an implantation bleeding.

The "diagnosis" of implantation bleeding can only really be made after you find out you are pregnant, however. Once you have a positive pregnancy test in your hand, you can be pretty sure that the bleeding you experienced must have been an implantation bleeding.

If It Wasn't An Implantation Bleeding, What Was It?

Irregular vaginal bleeding between periods may be caused by:

  • Hormonal contraceptives, which you won't be using if you are trying to conceive
  • An ovulation bleeding — you may have miscalculated your ovulation date
  • Stress
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vigorous sexual intercourse that slightly injured your cervix or vagina
  • A hormonal imbalance
  • Uterine polyps
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

It can also be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. Any woman who notices irregular vaginal bleeding between periods often should seek medical advice, in addition to attending regular screening tests. 

You might also like to be aware of the fact that many women experience light spotting or bleeding during early pregnancy. This does not have to indicate an impending miscarriage. Women who have irregular periods and are not monitoring their ovulation dates closely may, in some cases, mistake this early pregnancy spotting for a period or an implantation bleeding. 

What Now?

See your doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding that concerns you, but don't be too worried. To find out whether you really might have experienced an implantation bleeding, wait until your period is due. If it does not arrive, take a pregnancy test. 

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