Late Implantation Bleeding: Can It Affect Your Pregnancy?

Late Implantation bleeding occurs during early pregnancy and stops on its own after one or two days. Typically, implantation occurs between six and 10 days after the fertilization of the egg. At this time, many women experience spotting and light bleeding.

However, in some cases, implantation occurs later, well after 10 days have passed. This is called late implantation and can also be characterized by bleeding. Called late implantation bleeding, this is often a cause for alarm. Many times, new moms-to-be end up highly stressed, making a panicked visit to the doctor when they spot the signs of implantation bleeding. Should you be worried about late pregnancy implantation bleeding? How do you identify it? Why does it occur? Here are the answers you seek.

Why and When Does Implantation Bleeding Occur?

You could be wondering, “What causes implantation bleeding?” Well, implantation starts with the sperm fertilizing the egg, making an embryo. The embryo moves through the fallopian tubes and as it does, it multiplies and becomes a bundle of cells called a blastocyst. The blastocyst reaches the uterus and attaches itself to the uterine wall. This is implantation. At this time the blood vessels in the uterine wall break down. Implantation bleeding happens when this rupture happens. Not all women experience implantation bleeding. For some women, it may just be spotting for a few hours, for others, it may last a couple of days.

The answer to the question, “When do you get implantation bleeding?” is—typically, implantation takes place six to 10 days post fertilization and this is when implantation bleeding occurs. When late implantation takes place, that is, more than 10 days after fertilization, the bleeding occurs at this point.

Some of the common causes of late implantation are:

Late implantation Effect on Pregnancy Success

Research shows that the chances of a successful pregnancy lessen as the implantation date moves further away. One research showed that a fertilized egg implanted by the 9th day had a 13% chance of failed pregnancy but an egg implanted on the 10th day had a 26% chance of the same. After the 12th day, the chances of a failed pregnancy rise to 82%. It is important to know that in such cases, the mothers may not even know that they have conceived. Note, these figures pertain to very early pregnancy loss and not a later miscarriage.

How to Identify Implantation Bleeding Symptoms?

Often, the hopeful mom may not be able to identify implantation bleeding owing to its timing which comes close to menstrual periods. Especially, they may get confused between implantation symptoms vs. period bleeding. Here’s how to tell them apart:

  • If it is one of the symptoms after implantation, bleeding occurs slightly before your expected menstrual cycle.
  • The colour of the discharge is a good way for you to tell the two apart. Implantation bleeding is pinkish to dark brownish. Period blood is bright red.
  • Post implantation, you experience light bleeding. Pregnancy implantation bleeding also lasts for a shorter duration than periods, say a few hours to a couple of days. It may also just be one streak of blood that you notice, unlike your periods where you bleed consistently and steadily over three days or more.

Is Implantation Bleeding Painful?

Usually, implantation bleeding is not painful but it can be accompanied by other pregnancy symptoms. In fact, these symptoms can also help you differentiate implantation symptoms vs. period symptoms:

Remember that implantation bleeding is only a sign of pregnancy and many women may not even experience or notice it.

Can Implantation Bleeding Be Heavy?

Implantation bleeding should not be very heavy or last very long. When the bleeding requires a large pad to soak up and/or it lasts more than 2-3 days, it cannot be ignored.  If this is the case, contact your doctor immediately. Make sure you note down information such as:

  • The colour of the blood
  • When you started bleeding
  • How long it lasted
  • Was it a heavy, continuous flow or more like spotting

If you have been trying to conceive, you may also confuse implantation bleeding and breakthrough bleeding. Pregnancy hormones are at work after conception and they overwhelm your menstrual cycle. Breakthrough bleeding may occur at any time during pregnancy. Again, women who smoke are at greater risk.

Breakthrough bleeding is similar to your periods. It starts slow but strengthens. Also, the blood is a bright red and not pink or brown like implantation bleeding. If you see clots along with the blood, know that they are a significant indicator of breakthrough bleeding.

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Late implantation bleeding by itself is not a risk to your pregnancy. However, if you are bleeding from the vagina and the flow is heavy and consistent, you should immediately get medical advice. Stay calm, jot down all the relevant information and talk to your doctor at once.