Bleeding after your period or seeing some mid-cycle spotting? Turns out, the culprit could be ovulation bleeding.
If you spot a little blood in your underwear around the middle of your menstrual cycle, ovulation bleeding could be to blame.
Ovulation is that key moment when your ovary releases an egg, ready to begin its journey towards fertilization – and, potentially, becoming a baby!
Now, we know it doesn’t seem fair to get extra bleeding (aka spotting) on top of your period, but spotting during ovulation could be an extra handy fertility sign to help you if you’re trying to conceive.
We spoke with embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar, to get the 411 on ovulation bleeding.
In this article: 📝
- What causes spotting during ovulation?
- Ovulation bleeding vs implantation bleeding
- What does ovulation bleeding look like?
- How long does ovulation bleeding last?
- Other signs of ovulation to watch for
- Ovulation bleeding FAQs
What causes spotting during ovulation?
It’s thought that ovulation bleeding could be caused by the swift changes in hormone levels that take place around ovulation, which happens around 11 to 21 days after the first day of your last period (depending on the length of your cycle).
Before the egg is released, estrogen levels have been ramping up to turn your uterus into a cozy home for a baby to grow in.
Then, a spike in the hormone LH (luteinizing hormone) causes the egg to pop out of your ovary and start heading down the fallopian tube.
At this point, estrogen levels have begun falling again and the hormone progesterone takes over the job of preparing your uterus to welcome the fertilized egg (embryo).
It’s thought that this change from estrogen being in control to progesterone taking charge is what might cause spotting after ovulation or bleeding after period in some women.
Does ovulation spotting mean I already ovulated?
Seeing ovulation spotting or ovulation bleeding is generally a sign that you’re ovulating right now, or that you’re due to ovulate very soon.
Can stress cause ovulation bleeding?
Yes and no.
Stress can cause mid-cycle spotting or bleeding after period, but it may not be ovulation bleeding.
Ovulation bleeding vs implantation bleeding
While ovulation bleeding happens around the time an egg leaves your ovary, implantation bleeding is something that can occur when a fertilized egg (embryo) attaches to the lining of your uterus.
How long after ovulation does implantation bleeding occur?
Well, an egg has to be fertilized within 24 hours of its release from the ovary, and then implantation happens 7 to 14 days after the egg is fertilized.
It can be easy to mistake implantation bleeding for the start of your period, but it’s a much lighter flow of blood and only lasts half a day to 2 days.
The blood will also look more similar to ovulation bleeding (brown, reddish, or pink) rather than the bright red blood of your period.
Does ovulation spotting happen before or after ovulation?
Usually, ovulation spotting or ovulation bleeding happens while you’re ovulating, but it has been known to be a precursor to ovulation.
So some light ovulation spotting could mean that you’re about to ovulate, about to leave your fertile window.
It is possible to have a positive ovulation test while bleeding ‒ while it’s rare, it’s not impossible.
Are you still fertile after ovulation bleeding?
Yes ‒ sometimes, your ovulation bleeding can occur just before your ovulation day, which means that you could still be fertile after ovulation spotting.
But your day of ovulation is the last day of your fertile window ‒ the time when you’re at your most fertile.
So bleeding during fertile window is possible.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant after this time, more that the chances drop from that point, until your next fertile window.
What does ovulation bleeding look like?
Ovulation spotting usually appears as a small amount of blood, which is reddish, brown, or pink in color.
So brown spotting during ovulation can be totally normal.
If it’s pink, that’s probably because the blood has mixed with your cervical fluid – something you have more of in the days leading up to ovulation.
Most of the time, ovulation bleeding doesn’t look the same as period blood ‒ it’s generally less heavy.
If you’re experiencing bleeding during ovulation or spotting just before your ovulation day, you’ll likely only see a little bit of blood.
How long does ovulation bleeding last?
Ovulation bleeding is likely to last a couple of hours ‒ day or two at most ‒ and, as we saw earlier, the ovulation spotting should only be very light.
If you have ovulation spotting that isn’t going away, the bleeding is heavier, or you have any other unpleasant symptoms (such as severe abdominal pain, dizziness, or a fever) it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Can ovulation bleeding last 5 days?
Generally speaking, no, ovulation bleeding doesn’t last 5 days.
If you’re experiencing bleeding after period or mid-cycle bleeding that lasts for more than 2 days, it’s best to have a chat with your doctor.
Other signs of ovulation to watch for
If you do regularly experience ovulation bleeding, you could record this and other signs of ovulation to help you maximize your chances of conceiving (or not ‒ it’s your choice!).
Keep an eye on your cervical fluid, too.
When this is very wet and/or stretchy like egg white, it’s a sign that ovulation is on the way.
It’s also the start of your “fertile window”: as sperm can survive for up to five days in this fluid, get busy between the sheets ASAP to increase the odds of getting pregnant once ovulation occurs.
There are some other ovulation symptoms to look out for, too:
- An ache on one side of your abdomen (ovulation cramps)
- Tender breasts
- A higher sex drive
- An increase in your basal body temperature (right after ovulation)
- Higher levels of the hormone LH (you can use an ovulation test to detect this)
Essentially, it’s about working out which signs are most noticeable for you and which are most convenient for you to track ‒after all, ovulation bleeding is surprisingly rare.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can put the notebook to one side and get on with the fun part of making a baby!
Ovulation bleeding FAQs
If you think you have some ovulation bleeding or mid-cycle spotting and you still have some questions, never fear ‒ we’ve got the answers:
Is it common to bleed during ovulation?
Do you bleed during ovulation? As it turns out, you could be in a pretty exclusive club!
Ovulation bleeding is actually quite rare: it’s estimated that around 5% of women experience it.
But if you’re one of those few, or you’re bleeding during ovulation for the first time, try not to worry!
A small amount of spotting after ovulation or mid-cycle bleeding isn’t usually a sign that anything is wrong.
Stress, medication, or even body temperatures can cause some mid-cycle spotting.
But if you’re concerned, have a chat with your healthcare provider.
If you want to hear about other womens’ ovulation bleeding stories or share your own in an ovulation bleeding forum, you’re welcome to join our Peanut community.
How much bleeding is normal during ovulation?
Typically, if you do have some ovulation bleeding, it likely won’t be much blood ‒ more like ovulation spotting.
We’re talking a few drops over a couple of hours or, at most, a couple of days.
So perhaps just a sprinkling of red, brown, or pink, in your underwear or on your toilet paper after you pee.
If you have heavy ovulation bleeding, we’d recommend checking in with your doctor.
Is spotting after ovulation normal?
If you’re spotting 2-3 days after ovulation or spotting 5 days before period, that could be a little bleeding after ovulation.
This isn’t very common, but spotting after ovulation can be totally normal.
There’s also a chance that it could be implantation bleeding, which could be an early sign of pregnancy.
When should I worry about ovulation bleeding?
Generally speaking, ovulation bleeding, although rare, isn’t any cause for concern.
But there are some things to look out for:
- Heavy ovulation bleeding (like your normal period or heavier)
- Ovulation bleeding lasting for more than 2 days
- Blood clots during ovulation bleeding
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded during ovulation bleeding
- Regular heavy bleeding during ovulation
If you notice any of these, check in with your doctor.
How to stop ovulation bleeding
There aren’t really any ways to stop ovulation bleeding, but if your ovulation spotting is caused by stress, there are some things you could try to prevent it:
- Sleeping well
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly (whatever works for you)
- Meditation and deep breathing
How long after ovulation does period start?
While your menstrual cycle might be a little different, the average is about 28 days.
If your cycle is 28 days, then you could expect your period to start about 10-14 days after your day of ovulation.
Can you get pregnant with ovulation bleeding?
So can you get pregnant while spotting?
Yes, you can conceive during ovulation bleeding.
Your ovulation day is the last day of your fertility window (when you’re most likely to conceive), but it is possible to get pregnant during ovulation bleeding.
How many days after ovulation can you get pregnant?
Did you know that you can get pregnant after ovulation?
After your day of ovulation, your chances of getting pregnant reduce, until your fertile window opens up again.
Let’s break down your chances of getting pregnant throughout your menstrual cycle:
- Day 1: < 1% chance (first day of period)
- Day 2: < 1% chance
- Day 3: < 1% chance
- Day 4: < 1% chance
- Day 5: < 1% chance
- Day 6: < 1% chance
- Day 7: Around 3% chance
- Day 8: Around 6% chance
- Day 9: Around 9% chance
- Day 10: Around 18% chance (start of fertile window)
- Day 11: Around 27% chance
- Day 12: Around 33% chance
- Day 13: Around 42% chance
- Day 14: Around 20% chance (ovulation day)
- Day 15: Around 8% chance
- Day 16: < 1% chance
- Day 17: < 1% chance
- Day 18: < 1% chance
- Day 19: < 1% chance
- Day 20: < 1% chance
- Day 21: < 1% chance
- Day 22: < 1% chance
- Day 23: < 1% chance
- Day 24: < 1% chance
- Day 25: < 1% chance
- Day 26: < 1% chance
- Day 27: < 1% chance
- Day 28: < 1% chance
I’m bleeding during ovulation, am I pregnant?
Could bleeding during ovulation be an early sign of pregnancy? Maybe.
Is bleeding after ovulation a sign of pregnancy? It could be.
Some of our mamas on Peanut have said that when they were ovulation spotting, twins were just around the corner!
But sometimes, ovulation bleeding is just a sign of ovulation, stress, or something else.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your menstrual cycle and your fertility journey.
It’s just as individual as you.
So that’s all there is to know about ovulation bleeding!
We hope it’s allayed some of your ovulation spotting fears, but if you want to hear more ovulation bleeding stories or share your own with like-minded women, why not join us on Peanut?