What does implantation bleeding look like? How can you tell it apart from your period? And are brown implantation bleeding pics normal? We give you the low-down on one of pregnancy’s more elusive early signs.
When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), every twinge, change, and craving becomes a possibility.
In the two weeks between ovulation and a home pregnancy test, light spotting might seem like a defeat, but should you spot it (pun very much intended), don’t panic.
This could be one of the earliest signs that a fertilized egg has decided to make your uterus its home (yay!).
It’s called implantation bleeding, and while not every pregnant person will experience it, it’s helpful to know what to keep an eye out for.
After all, it’s one more exciting sign that there’s a bun in the oven!
Eager to know how to recognize implantation bleeding?
Say no more.
We explain what causes implant bleeding, when it occurs, and how you can tell the difference between this light spotting and your period.
In this article: 📝
- What is implantation bleeding?
- When does implantation bleeding occur?
- Implantation bleeding vs. period: How will you know?
- Can implantation bleeding look like a period?
- What are the symptoms of implantation bleeding?
- Real implantation stories from the Peanut community
- Can I test pregnancy during implantation bleeding?
What is implantation bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is a small amount of bleeding that may occur at a critical moment in your embryo’s journey to fully-grown babyhood.
From conception, your embryo has been traveling down your fallopian tube, all the while dividing and growing at an impressive rate.
But it needs more nutrients to keep the growth going.
Around 5 to 6 days after fertilization, your embryo will make the move into your uterus, where it can find a more permanent home and the nutrients needed to support it.
Implantation is this essential stage in early pregnancy when the embryo attaches itself to the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) — which has already been thickening in preparation — and becomes reliant on the mother’s body for all nutrients and oxygen for the first time.
So, where does implantation bleeding come in?
Well, as your embryo implants into your endometrium, its burrowing can disrupt the tiny blood vessels that surround its chosen sweet spot leading to a small amount of spotting or bleeding.
Aside from giving a hyper-aware mama-to-be temporary cause for concern, this entire experience is normal.
The endometrium quickly recovers, while you get light bleeding that looks like a period.
When does implantation bleeding occur?
So spotting could spell promising signs. Great!
The next burning question is when does implantation bleeding happen?
Implantation usually happens about 10 to 14 days after you’ve conceived, but it can be as early as 6 days for some women.
Implantation spotting occurs somewhere during the process, alongside other symptoms, like cramping or a dip in your basal body temperature.
So if you have some bleeding immediately after sex, it’s not likely to be implantation bleeding.
And while it can happen as early as just after conception, light bleeding in the run-up to your expected period or even about the time that your period is due to start (confusingly!) could be implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding vs. period: How will you know?
Ah, the burning question: how can I tell if it’s implantation bleeding or the start of my period?
The confusion is valid.
When looking at pictures of heavy implantation bleeding, it can be easy to mistake the tell-tale spotting for the start of your period.
The difference depends on how you experience menstruation in general.
For example, if you tend to have lighter periods, you may not notice the difference initially.
Equally confusing is that for many women, spotting in between periods is not entirely abnormal.
Women with PCOS can have nonexistent to light to heavy periods, and it varies month to month.
For them, light bleeding between periods has become a normal side effect of an irregular period.
No matter your individual experience, there are a few tell-tale signs that can tip you off that a little embryo has made your uterus its home.
Let’s look at these questions in closer detail:
What does implantation bleeding look like?
If you look at some implantation bleeding pictures, you might find yourself getting out your magnifying glass to spot the blood.
Early pregnancy spotting looks like only a very tiny amount of blood — in fact, you might have it but totally miss it.
And in implantation bleeding pictures, it can also appear different on different materials, like a tissue or pad.
What color is implantation bleeding?
Implantation bleeding can initially look like a pinky tinge on a tissue — maybe a more peachy color.
A quick peak through implant bleeding pictures usually reveals pinkish or brown spotting.
Yep, brown implantation bleeding pics are not uncommon.
Pink means the blood is mixed with cervical mucus; brown means the blood has taken a while to exit your body and has oxidized on the way.
But bright red implantation bleeding has also been reported by our moms-to-be on Peanut, too.
From there, you may notice that you bleed a little more over a day or two.
Can implantation bleeding be as heavy as a period?
Not usually, no — it’s generally significantly less than normal period bleeding.
Most implantation bleeding pics reveal a few spots or a very light blood flow — usually not enough to soak the pad or pantyliner.
But some women do experience heavy implantation bleeding, which can look closer to a period.
Even if you search for heavy implantation bleeding pictures, you’ll still find the spotting to be pretty light versus a period— enough for a panty liner at most.
Heavier implant bleeding is rare and tends to happen in women with an underlying bleeding disorder that affects their blood’s ability to clot.
How many days does implantation bleeding last?
Implantation spotting only lasts for 1 to 2 days on average, and it may be very “on-and-off” rather than a continuous flow of blood.
On the other hand, if the bleeding lasts for several days and is heavier, it could be your period.
At the end of the day, you know your body best and are the best judge of what’s normal for you.
Note: if you have bleeding that is unusually heavy or painful or lasts longer than usual, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
Heavy bleeding early in pregnancy could signify pregnancy loss or, more rarely, a molar pregnancy.
When in doubt, get it checked out.
Can implantation bleeding look like a period?
At most, it might resemble the light flow you get at the start or end of your period.
And you’ll find no shortage of brown implantation bleeding pics, either.
Like brown vaginal discharge, brown implantation bleeding can be a typical sign of early pregnancy.
If the bleeding becomes heavier and changes to a more vibrant red, it’s likely to be your period rather than implantation spotting.
This is because it may be happening when your normal period is due, so it’s safe to assume it’s a period rather than implantation bleeding.
But if you have other potential pregnancy symptoms, there’s nothing to stop you from taking a pregnancy test to make sure.
It’s worth keeping in mind that at this stage, many women don’t know they’re pregnant, as implantation bleeding often occurs before a positive pregnancy result (more on this below).
Don’t worry, there are other ways to check.
What are the symptoms of implantation bleeding?
Implantation bleeding pics only tell part of the story.
Light spotting aside, implantation can come with a few tell-tale symptoms that may give you some clarity before your pregnancy test.
Your bleeding is more likely to be implantation spotting if:
- It happens about 10 to 14 days (or sometimes a little earlier) after you think conception took place
- Implantation cramping that feels like light period cramps
- Tender breasts
- Bloating and constipation
You may have no additional symptoms besides light bleeding, but not to worry.
It’s still early days yet, mama!
Real implantation stories from the Peanut community
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pregnancy; the same goes for implantation bleeding.
Nowhere is this more clear than in our community.
In between the implantation pics and concerns are the first-hand experiences and pearls of wisdom from the women who have experienced implant spotting firsthand (in all its shades):
- “I had implantation bleeding when my period should have started and it was a very small amount of brown discharge, like how my period usually starts, just a few spots but then didn’t go any heavier and I found I was pregnant!” ‒ Debbie
- “When I got pregnant I thought my period started because I had a day of brown blood, which is normally what the first day of my period looks like. Turns out it was just implantation bleeding. Definitely possible!” ‒ Samara
- “I had very light pink discharge a week before my period was due and I tested positive on the first day, then it was brown for two days.” ‒ Jess
- “Implantation bleeding for me happened VERY quickly actually after conception which if you look it up, does differ with different people. I didn’t even know I was pregnant when it happened to me. I was bleeding on and off for a whole week, then it got a little darker, and then stopped. It wasn’t until my next month’s cycle didn’t show up that I took a test and found out I was pregnant. I would recommend keeping track of any bleeding and seeing what happens in the weeks after. ‒ Britt
- “I had implantation bleeding at 6 weeks which looked like a period but it wasn’t. I would say if it’s not too much or too heavy, don’t worry about it. It’s normal. However, keep an eye on it and you can always ring your GP for reassurance.” ‒ Fatima
If you’re still wondering what implantation bleeding looks like and you’re after some implantation bleeding pictures for clarity, join our TTC community on Peanut.
You are not alone.
Can I test pregnancy during implantation bleeding?
We know you’re eager to find out whether your pregnancy journey is underway, but it’s best to take a pregnancy test once the suspected implantation bleeding is over — and ideally after the first day of your missed period.
It can take a few more days after implantation bleeding to test positive because your hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone) levels may not be high enough.
Better to wait 4-5 days after you see some implantation bleeding before you take a pregnancy test to give your pregnancy hormones time to build up and avoid unnecessary disappointment.
Fingers crossed for the result you want to get!
Can I test negative after implantation bleeding?
Yes, you can test negative after implantation bleeding, even when you’re actually pregnant.
Your hCG levels need to be at a certain point to be registered on a pregnancy test, so it might be a little too early for a test.
Many women on Peanut who are trying to conceive or navigating their fertility journeys share implantation bleeding pics for other opinions — even pictures of heavy implantation bleeding that resulted in healthy pregnancies.
And let us not forget those brown implantation bleeding pics.
After all, every pregnancy journey is different.
So if you’d like another opinion, you’re welcome to share your implantation bleeding pics in our safe TTC community ‒ we just recommend putting a little trigger warning before you post!
You’re always welcome to join our Peanut community.
We’re having the conversation.