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How to differentiate between implantation bleeding and period blood?

implantation bleeding versus period bleeding
How to differentiate between implantation bleeding and period blood?

Author - Dr. Kavya Krishna Kumar MBBS, FMAS, MS

Consultant - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals Alwarpet, Chennai

The onset of pregnancy is marked by implantation bleeding. Bleeding during early pregnancy occurs about 10-14 days after conceiving a baby and is a normal sign.
Why does it occur? The timing :

After an egg is successfully fertilized by a sperm the resulting embryo starts dividing and growing. At this moment, the inner lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, starts to change. Apart from thickening through the menstrual cycle, it grows and matures to nourish the embryo.

The zygote gets implanted into the uterine lining. This causes a part of the uterine lining to shed hence causing a little bleeding, to be more specific, the embryo implantation disrupts the tiny blood vessels in the spot it burrows into.

Why is it difficult to differentiate between the two?

Since this bleeding happens around the time of your menstrual cycle, it is difficult to identify the difference between period spotting and implantation bleeding.
Here are a few insights that would help you identify the differences between the two.

The coloration: color of the blood is different

Period bleeding starts as a light pink or brown shade and soon turns into crimson red. Unlike period spotting, implantation bleeding begins as a rust-colored stain. It is more of a pinkish-brown shade than that of a period stain.

The flow:heavy or a light flow?

The period starts off light and the flow gets stronger with time. One can feel the transition with the passing time unlike the implantation bleeding wherein one experiences a super light spotting.

Cramps:mild, moderate or intense?

Another way to differentiate period spotting from implantation bleeding is by the cramps. Although it has been found that the cramps experienced by women largely depend on the body type, in general, it has been observed that implantation causes short-lived cramps. This is just three opposite of period cramps that are more intense and long-lasting.

Clot formation:happens or not?

The period spot is marked by clots - a mix of blood and tissue. But implantation bleeding doesn't result in clot release. There are no clots in implantation bleeding. The consistency of the flow can also be cited as a point to differentiate between the two. Implantation bleeding is an on-and-off spotting, unlike the period spot that starts off light and continues with heavy progress.

Other signs and symptoms that accompany implantation bleeding:

Implantation bleeding is accompanied by other signs like swollen breasts, headache, and woozy feeling but period bleeding doesn't come up this way.
Pregnancy blood test and ovulation calculator: the best way to differentiate between the two

However, estimates suggest that there is no way to tell the difference between the two. It is only a pregnancy test that could confirm the type of bleeding. A pregnancy blood test costs a minimal amount and is quite easy to go for. It's just that you have to give your urine or blood sample for the test.

Period and ovulation calculator could help regarding the same but it largely depends on the body type. The above insights are thus based on the common experiences shared by women.

At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced super specialists backed by the latest in infrastructure and facilities. We have the best Gynaecologist in Alwarpet, Chennai. We are experts in handling complex deliveries, gynaecological, and other surgeries including a range of laparoscopic surgeries.

Do take an appointment with the best Gynaecology hospital in Alwarpet, Chennai at a centre closest to you. Meet with our doctors who will carry out the required investigations, diagnose the issue and recommend the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life.

If you wish to get in touch with Dr. Kavya Krishna Kumar, please book your appointment here.

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