Trying to Conceive: Signs of Implantation
Understanding the signs of implantation can make it a little easier to handle the “Am-I-Pregnant?” waiting period. Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy isn’t just about a fertilized egg; the process of implantation is crucial in order for a pregnancy to take place. So, what is implantation? Implantation is when a fertilized egg embeds itself into the lining of the uterus. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? Unfortunately, implantation must occur in the right location and the egg must have a “good latch” in order for the pregnancy to continue properly. It is through this connection to the uterus that the umbilical cord will form.
If you’re stuck in the all-too-real pregnancy limbo where there’s a chance that you may be pregnant but you aren’t yet due to receive your period (which also means that it’s too early to get a positive result on a pregnancy test), then you might be looking to your body for subtle signs of implantation. The following list contains descriptions of some of the most common indicators that implantation may be taking place. You should bear in mind that failure to detect these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you aren’t pregnant—it could simply be that your body isn’t displaying these signs in an obvious way or that the implantation is occurring with relatively few symptoms.
Implantation bleeding is one of the most well-known signs of implantation. Surprisingly enough, this is actually not as common as you might think. In fact, only about 30% of all pregnancies involve implantation bleeding. Unlike your typical menstrual period, which is characterized by bright pink or red blood, the type of bleeding that occurs during implantation is usually spotty and dingy or dark colored. The brownish colored spotting is likely due to older tissues that were not flushed out after the last menstrual period. Spotting generally lasts one to two days and usually does not amount to much in terms of volume. Because implantation usually takes place about a week after ovulation, which also happens to be about a week before most women would expect their next period to take place, spotting can be an uncomfortable and confusing experience. Many women wonder if they are looking for hope or if it is just an early visit from “Aunt Flo.” Don’t worry—in about a week’s time you will be able to test with a good chance of accuracy.
Eight to ten days after ovulation, you might start to feel some twinges in your tummy. These are often described as feeling like a lighter version of menstrual cramps. Cramping is one of the most overlooked signs of implantation, as many women who experience this sensation either discard it as being a random muscle twinge or mistake it as a sign that menstruation is soon to come. The problem with implantation is that it often occurs soon before one’s period is due, which means that the signs of implantation—which are quite similar to those of PMS—are often mistaken for one another. The cramping that occurs around the time of implantation is the result of the egg physically burrowing into the tissues of the uterine lining. As this process usually takes less than 24 hours, you probably shouldn’t feel cramping sensations for more than 24 to 48 hours. If the cramping lasts for a longer time frame, they grow in intensity/painfulness, and your period does not arrive when you expect it to then you should probably see your doctor, as this might be a sign that implantation has occurred in one of the fallopian tubes.
Decrease in Basal Body Temperature
One of the major signs that ovulation is occurring is the body’s basal temperature spikes and remains high the next menstrual period. When this kind of hike in body temperature occurs around 12 to 16 days before you next expected period, then it is highly likely that this is a sign of ovulation. If, after ovulation, your body temperature takes an unexpected dip which is then followed by another rise, then you may be experiencing implantation. Body temperature can be affected by other factors, such as an illness, but for the most part it is a fairly reliable method of tracking one’s cycle.
Bloating sounds more like a symptom of menstruation (or overeating at your favorite Mexican restaurant), but if you’re actually trying to conceive and you start to feel this familiar symptom a week before your expected period then you may actually be undergoing implantation! Bloating can be a side effect of the hormonal changes that take place soon after implantation. Once the egg has properly latched onto the uterine lining the body starts creating the HCG hormone which continues to increase rapidly everyday throughout the pregnancy. Other side effects that can arise due to this quick hormonal influx include headache, muscle and joint aches, and breast tenderness.
Implantation failure can be suspected when a woman fails to become pregnant regardless of her efforts. Even when a medical procedure is done to ensure that a fertilized egg is placed into the uterus, pregnancy is not going to occur unless the egg successfully implants into the tissues of the uterus. In order for implantation to occur, the uterus has to be prepared for accept the egg/pregnancy. This receptiveness to attachment is known as the “implantation window,” and it usually occurs about a week after ovulation.
Implantation can definitely be a tricky occurrence to monitor. Even with the help of modern medical science, there is very little that can be done to confirm the actual process of implantation as it is occurring. Once the egg becomes embedded into the uterus, the presence of the HCG hormone will be the most reliable way to confirm a pregnancy. It is definitely difficult to trudge through “pregnancy limbo,” but rest assured that with or without the signs of implantation, you should be able to confirm whether you are pregnant or not within two weeks at most.