What It Is, What It’s Not, And What To Look For
When couples start trying to conceive, we can be like hound dogs looking for an early clue that we’re pregnant. The “two week wait” can seem longer than the wait for the next Star Wars sequel! ? But for some lucky women, they get a sign before they even get that BFP on that home pregnancy test. It’s called implantation bleeding and the process can look different for each woman and each pregnancy.
For this reason, it can be tricky to identify a true implantation bleed versus some other kind of spotting. In this post, we’ll unpack implantation bleeding so that you’ll know if you may be pregnant, or may have something else going on.
What came first? The implantation or the egg?
To explain the biology of implantation, we need to rewind the tape.
When two people love each other…
Just kidding. We don’t need to rewind that far. At a conception, a male sperm swims to meet a female egg, or ovum, in the fallopian tube where one lucky swimmer enters the egg and fertilizes it. The parents’ genetic material fuses together to create an embryo with its own unique DNA, which is mindblowing, but let’s continue.
The embryo divides into two cells to become a zygote. The zygote continues to grow and subdivide to become what we’ve been waiting for: a blastocyst. At the blastocyst stage, baby is ready to implant. Throughout this time of subdivision and cell growth, baby has been multitasking. Not only is baby growing, but he or she is journeying down the fallopian tube toward the “mothership,” or uterus.
And the uterus can’t wait. After each and every monthly ovulation, the uterus has been hoping for this by preparing the uterine wall. To prepare, the uterine lining gets thick, spongy, and vascular to make it an ideal cushion for a potential, burrowing blastocyst.
Finally the long-awaited day arrives and the uterus receives chemical signals that its monthly project was not in vain again and it is time to fluff the pillows.
The blastocyst reaches the cushy uterine destination, is accepted by it, and attaches to it. Boom. Implantation.
The baby implants in the uterus by way of blood vessels and a stalk what will become, you guessed it, the umbilical cord.
The implantation process can be accompanied with vaginal bleeding or spotting, and maybe a little cramping. Implantation bleeding isn’t necessarily the exact day of implantation. Bleeding can occur anytime within a week after implantation. Think of it as the afterparty, or even the after-after party.
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