If you are trying to get pregnant, you probably get excited by any little sign that might indicate it happened. Implantation cramping, for example.
As more and more attention is paid to the conception procedure and early signs of pregnancy, implantation has come under intense scrutiny. Women are now watching out for the exact moment when the egg latches on to the womb: the slight cramping; the spotting. While those could be signs of menstruation, they could also be signs of implantation.
Curious about how you can know so early on without medical devices and tests? Read on.
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What is implantation cramping?
Most women pay closer attention to their bodies when hoping to get pregnant. Some even expect to feel that exact, magical, miraculous moment when the fertilized egg, or embryo, attaches itself to Momma’s womb. In doing so, it can sometimes cause mild cramping and spotting. These cramps are known as implantation cramping.
Although it is not the norm, some women experience these sensations. Medically speaking, the action itself should not be easily felt as the embryo itself is only 2 millimeters in diameter. However, studies show that around 30% of all pregnant women have experienced such early signs of implantation cramping.
What does it feel like?
Cramps are a regular occurrence for most women. There are ovulation cramps, premenstrual cramps, menstrual cramps, and even post-menstrual cramps. So what makes these cramps any different? What do implantation cramps feel like?
First, it is a mild sensation. If you experience intense cramping and bleeding between menstrual cycles, contact your doctor. Implantation cramping is usually imperceptible. For women who do feel it, implantation cramping is described as a sensation of pricking, pulling on the side, or even tingling.
While the implantation cramping intensity should be low, the sensation also depends on each woman’s pain threshold. Some women may refer to it as being unpleasant, but most will say it is mild and bearable. After all, it is a process that usually goes undetected.
Where do you feel the Cramps?
As you might expect, you will mainly feel implantation cramping in the lower part of your abdomen. However, other body parts can be involved at the moment of implantation cramping as well. Some women experience implantation back pain, which is very similar to the back pain you feel during ovulation or your period. This is typically still pain originating in your reproductive area and radiating to your back.
Other women experience them on only one side. Once again, implantation cramping symptoms are very similar to what usually happens inside a woman’s body in a typical month. These small cramps were associated more with a feeling of pulling or tugging. Should these sensations between menstrual cycles become intense, contact a doctor.
What does implantation cramping look like?
Your pregnancy begins with the implantation of the embryo. This takes place at a cellular level, which is why so few women are aware of it.
As the egg is released from the ovaries, it is fertilized by the sperm. It then travels down your fallopian tubes into the uterus. Once there, it attaches and embeds itself into the uterine lining. As it burrows into the uterus, creating a safe and stable foundation for growth, it breaks blood vessels — hence the light bleeding or spotting.
Implantation bleeding vs. period bleeding
Implantation bleeding is very different compared to your regular period bleeding.
As mentioned above, bleeding is caused by the slight rupture in your womb lining as the embryo settles in. This tiny scratch on the surface of your uterus may cause some blood to be shed in the process. The blood travels down and can come out brown or pink. There should be little blood involved and only be associated with the implantation moment. As soon as it is over, the bleeding stops, and it never intensifies.
If your blood is bright red and the flow keeps intensifying, it is menstruation and not implantation bleeding.
When do implantation cramps start?
From what we have covered so far, it seems that implantation cramping, and the overall sensations associated with the implantation moment, do not differ much from regular cramping sensations. The timing, however, can still be a sign.
So, when do implantation cramps start? Normally, between 2 and 7 days before your period. This is the timeframe in which the egg to attaches. Therefore, as long as you have light cramping, experience some brown or pink bleeding that does not intensify, and it is almost a week before your period, you might be pregnant.
How long does the Cramping last?
Implantation only lasts until the embryo is done attaching itself to the uterus wall. The entire implantation cramping process lasts between 1 and 3 days. Once the process is over, the cramping and bleeding end. Anything that continues past this window of time should be referred to a doctor. The cramping itself is brief, like a short tug. So the implantation cramping can last for a few seconds or a few minutes. It can go away for a day and then come back.
What other symptoms are associated with implantation?
If cramping is too light and you can’t tell if implantation has happened, look for light-headedness, fatigue, or breast sensitivity. Once implantation occurs there is a general, yet imperceptible, change in your physical and psychological condition. If you’re noticing these subtle changes around the time of ovulation or just after it, you might be pregnant!
And while we understand your excitement in looking for signs of pregnancy, remember that most women don’t detect their pregnancy for weeks or months. Being aware of the exact moment your little baby begins forming can be magical. Just don’t feel bad if you miss it. And try not to obsess about it!
Even if you feel implantation cramping, you’ll still need a proper test to confirm you’re pregnant.
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