Some scientists say that implantation is when and where pregnancy begins. What is implantation and are there any common signs of implantation? Implantation occurs when the egg that has been fertilized by the sperm attaches to the inner wall of the uterus about 7-9 days after conception. Having traveled down the fallopian tube and divided several times, the fertilized zygote has reached its final destination in the warm and nourishing uterine lining. Now it can receive the oxygen and nutrients from mom to begin to grow and develop into the beautiful baby it will become. Implantation must occur for pregnancy to continue.

Signs of Implantation are Rare

If the zygote does not implant into the uterine wall, it will pass during your next period and pregnancy will not occur. Signs of implantation are rare. In fact, only a very small percentage of women experience any symptoms of implantation.

Spotting as a Sign of Implantation

The most common—but still rare—sign of implantation is spotting a week before you expect your period to occur. Essentially, a very small amount of blood will appear in your panties or perhaps a bit of pink or brown discharge. Some women also experience some unusual cramping during implantation and even a change in their normal body temperature.

Every woman’s cycle is different but here is how your cycle approximately goes. It begins on the first day of your period. Approximately 2 weeks after your period begins, you ovulate (an egg is released from your ovary into your fallopian tube) and this is the time you are most likely to get pregnant. Then if conception occurs (a sperm cell has fused with your egg) implantation will occur about a week after ovulation, and a week before you would expect your next period. So if spotting occurs a week before you expect your period, and you had sex about a week prior to the spotting, then it is likely that implantation has occurred and you are pregnant. Congratulations!

Other Early Signs of Pregnancy

But don’t send out those baby announcements just yet! Spotting before your period does not guarantee that you are pregnant as spotting can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle. According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms of pregnancy include tender, swollen breasts, fatigue, nausea sometimes with vomiting, food aversions or cravings, headaches, constipation, mood swings and fainting or dizziness. Of course all of these are occasional symptoms of being a woman so it’s always best to check with a doctor if you think you might be pregnant or experience unusual symptoms.

You could be pregnant and experience no spotting or other symptoms of implantation whatsoever. Spotting at implantation does not always occur or can be so minimal that it is not noticeable so don’t worry if you don’t experience any signs of implantation a week after ovulating. Essentially, implantation spotting is a normal but infrequent symptom of pregnancy. Therefore the best way to determine if you are pregnant is to see a doctor. If your periods are irregular, if you find more than just a bit of blood between periods, if you have unusually large amounts of pain or if spotting occurs and then your period follows days after, it would be good to see a doctor to make sure everything is OK with your menstrual cycle and fertility. It is always good to see a doctor to confirm pregnancy before you start decorating the nursery!

For further reading, see our Spotting Before Your Period, Implantation Pain and Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms articles.

Our factual sources for this article include the following. You may visit them for further information.

-Danica Longair

Signs of Implantation - When Pregnancy Begins