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Implantation Bleeding and Cramping as First Symptoms of Pregnancy

Since implantation bleeding, cramping and other symptoms occur at the same time as the menstrual period, it is common for women to confuse these two conditions. In terms of abdominal discomfort, there is almost no difference between premenstrual, menstrual spasmic sensations and the pain linked to successful implantation. However, a UPT (urine pregnancy test) will not be able to confirm conception at this early stage. So, here is really vital information about pregnancy and its early symptoms.

Conception: It’s More than Just About Sex!

Conception is a term that is used for the actual fertilization of a mature egg by the sperm. During each ovulation cycle, a woman stands a 15-25% chance of getting pregnant. Contrary to popular perception, eggs are not produced in the ovaries; every woman is born with a fixed number of follicles, which are tiny fluid filled, round sacs that hold the immature egg (ovum).

How the mature egg is released? Every month one of these follicles is stimulated to release the ovum, which then travels down the connecting pathway that is known as the Fallopian Tube. This pathway is about 10 cm. long and its inner surface is fully covered with projections known as fronds. These literally push the egg towards the uterus. Despite the added help, it takes about five days for the egg to make it into the uterus.

Since implantation bleeding, cramping and other symptoms occur at the same time as the menstrual period, it is common for women to confuse these two conditions. In terms of abdominal discomfort, there is almost no difference between premenstrual, menstrual spasmic sensations and the pain linked to successful implantation. However, a UPT (urine pregnancy test) will not be able to confirm conception at this early stage. So, here is really vital information about pregnancy and its early symptoms.

Conception: It’s More than Just About Sex!

Conception is a term that is used for the actual fertilization of a mature egg by the sperm. During each ovulation cycle, a woman stands a 15-25% chance of getting pregnant. Contrary to popular perception, eggs are not produced in the ovaries; every woman is born with a fixed number of follicles, which are tiny fluid filled, round sacs that hold the immature egg (ovum).

How the mature egg is released? Every month one of these follicles is stimulated to release the ovum, which then travels down the connecting pathway that is known as the Fallopian Tube. This pathway is about 10 cm. long and its inner surface is fully covered with projections known as fronds. These literally push the egg towards the uterus. Despite the added help, it takes about five days for the egg to make it into the uterus.

What the term ‘window of conception’ means? The lifespan of a mature egg is just 12-24 hours. It means that for conception to occur the sperm has to penetrate the egg within this period. On the other hand, the tiny and motile sperms can live for 3-5 days in the vaginal canal and the uterus. Also, they have the upper hand in terms of numbers.

At every ejaculation, approximately 250 million sperms enter the vagina along with the seminal fluid. While more than half of these will seep out, many others will die or get lost as they travel up through the cervix and into the uterus. However, about 200 of the sperms will make it close to the site of the egg. It only takes one sperm to fertilize it. How do you think, are the chances to conceive in such a case high? Yes, they definitely are!

Although several sperms will attach themselves to the egg and try to penetrate its outer wall, only one will usually manage to burrow through this layer and fertilize the nucleus. Once this is accomplished, the outer layer of the egg quickly thickens to keep other sperms out. Take the lifespan of the sperm and that of the egg, and you will have the window of about 6 days for conception.

Is It Really Possible to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?

There are a plethora of myths surrounding conception; from using certain sexual positions to increasing the frequency of intercourse and even more crazy things. While some of them do make sense scientifically, others are just humbug. So, let`s separate the real facts from funny, but useless fiction.

1. Sex at the right time.

Yes, when you have sex does matter, but not how many times you have it. Even if you were to have a go at it ten times a day, it will make little difference unless you time the act on the basis of the woman’s ovulation cycle; more on this in a bit.

There is also a lot of speculation about the best baby making position. While some experts put their money on good ol’ missionary, others suggest that it is not the position of sex that matters as much as retaining the sperms in the vagina for a longer period. This can easily be accomplished by raising the hips or folding your legs and holding your knees close to your chest. The more time the ejaculate gets inside the vagina, the greater will be the number of eggs that penetrate through the tiny entrance of the cervix.

2. Lifestyle changes.

Smoking, drugs and alcohol use and stress do impact the quality and motility of sperms. For women, losing weight and consuming healthy, well balanced meals can go a long way in aiding conception efforts. Yet, nothing works like timing intimacy on the most fertile days.

3. Ovulation and pregnancy – the indisputable link.

If you are on a 28 day menstrual cycle, the 14th day from the 1st day of your last period will be the day on which ovulation occurs. The mature egg is released from the follicle and it starts its journey towards the uterus through the Fallopian tube. For women, whose menstrual cycle is for 30 days, you will need to start counting 15 days from the 1st day of your last period and those on a 32 day cycle will ovulate on the 16th day.

So, ideally, the greatest chance of conception occurs when you have sex 12 hours before ovulation. This way when the egg is released, the sperm is already in the uterus for fertilization. Typically, the sperm will live for 24 to 48 hours in the uterus, but fertilization is known to have occurred even 7 days after sex.

How to Know About Your Most Fertile Days?

Look out for mucus: at the time of ovulation, the vaginal walls thicken, this leads to the secretion of a mucous substance that helps the passage of sperms from the vagina into the uterus. So, this can be used as one of the signs of ovulation. The discharge will be transparent and stringy, much like egg white.

Track your basal temperature, the temperature of your body in the morning right after you wake up or have had three hours of uninterrupted sleep. BBT charting will have to be done over a period of a few months to understand your cycle. The hormonal changes during ovulation will trigger a slight rise in this temperature of about 0.2 degrees.

You will need to use a regular thermometer for measuring your BT. Although you will see spikes in body temperature on other days, the one associated with ovulation will last continuously for 3 days at the least. The day of the temperature gain is the day of ovulation. So, your most fertile time of the month will be on the day of the temperature rise and a day before.

Being Realistic About Conception

Regardless of your age, frequency of intercourse and assuming that you have no reproductive health issues, it would still be unrealistic to expect to conceive at the first attempt. However, nearly 50% couples who are trying to get pregnant achieve success within the first four months while 2/3 rd will conceive by the six month mark.

About 85% of couples are successful at getting pregnant within a year and two years raises the success rate to over 90%. So, if your attempts at conception have not been successful even after one year or more, a doctor’s visit is certainly in order.

What Is Implantation and What Are Its Symptoms?

Fertilization is just one part of the process of pregnancy, the second being implantation or the attachment of the fertilized egg to the walls of the uterus. As discussed, the mature egg will spend its life in the Fallopian tube, so the sperms will have to reach this passageway to fuse with it. After fertilization, the zygote, as it is known, continues its journey towards the uterus. Through this time, its cells divide rapidly.

So, by the time the egg reaches the uterus, it has gone from being a single cell to a tight cluster of cells known as blastocyst. The outer layer of the blastocyst attaches itself to the blood and nutrient rich inner layer of the uterus which is called the endometrial lining. The point of attachment eventually turns into the placenta as the blastocyst burrows deeper into the layer.

In the process, some cells from the endometrial lining are displaced and these flow out of the uterus and into the vagina. If the egg is not fertilized, it will travel down to the uterus and disintegrate, signaling a drop in the hormone levels. At this point, most of the endometrial lining, which was thickened in preparation of a pregnancy, will be purged during your period.

Implantation bleeding and cramping are common signs of conception because there is a significant difference in the discharge experienced during normal periods and early pregnancy. In fact, this is usually the dead giveaway. As opposed, to the heavy bleeding experienced when menstruating, implantation bleeding will be slight and cramping will be mild.

The discharge will be pink or brown in color as it takes a few days for the blood cells to travel down the uterus and into the vaginal canal. Also, it will start suddenly and then stop before possibly restarting again.

In other words, while a lot of women confuse the abdominal discomfort associated with pregnancy with period pains, you could not do the same with the bleeding since there is a conspicuous difference in the type and the volume of flow. If you are pregnant, you will typically experience implantation bleeding and cramping within 6 to 12 days after the egg has been fertilized.

The Other Telltale Signs That Will Hint at Conception

Implantation bleeding, cramping are just among two symptoms of early pregnancy. If these are coupled with some of the other signs stated below, there is a very good possibility that you may have conceived. Of course, to concretize these signs in ascertaining pregnancy would be wrong because there are other physical changes and afflictions that can cause some or of them. Yet, these can be used as a precursor to a pregnancy test.

Vaginal discharge: immediately after fertilization the walls of the vagina thicken, which can lead to a white milky discharge. This will, in many cases, continue throughout pregnancy and is harmless. However, if there is a foul smell or vaginal burning or itching, you should see your doctor.

Breast tenderness: even before a UPT can pick up on the surge of pregnancy hormones, your body will react to these changes and the first sign will be noticed in the form of breast and nipple tenderness and heightened sensitivity. Most women describe this feeling as a sense of fullness and swelling.

Fatigue: the hormonal upheaval will cause drowsiness and apathy in many ladies

Nausea: the hormonal changes can cause a delay in the emptying of the gastrointestinal tract, but remember, so nausea and constipation are common in many women since the first few days of pregnancy.

Mood swings. These are most apparent during the first trimester

Frequent urination: the hormonal levels may trigger a frequent need to urinate around the 6th to the 8th week after conception. By this time the UPT can show you the second line.

Although these symptoms along with implantation bleeding and cramping are very common during the early phase of conception, it is imperative to understand that every woman and every pregnancy is different. While some may experience many of these symptoms, others will realize that they have conceived only after missed period.

Also, just because you did/did not go through these symptoms during your first pregnancy is no indication of what your experiences will be like when you are pregnant with your second or third child. So, to reiterate, although implantation bleeding, cramping and the other signs can point to a pregnancy, wait for a positive confirmation before you begin to celebrate your impending motherhood.

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