System losses

When an egg, fertilized for 6-12 days, attaches itself to the inner layer of the mternal uterus it could cause blood loss, the so-called implantation losses.

The implant, its symptoms (leaks)

Implantation (nidation, nesting) – that is, when a fertilized egg cell implants itself in the uterine wall – is a process with few symptoms.

Symptoms that are often only noticed in late pregnancy: among these there are also those that are called implantation losses.

It is completely normal for the movements of the egg to cause slight bleeding or the appearance of blood spots. It usually does not require any medical attention: in fact, about a third of pregnant women experience bleeding.

Although the timing is – roughly – the same as menstruation, they are two different things that should not be confused.

Implantation discharge is one of the early symptoms of a possible pregnancy: at least, it is one of the first signs a woman may notice.

This type of bleeding starts a few days before your next period.

However, since implantation losses occur at times that are close to menstruation, many women do not know whether they are referring to a possible pregnancy or a period.

In order to be able to distinguish between these two types of bleeding, there are some (additional) signals to be taken into account in relation to implant bleeding, which are:

  • light and weak cramps (less severe than normal menstrual cramps),
  • mood swings,
  • headache ,
  • nausea,
  • breast tenderness,
  • lumbar pain.

However, do not worry if you do not notice any of these symptoms.

What do these leaks look like?

Implantation discharge looks a little different from normal periods. In this regard it should also be remembered,

  • that not all women have the same type of flow during menstruation,
  • that some have a more intense flow,
  • while others may notice a more irregular and unpredictable flow.

With all of this in mind, there are several other things that are helpful in distinguishing a period bleed from implantation bleeding. The main differences concern: the colour, the clots, the duration, the quantity.


Dark or light, many women are familiar with the color of their periods: they are usually bright/dark red.

Implantation discharge, on the other hand, is usually light pink or dark brown (rust).

and coagulum

Some women experience clotting problems during menstruation, while others are unaffected.

Implantation leaks should in any case not have any clots.

to the duration

Women who don’t take birth control pills tend to bleed longer. While those who take it often bleed for less time or not at all.

The duration of menstruation can range from 3 to 7 days. Implantation losses should last from a couple of hours to 3 full days.

During menstruation, most women fill several pads.

Things are different as regards system losses;

  • it is usually a light flow or specks of blood, rather than a heavy flow;
  • they typically consist of a small amount of pink or brown blood that is visible when a woman wipes or puts on a panty liner.

So if what you see around the time you would expect to have your period is bright/dark red blood, lasting more than 3 days, and with a heavy flow filling several pads, it is highly unlikely that it is system losses.

It could be system leaks.

  • if your period is shorter than normal (<3 days),
  • if you don’t get your sanitary pads too dirty,
  • if the color tends more towards pink/brown than red,
  • if you have less cramps than normal.

When and how they occur


The embryo implants itself in the wall of the uterus about 6-12 days after conception (when the sperm enters to fertilize the egg). This action can lead to the rupture of some of the blood vessels in the uterine wall, causing bleeding.

On the other hand, menstruation occurs about 11-14 days after ovulation (  when the egg is released, allowing conception), and this is another reason why it is often confused with implantation discharge.

In fact, some women simply think their period came a few days early.


Implantation bleeding typically appears within the week before your regular period.

It is unusual for it to occur before, or after, an expected or missed period. However this is possible,

  • if ovulation occurs earlier than expected, and the implantation process occurs quickly,
  • or, if ovulation occurs later than expected and the implantation process is slow.


Women know what their normal menstrual flow looks like.

As long as they don’t take new medications (including the pill and emergency contraceptives) or experience changes in their stress levels – their menstrual flow, its color, and its texture remain the same.

And that’s one of the reasons why the lighter, pinker leaks will immediately seem out of place.

How long do implant leaks last?

In most cases, implant losses last anywhere from a few hours to three days.

Compared to women who are already used to having an embryo implanted, women who are facing their first pregnancy are likely to have slightly more losses.

In fact, the bleeding process is similar to flossing: the first time you touch the gum, it bleeds more than the next time.

Concerns about spotting

In the gynecological field, the term spotting (from the English verb “to spot”, “to stain”) refers to a loss of small quantities of dark colored uterine blood between one menstruation and another.

Spotting can depend on various causes therefore – depending on the case – you can have, for example, implant spotting, premenstrual spotting, and so on.

If after a missed period and when you already know you are pregnant, you should experience discharge for more than a few days (>3) it is probably not an implantation discharge.

While this light, other than post-implantation bleeding that occurs during pregnancy isn’t normal, it shouldn’t be a concern.

Here are some of the reasons this condition can occur:

  • an irritation of the cervix (especially after a gynecological examination),
  • an irritation or small lacerations due to sexual intercourse,
  • excessive exercise,
  • vaginal infections.

As for implant spotting, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern as it poses no risk to the developing baby.

As for the losses that are not attributable to the implant, it must also be said that at least 50% of the women who experience them will in any case have a healthy and normal pregnancy.

However, prolonged bleeding could also be a sign of something more serious, especially during the later stages of pregnancy.

Two of these serious conditions are hydatidiform mole (an abnormal form of pregnancy) and miscarriage.

And this is why, at each gynecological or medical visit, it is necessary to inform the healthcare personnel about any ongoing or recent bleeding (especially if heavy), as well as any other symptoms you may experience.

However, inform your doctor immediately about any bleeding during the first trimester, as well as during the second and third.

In particular, in the case of heavy bleeding, you should go to the emergency room.

Women who experience nausea/vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain (especially on one side only), may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (in ectopic or ectopic pregnancy, implantation takes place in a site other than the endometrium of the uterine cavity ), so it is good that they inform their doctor immediately.

During pregnancy, cramps are normal, but if they become more painful, it is advisable to contact a doctor.

Not sure if you are pregnant or not?

If you are not sure what your bleeding pattern is,  we recommend that you wait three days after the bleeding has stopped before doing a diagnostic test .

Doing this test before your missed period or during implant bleeding is often too early to get a definitive result.

Ideally, to get a more accurate result, it’s best to wait a week after the bleeding or missed period.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *