Jul 18, 2022 | By Dr. Patti Haebe, NMD
While trying to conceive, you might wonder if there’s any way to know if you’re actually pregnant besides waiting for a positive pregnancy test or your next period. Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms such as bleeding, basal body temperature dip, and symptoms similar to PMS that may give you a hint to knowing if implantation has occurred or not.
When does implantation happen?
Implantation occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. The implantation window usually occurs about 6-10 days past ovulation (DPO). It’s good to know signs and symptoms of implantation because it occurs before a pregnancy test will show a positive reading. This is because pregnancy tests detect the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) at a minimum level of 25 mIU/mL, which the body produces around 12-15 DPO.
3 Signs and Symptoms of Implantation
1. Implantation bleeding
Another sign that implantation may have occurred is light bleeding or spotting that is typically light pink or brown in color. It is lighter than your typical period and is combined with cervical mucus, lasting around 1-2 days. It typically occurs 6-10 DPO, and may occur a bit earlier than when your period would typically begin.
Implantation bleeding is caused by the embryo embedding itself into the lining of your uterus, which may cause a small number of blood vessels in your uterine lining to rupture. About 50% of women experience implantation bleeding.
Sometimes, implantation bleeding may be mistaken for a light period, so it’s important to know the difference.
2. Implantation dip
One sign of implantation is a dip in your basal body temperature, known as an implantation dip. If you’re not sure what BBT is and indicates, here is a quick explanation:
- BBT tracking is a method of ovulation tracking. Your BBT is your body’s temperature at rest and can be altered by both internal and external changes. It should be taken immediately after waking up with a thermometer meant to take BBTs to achieve the most accurate temperatures.
If you take your BBT regularly, you might notice a temperature dip by a few tenths of a degree on the day you implant (6-10 DPO). It only lasts for one day so your temperature reading will likely go back up the next day. The cause of this 24 hour dip is attributed to estrogen, which lowers body temperatures. Don’t get worried if you don’t observe this dip – it's very common to not have an implantation dip and still be pregnant. Only a small percentage of women actually experience the implantation dip.
3. Other symptoms
Other signs and symptoms of implantation may be similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or the symptoms you might feel before your period. These symptoms may include cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings, and irritability. These are caused by progesterone which is dominant in the second half of your cycle but also common in early pregnancy.
As you can see, your body gives you many different clues that implantation has occurred if you’re paying close attention. However, many implantation symptoms can also be found in a normal period without conception, in fact, many women do not observe any of the above implantation symptoms and still go on to receive a positive pregnancy only days later. The best way to know you are pregnant is to wait 12-14 days after your ovulation date to take a pregnancy test.
If you are 6-12 days past ovulation and wondering what your symptoms mean, consider heading over to “Ask An Expert” in the Premom app to have a medical expert take a look at your chart and symptoms you’re experiencing.
Dr. Patti Haebe is a results-obsessed naturopathic doctor. She specializes in pre-conception preparation, fertility and hormone optimization. She is committed to root-cause healing through therapeutic supplementation as well as targeted diet and lifestyle modifications. Her virtual practice, Ocotillo Integrative Medicine, provides integrative consultations worldwide via webcam for those looking to incorporate natural, proactive approaches to their healthcare and fertility journey. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Haebe right through your Premom app!
Bradley, Sarah. “Implantation Bleeding: What Is It and When to See a Doctor.” Edited by Fernando Mariz, Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 Mar. 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/implantation-bleeding#overview.
Dix, Megan. “Implantation Signs and Symptoms: Bleeding, Cramps, and More.” Edited by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 July 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/implantation-signs.
Gurevich, Rachel. “Could a Drop in Temperature on Your BBT Chart Mean You Are Pregnant?” Verywell Family, Verywell Family, 18 Sept. 2020, https://www.verywellfamily.com/implantation-dip-what-it-means-if-you-get-one-1960301#toc-what-is-an-implantation-dip.
Lewis, Rhona. “Implantation Bleeding vs. Period Bleeding: How to Tell the Difference.” Edited by Carolyn Kay, Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 May 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/implantation-bleeding-vs-period.
Marnach, Mary. “Implantation Bleeding: Common in Early Pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Apr. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/implantation-bleeding/faq-20058257.
“Pregnancy.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 29 Apr. 2019, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/home-use-tests/pregnancy.