14 Signs of Implantation or Early Pregnancy Before Missed Period

14 Signs of Implantation or Early Pregnancy Before Missed Period

If you are looking for early symptoms of pregnancy, it is possible to spot the first signs of implantation before your missed period. The earliest signs of implantation like implantation bleeding and cramps, tender breasts, and increased jelly-like discharge can also resemble the start of your period. So, if you want to know if you are pregnant or not, keeping a menstrual calendar will help you identify signs of early pregnancy before missed period.

There are other signs of early pregnancy that show up before your missed period. For example, you might find that you need to use the bathroom more frequently after implantation, or you might start having headaches or backaches for no discernible reason, or it could be that you are moodier and feel lightheaded. These are some of the subtle signs that implantation has happened. Of course, if you miss your period, then there is a good chance that you are pregnant.

In this article, you will learn about the signs of implantation and what to look out for in the early stages of pregnancy before a missed period.

Conception and Signs of Implantation

Many of the signs of implantation are due to hormonal changes in your body when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of your uterus.

In order to get pregnant, your cervix releases an egg around about the middle of your menstrual cycle. At this time, it’s natural to see an increase in sticky white discharge and other signs of ovulation. Only when a sperm lives long enough to make its way to the egg and fertilizes it, can a pregnancy happen.

Implantation happens when the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of your uterus. According to Dr. Nivin Todd on WebMD, implantation happens 3 to 4 days after fertilization. Signs of implantation such as light spotting and cramping can happen when this occurs.1   

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the signs of implantation occur just before your next period. They say that implantation signs are usually noticeable 10 to 14 days after ovulation.2 Therefore, it’s easy to confuse signs of implantation with the onset of your menstrual period. However, if you have signs of implantation and you miss your period, there is a good chance that you are pregnant.

14 Signs of Implantation or Pregnancy Before Missed Period

There are many subtle ways to help you know you are pregnant before you miss a period. Here are 14 signs and symptoms of implantation that are often experienced by women in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

1. Signs of implantation bleeding

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is implantation bleeding which looks like light spotting near the time of your period.

Dr. Yvonne Tobah from the Mayo Clinic says that implantation bleeding happens when the fertilized egg embeds itself in the uterine lining. The bleeding that implantation causes resembles light spotting and is often mistaken for a light period. Dr. Tobah says that the bleeding stops on its own and is not a cause for concern. However, not all women experience implantation spotting, and a missed period is the first sign that they are pregnant – especially if they have not been looking for implantation symptoms.3

According to Dr. Nivin Todd on WebMD, the signs of implantation spotting are light pink or brown spots that you may notice on your underwear. Compared to menstrual flow, implantation bleeding doesn’t last very long and is very light.4

Pictures of Implantation Bleeding vs Period

The images below can give you a better impression on how the color and quantity of implantation bleeding differ from regular period.

Some of the main differences between implantation bleeding and your period are:

  • Menstrual blood is a red to dark red color and is much heavier than implantation bleeding which looks like light pink or brown spots.
  • Menstrual flow lasts anywhere from 3 days to 7 days whereas implantation bleeding may only last a few hours.
  • Blood during your period has a thicker consistency than implantation spotting which is light.
  • You can sometimes have a dark or black period, but this usually happens at the end of your period whereas implantation bleeding is always the same color.

implantation bleeding vs period images

2. Implantation cramping is an early sign of pregnancy

Another sign of early pregnancy before a missed period is implantation cramping.

When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, this causes small contractions in the abdominal area. Dr. Trina Pagano on WebMD says that slight cramping before you expect your period is often a sign of implantation. For some women, this can resemble premenstrual cramping before their period, while for others the cramping is only very slight and barely noticeable.5

Dr. Pagano advises that the signs of early pregnancy are light bleeding and cramping. If you notice severe abdominal pains and significant bleeding, you should call your doctor.6

3. Breast changes are a sign of implantation

Breast changes like soreness and tenderness are often noticed after implantation occurs and before a missed period.

A surge in hormones at the start of pregnancy can cause breasts to swell and become more tender. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), painful breasts are the third most common symptom of early pregnancy. Doctors from the APA say that your breasts can start to feel sore and swollen as early as a week after conception.7

4. Changes in cervical mucus (ovulation discharge) can be the earliest sign of pregnancy before missed period

Increased ovulation discharge is another common sign that you could be pregnant, especially if you have other signs of implantation.

Ovulation discharge can resemble the look and texture of egg whites and is often called egg white cervical mucus. Dr. Trina Pagano on WebMD says that if you are pregnant, you can expect this jelly-like discharge to continue into pregnancy. This happens as the walls of the vagina start to thicken which happens immediately after conception.5

If you have become pregnant, you will notice that the milky white discharge before your period continues to increase. This is unlike regular menstrual discharge that will decrease in amount as you approach your next period if fertilization hasn’t taken place.

5. Higher basal body temperature (BBT) is a sign of implantation

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is the lowest body temperature attained during rest. Increase in your basal body temperature will also help identify the early signs of pregnancy before your missed period.

Many women who are trying to get pregnant record their basal body temperature to predict when they are most fertile. Increased basal body temperature is also a sign of implantation. To know your average basal body temperature, it’s important to chart your temperature every day throughout your monthly cycle. According to doctors from WebMD, your BBT drops slightly just before ovulation and stays at that temperature for 24 hours. Then after the egg is released, your basal body temperature gradually rises.14

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that if your basal body temperature continues to rise for 18 or more days after ovulation, it could be a sign that implantation has occurred.8

To get an accurate reading of your BBT you will need to use a basal thermometer, which is sensitive enough to measure tiny changes in body temperature.

6. Frequent urination is a typical early sign of pregnancy

If you have noticed that you need to urinate more often and have noticed light spotting when you expect your period, it could be an early sign of implantation.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the need to use the bathroom more frequently happens as the amount of blood in your body increases. This causes your kidneys to produce excess fluid that ends up in your bladder. The doctors say that the need to pee more often can happen before you notice that you have missed a period.9

7. Food aversions or cravings may also be a symptom of implantation

Very early in your pregnancy, you may start to experience food aversions or cravings.

Every pregnancy is different, and some women may find that certain foods they used to love now become stomach-wrenching. Whereas at the same time they develop cravings for foods that they never used to care for.

Dr. Anjali Maimal from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston says that hormonal changes have a role to play in changes in food aversions and cravings. These usually peak in the first trimester, however, with some women, the changes in food preferences may last the term of pregnancy.10

8. Headaches may also be an early symptom of pregnancy before missed period

Headaches are another early symptom of implantation or pregnancy that you might experience before a missed period.

According to Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler on MedicineNet, hormonal changes are also to blame for the increase in headaches in early pregnancy. With some women, these implantation symptoms can start as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy.11

If you are pregnant, it’s important to have enough nutrients in your diet to help prevent the frequency of headaches. Also, you can try hot and cold compresses on your head to help relieve head pain naturally that you suffer in early pregnancy. Before using essential oils to calm a headache, if you are pregnant, you should speak with your doctor first of all.

9. Backaches can indicate that you are pregnant

Backaches in your lower back can also be one of the signs of implantation.

Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler says that aches in your lower back can start early on in pregnancy and continue for the full term.11

You can find helpful methods to relieve back pain naturally in my article on the best ways to naturally relieve backaches and muscle tension. You can also do gentle back exercises to help get rid of lower back pain. This will also strengthen your back and make it easy to carry your growing baby.

10. Mood swings are an early sign of pregnancy before missed period

Even before your missed period, you may start to experience mood swings as an early sign that you are pregnant.

However, because symptoms of implantation often occur when you expect your period, it could be easy to confuse them with signs of premenstrual syndrome. Doctors from WebMD say that hormonal fluctuations can play havoc with your mood and feeling of well-being. The result is that you could be more emotional in the days before your period.

If you are experiencing mood swings in early pregnancy, you could try some of these 18 quick and natural ways to boost your mood. You also need to make sure that you get enough nutrient and vitamins in your diet that can boost your mood and are essential if you are pregnant.

11. Lightheadedness is quite normal during early pregnancy stages

With all the upset to your hormones in early pregnancy, it’s no surprise that you might feel dizzy or lightheaded in the first few weeks after implantation.

The American Pregnancy Association say that fluctuation in your blood circulation can restrict the amount of oxygen that your brain needs. This usually starts early on in pregnancy in the first trimester and can last into the second or third trimester.12

12. Bloating is a sign of pregnancy

It’s not uncommon for women who are in their first or second week of pregnancy to feel bloated.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, many pregnant women start feeling bloated before their period. Because of this, the bloating feeling may resemble premenstrual bloating, however, there is no period.9

13. Fatigue is an early sign of pregnancy and implantation

Very soon after implantation and at the very start of pregnancy, you may begin to feel fatigued.

According to Dr. Tina Pagano on WebMD, the change in hormone levels takes a toll on your body and you will feel more tired than usual. Dr. Pagano says that the feelings of fatigue can occur as soon as a week after conceiving. Therefore, it is safe to say that you may start feeling fatigued a week or more before you expect your period.5

14. Missed period is a sign of pregnancy

Of course, missing a period is one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy or implantation. For women who have regular menstrual cycles, missing a period will usually prompt them to get a pregnancy test.

There can also be other reasons, apart from pregnancy, that cause you to miss a period. Dr. Pagano says that stress, losing or gaining a lot of weight, fatigue, or hormonal problems can also affect your menstrual cycle. However, if your period is late and you have other signs of implantation, then you should get a pregnancy test.5

Is Nausea a Sign of Implantation or Early Pregnancy?

It is unusual to have morning sickness during implantation, as according to the American Pregnancy Association nausea typically shows up between 2 to 8 weeks after conception.15 However it is not impossible, and pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman, as does the time of onset for the symptoms.

Nausea during early pregnancy is one of the most common symptom that women report. The American Pregnancy Association say that up to 70% of women experience nausea at some point during early pregnancy. Nausea usually occurs during the first trimester, although some women will experience nausea all throughout their pregnancy.

When to See a Doctor if you Have Signs of Implantation or Pregnancy

Light spotting, mild cramping, and changes in your breasts are normal signs and symptoms of implantation and early pregnancy. However, if you think that you might be pregnant and a pregnancy home test has confirmed this, you should visit your doctor.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends visiting your healthcare provider around 8 weeks after your last menstrual period. This will help you arrange the proper prenatal care and discuss pregnancy in general and birth options.13

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Article Sources

  1. WebMD. Pregnancy and conception.
  2. AmericanPregnancy. What is implantation bleeding?
  3. MayoClinic. Is implantation bleeding normal in early pregnancy?
  4. WebMD. What is implantation bleeding?
  5. WebMD. Pregnancy symptoms.
  6. WebMD. First trimester of pregnancy.
  7. AmericanPregnancy. Early signs of pregnancy.
  8. MayoClinic. Basal body temperature for natural family planning.
  9. MayoClinic. Getting pregnant.
  10. WebMD. Why your favorite foods gross you out.
  11. MedicineNet. Early pregnancy signs and symptoms.
  12. AmericanPregnancy. Dizziness during pregnancy.
  13. AmericanPregnancy. Your first prenatal visit.
  14. WebMD. Basal body temperature (BBT) charting.
  15. Nausea During Pregnancy. Pregnancy Symptoms — Early Signs of Pregnancy.

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