An implantation bleeding sometimes occurs when a fertilized egg starts to nestle itself into the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. This light bleeding happens sometime after ovulation, but before the next menstrual period was expected. When you notice bleeding, it can be worrying. You might ask yourself if you are having an implantation bleeding, or if your spotting is in fact the onset of an early miscarriage.

What are the differences in symptoms? How can you ascertain whether your bleeding was caused by implantation, or if you are having a miscarriage?

The most obvious difference between an implantation bleeding and the onset of an early miscarriage is the timing. Implantation bleedings usually turn up a week to ten days after a woman’s ovulation, while early miscarriages should start at the time of the expected period or after. That is no great help when you have irregular cycles and are not sure about the date your next menstrual period should knock on the door, of course, but for most women timing alone is enough to know what is happening to them.

Like a period, a miscarriage starts with cramping, and sometimes heavy pain. Bleeding tends to begin slowly, with a few drops, but then rapidly progresses. Sometimes, bleeding is immediately heavy, and then continues. But miscarriages always take some time to complete, and women having one will notice flow and possibly fetal tissues for at least several days. Even with early miscarriages, “contraction” type pains can be felt, and you might start passing clots soon after the first signs of bleeding.

That is not the case with an implantation bleeding, with typically consists of no more than a few drops of blood. Every woman’s implantation bleeding is slightly different, and some notice brown blood, others pinkish blood, and for some, the bleeding is even black. Some women have literally only a drop of blood, whereas others experience light bleeding for up to two days. But an implantation bleeding is never anywhere near as heavy as a period, and will not go on for that long either.

Unlike a miscarriage, an implantation bleeding does not involve clots, and while some ladies feel a light cramping, an implantation bleeding should not be painful. If you have had light spotting that does not get worse over time, the chances are that you had an implantation bleeding. If, however, your bleeding progresses, involves clots, and is painful, you could be having a miscarriage, and you should also keep in mind thatectopic pregnancy, where the embryo develops outside of the uterus, is a possibility.

With symptoms like the ones described above, you heading to your doctor’s office is the best bet. When in doubt, contact your doctor, if only for reassurance that everything is OK. If you are dealing with a tubal pregnancy, medical help is lifesaving. With miscarriage, there is not a lot they can do, but at least you will be aware of what is happening.

What can you tell us about your implantation bleeding? How did you know it was an implantation? If you have had early miscarriages, what were your first symptoms?