image bio

For a limited time, get an extra 10% off your first order of supplement subscriptions with code START10. Shop Now ➔

Home > Learn > Getting Pregnant > >What Does Spotting Mean?

What Does Spotting Mean?

Dec 03, 19 3 min
Spotting: What Does It Mean? - Natalist

While trying to get pregnant, you may experience spotting. It could be implantation bleeding, ovulation, cervical or uterine polyps, or a miscarriage. Here’s how to know the difference.

 

Dr. Nazaneen Homaifar

You’re trying to get pregnant, all seems to be going well, but you suddenly notice spotting in your underwear. You may have even had a positive pregnancy test then implantation bleeding. Does it mean you’re not pregnant? Not necessarily. It’s very normal to experience a little bit of vaginal bleeding during implantation—we’ll explain why that happens, and how to tell it apart from a regular period, below.

Back up—how does implantation work, again?

If you’re someone who falls into the category of a “regular” menstrual cycle, around 28 days each, you’ll likely ovulate around day 14 when off your birth control. During ovulation, your ovaries release an egg, which travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. The journey down the fallopian tube can take a few days and if the egg is fertilized by a sperm, the fertilized egg, or embryo, usually travels down and implants into the uterine lining, or decidua. (The uterine lining is what your body sheds when you have your period—its intended purpose is to shelter a fertilized egg).

So, what’s implantation bleeding?

Implantation, when the fertilized egg burrows into the uterine lining, can cause a little bit of the lining to detach. If that happens, it can pass through your cervix and vagina and looks like spotting or a light period. 

It looks a lot like your period because it’s the same substance as your period—however you will experience light bleeding comparatively and this is not abnormal bleeding. Instead it is just happening for a different reason. The timing also makes it easier to assume that implantation bleeding is actually your period—implantation happens around 10 – 14 days after fertilization, around the same time as your missed period.

Implantation symptoms also seem like your menstrual period because it can bring the same side effects that periods can have: light cramping, mood swings, breast tenderness, nausea, and pain in your lower back.

In general, implantation bleeding is much lighter than most regular menstrual bleeding. It should cause spotting for a light period for a day or two.

🛍️Shop Fertility Products ⟶

Other possible causes of vaginal spotting

When we think about mid cycle bleeding in the preconception timeframe, it is useful to think about bleeding that happens between menstrual cycles or bleeding that happens after a positive pregnancy test.

Spotting in between menstrual cycles can result from ovulation, cervical or uterine polyps, endometrial hyperplasia, or from a friable cervix (irritation of tissue on the surface of the cervix).

Bleeding after a positive pregnancy test can occur in 15-20% of pregnancies in the first trimester.

Keep in mind, most home pregnancy test options won’t be able to pick up pregnancy hormone levels (beta human chorionic gonadotropin or b-hcg) producing a positive test result until about three to four days after a missed period. This is why it is recommended to get a blood pregnancy test through your OBGYN to ensure a true positive result. Bleeding after a positive early pregnancy test can occur in 15-20% of pregnancies in the first trimester, but this does not mean that a pregnancy loss has occurred. The frequency and volume of bleeding, along with other factors like ultrasound findings, play a role in helping to determine how concerning it is. Bleeding can be a sign of:

  • Miscarriage: if it doesn’t result in one, it is called a threatened miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy: a pregnancy outside of the uterus, which is considered an emergency, but is overall rare (2% of pregnancies) 
  • Bleeding from a cervical, uterine, or vaginal source (infection, polyp, laceration, etc.)

When do I need to call my doctor?

While implantation bleeding is normal, it is usually considered a diagnosis of exclusion. That means a health care provider will want to make sure there are no other concerning reasons that could contribute to the bleeding. If you’ve had a positive pregnancy test and notice some light or heavy bleeding, cramping, significant pain, fever, or chills, call your provider’s office to determine what the next best steps are such as a blood test. You know your body—if you think something’s wrong, trust that instinct.

Learn more about implantation bleeding and other early signs of pregnancy in our article, Is this Spotting My Period or am I Pregnant?

Shop Products From This Article
Subscribe & Save $4.00 sticker save
mid stream ovulation and pregnancy test bundle

The Test Pack

Pregnancy & ovulation tests

$40 $36

sticker save
The Test Strip Pack

The Test Strip Pack

Bundle & save with our earth-friendlier test strips

$37

Shop Products

sticker new
healthcare provider on virtual consult

Ovulation Support Care Plan

Ovulation support program with a licensed healthcare provider

$249

Subscribe & Save $5.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal Daily Packets

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60 $55

Subscribe & Save $3.00 sticker bestseller
Magnesium Plus

Magnesium Plus

Pregnancy-safe drink mix to support relaxation‡

$35 $32

Subscribe & Save $2.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal gummy vitamins

Prenatal Gummies

Doctor-formulated & delicious prenatal gummies

$35 $33

Subscribe & Save $5.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal Daily Packets

Prenatal Daily Packets

Vegan prenatal daily packets

$60 $55

Subscribe & Save $3.00 sticker bestseller
Magnesium Plus

Magnesium Plus

Pregnancy-safe drink mix to support relaxation‡

$35 $32

Subscribe & Save $2.00 sticker bestseller
Prenatal gummy vitamins

Prenatal Gummies

Doctor-formulated & delicious prenatal gummies

$35 $33

Subscribe & Save $3.00 sticker bestseller
CoQ10 Liquid Capsules

CoQ10 Liquid Capsules

Antioxidant fertility supplement

$35 $32

sticker bestseller
Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy Tests

As low as $3.20 per test

$16

sticker favorite
Pregnancy Tests (2-Count)

Pregnancy Tests (2-Count)

Easy to read pregnancy tests

$9

sticker bestseller
Ovulation Tests

Ovulation Tests

As low as $1.67 per test

$30

Subscribe & Save $4.00 sticker save
mid stream ovulation and pregnancy test bundle

The Test Pack

Pregnancy & ovulation tests

$40 $36

Reach Out, We're Here

Have questions about your order or products? For the speediest answer, check out our FAQ section. Need something else? Come find us below.

Customer Support
support@natalist.com

Press Inquiries
media@everlyhealth.com

Business & Partnerships
team@natalist.com

Affiliates + Influencers
team@natalist.com

Job Openings
Careers Page