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How to recognize implantation cramps

Implantation cramps can feel slightly different from regular cramping from your period


If you’re having cramps, you’re probably used to thinking that those cramps are due to the onset of your period.  But cramping a week to ten days after ovulation could mean that you’re pregnant.


This cramping is known as implantation cramping. It can occur when a fertilized egg burrows into the wall of your uterus.


If implantation is happening, your cramping should be relatively minor.  It will last only a day or two.


Implantation cramps are sometimes accompanied by light spotting called implantation bleeding – which can be especially scary if you’re on guard for an early miscarriage.


After experiencing implantation bleeding, wait a few days to see if your period begins.  If not, it may be a good time to take a pregnancy test.


Here are some more details to help you recognize implantation cramping.


What is implantation?


During ovulation, your ovaries release an egg.  That egg then gets fertilized in your fallopian tube.


Once the egg travels to the uterus, the fertilized egg attaches to the inner layer of the uterus.  This whole process is referred to as implantation.


The implantation process in total happens six to 12 days after conception.


What do implantation cramps feel like?


The cramping associated with implantation is generally very light, brief and minor.


Cramping does not increase in severity if it is related to implantation.


Not all women experience implantation cramping.


What are other signs of implantation and early pregnancy?


A common symptom of implantation is minor bleeding. This bleeding usually remains light.


Compared to menstrual bleeding, it is lighter and does not gain in intensity. The color tends to be pink or brown instead of bright red.


Other early symptoms of pregnancy can include:


Breast soreness, tenderness or other changes




Mood swings


Nausea and morning sickness


Smell sensitivity


Food aversions or cravings






Difference between implantation and menstruation


Implantation cramps happen around the same time you would normally get your next period, so it is natural to not be sure if you’re pregnant or just menstruating.


However, cramping due to implantation is generally less severe than cramping with your period. Spotting is also much lighter than bleeding at menstruation.


It’s a good idea to keep in mind what’s normal for your body.


Do your symptoms seem different this month?  Have you experienced additional symptoms that associate with pregnancy?


If cramping becomes abnormally severe, lasts more than a few days, or occurs after a positive pregnancy test, please consult your doctor.