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What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

What does implantation bleeding look like on a pad and on toilet paper? How does it feel – does it hurt? Implantation spotting does not look like your normal period. It may be accompanied with light cramps or pain. Here are pictures to help you determine if you have implantation discharge or something else.

About 30% of women experience implantation bleeding during their child bearing age. However, most women confuse it with an early period.

Implantation spotting vs light period vs heavy period
Am I pregnant or is it just my period starting?

Implantation discharge is a bit different from the usual period blood in several ways. The basic difference between implantation bleed vs. period is the amount of blood. A period will have more blood, while implantation only has light spotting (very little blood).

  • Spotting is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for some women even before a missed period.
  • The color of the spotting is lighter than that of your period. It is pinkish or merely a brownish discharge.
  • It does not contain clots like your menstruation.
  • It is not a heavy flow.

In most cases, spotting remains less light throughout until it clears. Below. We have included pictures to that show what implantation bleeding looks like on tissue paper and on a pad.

What is implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding is spotting or discharge as a result of a fertilized egg attaching itself to the interior of the uterine wall. A fertilized egg burrows to the lining of the uterus injuring the small vessels.

This process in most cases results to light pink spotting or bright red vaginal discharge. This is entirely normal, and no medical attention is needed.

Signs and symptoms of implantation

Before knowing what implantation bleeding looks like, it is important to know a few preliminaries. One of the earliest signs of pregnancy along with nausea and vomiting is implantation bleeding. This begins a few days before the next menstrual cycle. How can you identify that this spotting from an implanting egg. Here are signs to watch for:

  • Pink or brownish discharge
  • Mild abdominal cramping
  • Slight headache.
  • Mood swings in some women.

These symptoms are also signs your period is about to start. Some women may confuse implantation discharge with scanty period blood when indeed they have conceived.

What does implantation spotting look like on toilet paper?

If you have seen blood on the toilet paper after your last visit to the bathroom, chances are that it may be implantation blood or a period. But what does implantation bleeding look like on toilet paper?

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Implantation spotting will not consist of distinct layers as a period does. You are likely to find small spots on a toilet paper or pad.

What does implantation bleeding look like on toilet paper?
Light pink spotting after period ends.

This is usually a pinkish or brownish discharge in case you use a toilet paper. Unless you have other underlying medical conditions, your implantation spotting should remain light on pad or tissue paper. You may find these dots or small spurts of blood on your panties.

Here are pictures of implantation spotting on a pad and on tissue paper. See the difference with period blood on a pad or tampon.

When does implantation spotting occur?

When should I expect implantation bleeding? Implantation discharge typically occurs 6 to 12 days after ovulation. Women are different. Some might not even notice implantation while in others it can last for a few days 10 to 14 days after ovulation has occurred. It might take longer in others.

This is the same time that your period is due. Implantation occurs after ovulation and fertilization have taken place.

  • For this same reason implantation bleeding gets many women confused.
  • It can be disappointing for those trying to get pregnant and also those not wishing for pregnancy.
  • If you see little bright red or light pink blood six to 12 days after your ovulation, it could mean you are pregnant.
  • Such a characteristic is one of the first signs of pregnancy before a missed period.

Implantation bleeding occurs way before even pregnancy is confirmed. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone is not detectable in urine until after the embryo has embedded in the uterus and made early developments of the placenta. The placenta then produces the hormone.

If you have implantation spotting but negative pregnancy test, this is the reason for it. Most women will try to take a pregnancy test but this is the reason why implantation bleeding is in most cases assumed to be an early period.

Difference between implantation bleeding and period

What does implantation spotting look like compared to period? Implantation discharge can highly mimic the menstruation flow especially the first few days of the menstrual period when you have lighter flow.

Women who experience lighter periods are in most cases confused on when they start spotting. Here is how to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and menstrual bleeding.

The flow

Implantation bleeding Period blood
1.       Bleeding from implantation is in most cases light and ends light. 1.       Menstruation starts light and gets heavier.
2.       Implantation bleeding does not contain blood clots 2.       Period blood may contain clots as it is heavy.
What Implantation spotting looks like vs period flow
What Implantation spotting looks like vs period flow (image source)

If you start with very light pink bleeding for a couple of days then the flow gets massive with increased blood volume, chances are your period has started.


Regularity or consistency of the flow can help you compare implantation discharge vs. period flow. Here are the differences with regards to this.

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Implantation discharge Menstrual flow
1.       Menstrual blood continues throughout the full duration (4-7 days) without stopping. 1.       Implantation spots can come and go within a short period (shorter than your period usually lasts.)
2.       Implantation flow in most cases has an on and off cycle. 2.       Your menstrual flow may be consistently heavy for more than two days.

Try to remember how your last couple of menstruation flows were. If what you are getting now is different, scanty or lighter, then it could be implantation. However, in some cases, factors such as change of environment and stress can cause a scanty, late or missed period.


What is the difference in color? Menstruation blood is usually bright red and vibrant while implantation blood is usually light pink or brownish in color.

Brown blood is old blood that in most cases is stuck in the uterus after the egg burrows or implants itself onto the uterine wall.


Both implantation spotting and menstruation can cause cramping. However menstrual cramps are more intense and last longer while implantation cramps are mild or faint.

In case you experience light flow with mild cramping then you are experiencing implantation cramping. The egg which moves and attaches itself to the uterine wall causes contractions. Contractions compress the nerve cells along the uterine lining causing cramps similar to those of menstruation. The majority of women experience cramping for up to three days.

Other symptoms of Implantation

Most women experience cramping accompanied by light bleeding as the main symptom. This usually happens during implantation. Here are other signs that might prompt you that implantation has occurred.

  • Nausea: Most women develop morning sickness, which is well known to be one of the early signs of pregnancy. There is a version of distinct smells, which leads to nausea and even vomiting.
  • Sore breasts: Progesterone, a hormone of gestation increases right after implantation making the breast tissue tender and fuller in preparation for breastfeeding.
  • Mood swings: The sudden increase, and a decrease in particular hormones cause significant changes in motions. You may feel happy one moment and anxious the next.
  • Frequency in visiting the toilet: During pregnancy, the body’s smooth muscles weaken as a result of hormonal changes. This in return causes frequent urination, bloating and even constipation.
  • Unexplained fatigue and dizziness: Hormonal changes during early pregnancy cause anxiety and stress. Insomnia in the majority of women is the main reason for tiredness. Your body’s increased energy demand can lead to dizziness as well.

Signs of successful implantation

After fertilization, the egg travels to the uterus where it implants itself. This process takes nine days. In case implantation fails, the egg is usually flushed out of the uterus as a period.

Successful implantation tends to have similar signs with the menstrual period. One chief sign of successful implantation is cramping which may last up to 5 days with or without minimal light pink bleeding.

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Implantation bleeding after a missed period

In other but fewer cases, women have experienced spotting after their missed period. Bleeding after a missed period might be presumed to be an early next menstruation. However being able to know your body well by paying close attention to your cycles will save you the agony in the long run.

It’s best to test your urine in the morning for pregnancy when the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone (HCGH) is highest.

Other causes of bleeding in women

Vaginal bleeding is termed as abnormal if it occurs;

  • When you are not expecting your period
  • During pregnancy
  • After menopause
  • Before puberty

The causes of abnormal spotting or bleeding that does not relate to implantation include the following:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: This is a common problem with the ladies in children bearing age. A strange hormonal imbalance occurs causing interference with the normal ovulation hence bleeding.

Contraceptives: Birth control pills and contraceptive shots alter the normal functioning of the hormones. However, bleeding takes place in between periods and also when pills are not taken regularly.

Intrauterine Contraceptive device (IUCD): This method of birth control has shown to increase a woman’s period flow and induce spotting at any particular time in the cycle.

Infections: Sexually transmitted infections are the leading cause of bleeding from the pelvic organs. Bleeding in the case of an infection usually occurs after intercourse or douching.

Other rare causes include

  • Injuries secondary to sexual abuse.
  • Urethral prolapse or polyps
  • Cancer of the cervix or vagina
  • Excessive exercises which alters your hormonal function.

When to consult a doctor

In the majority of women, implantation bleeding is the first sign of pregnancy that usually points out to a successful conception. While other women experience this spotting it should be notable that this does not occur in some women. Visit your doctor when the following happens

  1. Bleeding more than three days. Implantation bleeding in most cases lasts up to two days. After pregnancy confirmation test excessive bleeding might indicate a molar pregnancy or a possible miscarriage. Visit your doctor immediately for examinations and evaluations.
  2. Severe cramping: Implantation cramping is usually mild and does not last long. See your doctor when cramping gets intense and does not look like implantation bleeding.

More pictures of implantation bleeding

Here are more pictures to look at.

Brown implantation spotting on toilet paper
Pinkish brown spots
Light pink discharge on tissue paper
Light pink spots on toilet paper.

Implantation spotting on toilet paper


  1. How to recognize implantation bleeding (June 2015): http://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-Implantation-Bleeding
  2. What is implantation bleeding? (June 2017): http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/what-is-implantation-bleeding/
  3. Signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding (July 2015): http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15956/1/Signs-and-Symptoms-of-Implantation-Bleeding.html
  4. Heidi Murkoff (2010) What to Expect: Before You’re Expecting
  5. Frank J. Domino (2007) The 5-minute Clinical Consult 2007: Page 1302, Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy

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  1. I’m not sure if its my period or spotting. I was three days late then on the third day me and my husband and sex and then started to bleed. It was bleeding off and on and it stopped on the 5th day then then on the 30th I masturbated then started to spot for like a sec. My boobs gotten bigger I had some pregnancy symptoms and then like when i started to have some bleeding I took a test so was it too early to see the symptoms?

    • If what you experienced as a period (the on and off bleeding) was more of spotting, then you might have been undergoing implantation bleeding. It could also be a scanty period. I would recommend waiting for around 2 weeks to take a pregnancy test to determine if you are pregnant or not.

  2. My period was meant to come on September 28th 2017, but instead what I saw was very light pinkish spotting when I used tissue. Later in the day it turned brown (very scanty, I had to insert a clean finger to check. Then at night it had a little bit of red for some hours; on September 29th it went back to brown. I’m urinating often but I feel it’s because am drinking a lot of water. I’ve had all the pre-menstrual symptoms but what’s different is feeling constipated and bloated and gassy at same time. I haven’t taken a home test yet, but am believing God that this is it finally.

  3. Im bleeding a light pink and brown but its my fourth day and its right before my period, Im not sure if Im pregnant and im aftraid to check. Its gotten a bit heavier but still doesnt cover or even come close to covering a pad. If it gets heavier could this be a sign of a misscarriage?

    • I am also bleeding light pink and it looks brown…. when I wipe there isn’t bloody and its Alison my 4th or 5th day… my period is scheduled to on the 27th….. light cramps only in the fron

  4. I had my period two weeks Sunday and now it’s Wednesday and today I have been noticing the same discoloured blood in my underwear however it feels more like my period. Last night I also had sex would this have increased the flow?
    I have the implant on also known as the rod in my arm as a contraceptive rather than taking the pill.

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