Implantation is the stage of a pregnancy that occurs about 7 days following ovulation. Once an egg has been fertilized, the cell divides several times becoming a zygote and then attaches to the inner uterine wall where it is supplied with blood and oxygen. Most women do not experience any implantation symptoms, but some notice changes in their normal monthly cycle. You will notice that many of the symptoms that are signs of ovulation are also symptoms of implantation; however, the difference is to pay attention to timing and severity to determine which is occurring in your body.
Spotting and Cramping
Spotting and cramping are often ovulation signs, but if they occur about a week after ovulation, they may be symptoms of implantation. The most common symptom is a very small amount of spotting that may be noticed on underwear or a pinkish brown vaginal discharge. Since spotting between menstrual periods is a common occurrence for many women, this is not a fool proof way to determine if a zygote has implanted. Some women have reported mild to moderate cramping for a day or two when they believe implantation took place.
Swelling and Tenderness of Breasts
Among women who experience implantation symptoms, swelling and tenderness of the breasts is one of the more common complaints. Since breast tenderness is also one of the signs of ovulation, the timing and duration of this symptom are important. Since implantation occurs 7 days post ovulation, breast tenderness before that time is most likely related to the normal monthly cycle. If it is an ovulation symptom, breast soreness only lasts a day or two, but will have a longer duration as a pregnancy symptom.
Food Aversions or Cravings
Although some women report a heightened sense of taste and/or smell as ovulation symptoms, food aversions or cravings are considered implantation symptoms. The hormones associated with pregnancy can cause women to develop an aversion to favorite foods and to crave foods that were not favorites before the pregnancy. It is theorized that the hormones may change the way a woman smells or tastes various foods. Any symptoms that occur less than 7 days post ovulation are probably not indicators of implantation.
Some women have reported a hot flash, lasting up to 45 minutes, on the day of implantation. Hot flashes are one of the less common signs of ovulation and are not included by doctors in the list of implantation symptoms. They are usually a sign of fluctuations in female hormone levels and hormone levels increase at the time of implantation. The women who reported hot flashes also complained of cramping in the lower abdomen and back after the hot flash, which is considered a more common indicator of implantation. Because of the inconsistency regarding this indicator, do not rely on hot flashes and night sweats alone to determine implantation; combine this sign with other ones on our list to verify.
Does Pregnancy Begin With Conception?
Most people consider conception to be the time when the sperm fertilizes an ovum, but if a fertilized ovum fails to develop into a zygote or implant in the uterine wall, it is expelled during the next menstrual period. Some zygotes implant outside the uterus in a fallopian tube or ovary and these pregnancies usually miscarry or have to be terminated because they are unlikely to end in a live birth and can result in maternal mortality. Medical professionals usually consider successful implantation as the start of a pregnancy.
Implantation symptoms are relatively rare and few women report any noticeable complaints on the day when implantation occurs. While implantation cannot take place without a fertilized ovum, it is just as important to a successful pregnancy as conception.