What's the difference between implantation bleeding and a sign of miscarriage? Pregnancy Loss

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In early pregnancy, bleeding can seem worrisome. But a little spotting could be implantation bleeding, which happens when a fertilized egg safely attaches itself to the uterine lining. So how do you know the difference between implantation and a miscarriage? Only a visit to a doctor can truly tell. Here, a doctor explains, and women share their own experiences with implantation bleeding.

Call Your Doctor With Any Type of Bleeding

"Implantation bleeding tends to usually occur one to two weeks after fertilization and can often be confused with early miscarriage bleeding. There are no consistent signs of either, but in general implantation bleeding can be shorter lasting with minimal spotting to lighter flow. Early miscarriage can start out as spotting and light flow but then progress to heavier flow and, in most cases, is heavier than a normal menstrual period. Regardless, women...

"Implantation bleeding tends to usually occur one to two weeks after fertilization and can often be confused with early miscarriage bleeding. There are no consistent signs of either, but in general implantation bleeding can be shorter lasting with minimal spotting to lighter flow. Early miscarriage can start out as spotting and light flow but then progress to heavier flow and, in most cases, is heavier than a normal menstrual period. Regardless, women who experience bleeding and have tested positive for pregnancy, should consult their doctors immediately." -- Sunny Jun, MD, cofounder and comedical director of CCRM San Francisco

Implantation May Be Very Light

"My implantation bleeding lasted two to four days but it was all very light, sometimes pink and sometimes red, only when I wiped."

It's Hard to Tell

"I had implantation bleeding with my second pregnancy after no implantation bleeding with my first pregnancy. Either way, I would go to the ER to be sure. My last pregnancy, I had mild bleeding and in reality it was an ectopic pregnancy."

Implantation Bleeding May Not Last as Long

"I had implantation bleeding for about four days -- it was very light pink. With the baby I lost, I had it for about a week (red spotting) and lost my baby at eight weeks."

Implantation May Happen a Week or Two After Conception

"Implantation bleeding would occur very early -- maybe even before you knew you were pregnant."

Miscarriage May Be Heavier, Like a Period

"Every time I started spotting while pregnant, I miscarried. I had a miscarriage at six weeks pregnant; it started as spotting -- brown here and there -- then a few days later, it turned bright red and it was like the flow of a period. I went to the ER and did blood work and had an ultrasound and found out I lost the pregnancy.

"Some woman can spot during pregnancy and have healthy babies, so just because you're spotting doesn't mean you're miscarrying."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.