During the two-week-wait, you’ll be on the lookout for any sign or symptom that might let you know you successfully conceived. For some women, one of those signs might be implantation cramping. Not every mother experiences it, but it’ll leave you wondering if your period coming or are you pregnant?
As a mother of four kids, I’ve only experienced implantation cramping two times, but I’ve also had two miscarriages. So, only a third of my pregnancies showed me signs of implantation.
The waiting to find out if you successfully conceived each month can feel like torture! When we had unexplained secondary infertility for two years, I looked for every sign that I could be pregnant, including cramps. I wanted to hold onto any sign that it was finally our month.
Never heard of implantation cramping or are you curious what to expect? Here is everything you need to know!
In order to understand implantation cramping, you have to understand how conception works.
When you ovulate, you release an egg, and that egg is fertilized by a sperm. Once fertilized, that egg has a journey ahead. It must make its way down the fallopian tubes to implant into your uterus. In general, it takes 3 to 4 days post-fertilization to reach the uterus.
Now the magic begins!
That fertilized egg has to implant itself into your uterine walls and start to grow. This moment is called implantation, which is defined as the time when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus’s wall at the start of pregnancy.
Even though you typically have no idea when this happens, it’s a magical time. It is when your pregnancy officially begins and your baby is on its way.
During implantation, you might experience some cramping. When a fertilized egg or embryo attaches to the womb, it can cause light cramping and spotting – called implantation bleeding.
So, if you’re trying to conceive, be on the lookout for these cramps that might signal your attempts to make a baby were successful!
Will Every Women Have Implantation Cramping?
The basic answer is NO, not every woman will experience implantation cramping. In fact, a majority of women who have successful pregnancies never feel implantation cramping nor do they have implantation bleeding.
In general, around 30 to 35% of women will have implantation cramping. Other women may have it but have no idea what it means. It could be so light that they don’t feel it or mistake it for a muscle cramp.
What this means is you don’t have to fret if you don’t feel implantation cramping. You can still be pregnant!
Remember: Don’t feel as if you’re out of the game if you don’t have implantation cramping. 70% of women have no implantation signs at all, so you still can be pregnant without any cramping!
What Does Implantation Cramping Feel Like?
Most women know what cramps feel like, no matter if you’ve been pregnant or not since menstrual cramps are very common.
Luckily, implantation cramping isn’t that intense cramping that will send you to bed for hours. It doesn’t make you double over in pain and hope for it to stop.
Instead, you might feel some mild cramping sensations in the lower part of your abdomen. While some women experience these cramps in other parts of their body, a majority feel these cramps in their lower abdominal region.
When I experienced implantation cramping, it was very low, and it felt like an ache rather than a cramping muscle. It wasn’t severe enough for me not to go about my day, but it was noticeable.
A few other sensations you might experience during implantation cramping include:
When Does Implantation Cramping Happen?
If you’re on the lookout for implantation cramping, you might wonder when to expect it to happen. Everyone experiences implantation cramping at different times, but most will notice it between 2 and 7 days before their period is due. That’s around 6 to 10 days post ovulation, but it can happen as late as 12 days post ovulation.
Tracking your cycles is beneficial because you have an idea about when you might notice implantation cramping. You should know what day you ovulate, so you can pay attention 8 to 10 days post ovulation for cramping.
The blastocyst implants in the uterus without a few days after reaching it once it leaves the fallopian tubes. Cramping doesn’t necessarily happen on the day of implantation, so you might feel symptoms over the course of a few days.
Implantation Cramping vs. Menstruation Cramping - How to Tell the Difference
One of the most common questions is how to tell the difference between implantation cramps and menstrual cramps. You might think that you are having implantation cramps, only to find out they’re normal menstrual cramps, which would mean your period is on its way. That’s no fun!
Unfortunately, it can be easy to confuse the two. They do have similarities, and both come around the same time in your cycle. There are a few ways to tell them apart.
1. The Severity
Menstrual cramps are almost always more severe than implantation cramps. It’s the easiest way to tell the difference! Implantation cramping is typically light and occurs are irregular intervals. Menstrual cramps are more severe and usually increase in severity before they go away.
2. The Duration
Implantation cramps usually last 1 to 3 days because that’s the amount of time it takes for the implantation process to be completed.
Period cramps can last longer than 3 days. These cramps are caused by higher levels of hormones in your system, such as progesterone. Progesterone slows down the digestion process of food, which can cause cramps.
3. Accompanied Implanted Bleeding
Many times, implantation craps come with implantation bleeding. If you’re just spotting and the bleeding doesn’t increase in intensity, then chances are its implantation rather than your menstrual cycle! Implantation bleeding is usually light or brown in color, but menstrual bleeding is bright red and heavy.
How Long Does Implantation Cramping Last?
What Are Other Signs of Implantation?
It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes because they do typically occur around the same time. You might have some light cramping and assume that means your body is gearing up for its menstrual cycle. So, watch for some pregnancy signs that don’t take place with PMS, such as:
How Soon After Implantation Cramping Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?
Of course, if you aren’t sure, take a home pregnancy test! That will give you a pretty definite answer. Some home pregnancy tests can detect as early as five to seven days before you miss your period. Typically, it takes at least 2 to 3 days after implantation to have enough HCG (pregnancy hormone) in your system to get a positive pregnancy test.
So, the best time to take a pregnancy test after implantation is between 12 and 15 days post ovulation. There is always the chance that you’ll get a positive test before those days, but waiting until 12 days post ovulation at the earliest gives you the best chance for a clear answer.
Does Implantation Cramping Always Come with Implantation Bleeding?
No! You can have one without the other. You can have cramping without bleeding or bleeding without cramping, which definitely makes it even harder to figure out what’s going on!
Both are caused by the blastocyst implanting into the uterus lining, and that action can cause cramping, bleeding or both. When it happens, a few blood cells can be loosened up, leading to bleeding.
I’ve had implantation cramping two times, but I’ve never had implantation bleeding as well. However, I have friends that have bleeding and not cramping. Our bodies can be a mystery.
Remember: Everyone is different, and your body is unique. Signs of implantation vary from woman to woman, if any signs occur at all!
How to Relieve Implantation Cramping
Usually, the cramps are fairly mild, and you should have no issues going about your daily life. These cramps will pass on their own, but some have a lower pain threshold than others. You might experience some mild pain and discomfort.
Now, some women do experience severe discomfort during implantation cramping. Instead of waiting or the pain to pass, here are some ways to help relieve the discomfort of implantation cramping.
1. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, and it’s critical during pregnancy. During implantation, the more dehydrated your body is, the more likely you are to feel different kinds of spasms or muscle pain. It’s recommended to drink 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water per day, at minimum, for proper hydration.
Try rubbing your uterus area very gently. Actually, while you’re at it, ask your partner to give you a full massage, or book a full body massage for the ultimate relaxation.
3. Reduce Stress
Now is the time to reduce stress throughout your life. All stress does it make you tense, and you really don’t need more tension in your life. It will cause your pain to increase.
Try to find some rest and relaxation in your life. That might mean taking some time to sit down and watch your favorite TV show. Take a nap or catch a few hours extra sleep at night. Listen to music and relax. Do whatever it is that brings you joy and relaxation.
4. Add Some Heat
Just like with menstrual cramps, you can use heat to relieve implantation cramping. Warm temperatures help to relieve tense muscles, so it should reduce any pain and discomfort you feel.
You can use a hot compress or take a warm bath.
Could These Cramps Be Something Else?
There is always the chance that implantation cramping could be something entirely different! If you aren’t pregnant, there are several causes of uterine cramping.
They could be pre-period cramps, also called menstrual cramps. CPS cramping and implantation cramping feels very similar. Both of these types of cramps can be dull and consistent.
If you’re having any tummy problems, they can case digestive problems that might feel like cramping. Indigestion, food sensitives, gas, and illnesses can cause abdominal cramping. Most of this pain will be in the area of your gastrointestinal tract.
Did you know that you can have cramping when you ovulate? If you have cramping around the time that you think you’re ovulating, it could be ovulation cramping. This cramping takes place when the follicle ruptures and releases the egg. You might feel some mild discomfort, like a pinch or twinge.
One more reason that you might have some cramping is an ovarian or pelvic cyst. These cysts can rupture, leading to intense pain. It might be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Make sure that you consult your doctor quickly!
Have You Experienced Implantation Cramping?
Waiting to find out if you’re going to have a baby can be the longest wait of your life. The anticipation and anxiety is overwhelming at times, and you might be on the lookout for implantation cramping to let you know you were successful.
Don’t worry if you didn’t notice any implantation cramping. Around 70% of women don’t! If you do, wait 2 to 3 days and take a home pregnancy tests to see the results.
Have you ever experienced implantation cramping? If so, what was it like? Let us know in the comments.