This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for more information.
If you are planning to get pregnant, you would also want to know what the signs of being pregnant are. One of them is implantation cramping. This is might be mistaken for premenstrual cramping so it is good to know how to tell them apart. Here’s what you need to know about implantation cramping:
What is implantation cramping?
When the fertilized egg attaches to your uterus, this is called implantation. This is also known as the very start of a pregnancy. During this time when the embryo attaches to the womb, a light cramping called implantation cramping may occur.
This happens due to the uterus lining changing in order to let the embryo attach. This is a normal and healthy sign of the beginning of a pregnancy. Some might say that implantation cramping is your body’s way of letting you know that you have conceived.
You might also find a bit of spotting/light bleeding, but not all women will experience implantation cramping and light bleeding together. Some might only experience the other.
Sometimes, implantation cramps get mistaken for period cramps since they are quite similar, so it is important to know the difference. There are studies stating that around 30% to 35% of women have experienced implantation cramping. However, there are a lot of women who won’t experience it at all but still be able to conceive.
Aside from checking for implantation cramping, you can take a home pregnancy test in order to get some more information and answer to your question of “am I pregnant?” You can take the pregnancy test 7 days after you have missed your period in order to get the most accurate result.
What does implantation cramping feel like?
Implantation cramps are often mild and you would usually feel it in the lower part of your abdomen. Although sometimes, some women might also feel it more in the center like a period cramp. Some might also feel it on one side of the abdomen.
Other sensations you might feel include tingling, back pain similar to menstrual back pain, pricking, pulling, and pressure on your sides. Aside from cramping, you may also feel some headaches and mood swings.
Depending on your pain threshold, some women might find it mild and bearable while some will say it’s a bit more unpleasant. Nothing should feel beyond your pain threshold though and if you are really feeling something intense and unbearable, then you should inform your doctor right away since it might not be implantation cramping anymore. There are also women who won’t feel anything.
How long does implantation cramping last?
Implantation cramps won’t happen right away on the day of the implantation. The whole implantation process would last until embryo has already attached to the uterus. It would usually last for 1 to 3 days so you can feel the symptoms over this time period.
Although, some women might feel implantation cramping just for a few minutes while others could be longer (but shouldn’t be too long). It sort of feels like a short tug. Some women might also experience this only once a day while others feel it at different times throughout the day.
When does implantation cramping occur?
It can be different for each mom but implantation cramping usually occurs around 6 to 12 days after conception. A lot of women notice it 2 to 7 days before their period (8 to 10 days after ovulation).
Tracking your cycle can help you determine and monitor when your ovulation period is and depending on how many days after you feel the cramping, you will then be able to determine if it is implantation cramping or premenstrual cramping.
Symptoms of implantation or early pregnancy symptoms
Missed period –
This is one of the best indications/signs that implantation has occurred. Especially if you don’t miss your periods, then it is more or less a sure thing.
Tender breasts and mood swings –
Because of the hormonal changes you are going through during early pregnancy, you could notice that your breasts are tender to the touch. Mood swings are also another effect of the hormones that are released during early pregnancy.
Gastrointestinal problems –
Because of the hormonal changes, this could also lead to stomach issues like constipation and bloating.
This is common during the early stages of pregnancy but you can also see this during PMS. The difference is that the fatigue in PMS will usually disappear once your period would start.
Mood swings –
Due to hormonal changes, you may find yourself more emotional than usual.
Because of the hormones and the rush of blood that may occur, it could cause some headaches. Change in the hormone levels may also lead to low blood pressure, which then results to migraines.
Increased urination –
Blood flow increase to your kidneys will also cause more fluids to reach the bladder which then causes you to pee often.
As well as,
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Food and smell aversions and sensitivities
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Nasal congestion
When to contact your doctor about implantation:
- Heavy bleeding with very painful cramps
- Unbearable pain
- Gray or pink discharge
- Bleeding that lasts for more than 3 or 4 days
- Feeling some tenderness in the abdomen
Implantation Cramps vs Menstrual Cramps
It may be difficult to distinguish implantation and menstrual cramps especially if it is occurring in the same time frame as you normally would expect your period to be. Despite the similarities, there are some distinguishing factors and distinctions. Here are some differences between implantation cramps and menstrual cramps:
Strength of the implantation cramps –
Menstrual cramps are more intense in strength and occur regularly while implantation cramps are milder, erratic, and would feel like a tugging sensation. The intensity of an implantation cramp would not increase, unlike a menstrual cramp.
Duration of the cramps –
Implantation cramps would last either for a short period of time or around 1 to 3 days until the implantation process would be complete. It should be no longer than that.
If you are feeling the cramps for more than 3 days, it is most likely related to PMS or it could be something else so you might want to consult your doctor.
Implantation Bleeding –
Implantation bleeding or spotting is usually lighter or brown in color while period bleeding is more bright red in color. Implantation bleeding also isn’t a lot and once the process is complete, the bleeding stops.
Implantation bleeding never intensifies. Period bleeding will obviously intensify over the first few days when your period starts. If you are spotting but are not expecting your period, this could be a sign of implantation cramping.
Other reasons for uterine cramping that isn’t due to implantation:
Pre-period cramps –
This is the most similar condition to implantation cramping that you would feel. This is also why it is common for one to be mistaken for the other.
Ovulation cramping –
This kind of cramping will happen during the time of your ovulation. This cramping happens because of the follicles that rupture and releases the egg. You will probably feel a slight pinch and you will only feel it on a certain side of the abdomen. This is usually where the ovary releasing the egg is.
Ovarian/ pelvic cysts –
These will usually cause severe pain that could also be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. If you do feel this, consult your doctor immediately.
Digestive cramping –
This kind of pain will usually happen in the digestive tract and is due to problems relating to food allergies, food sensitivities, gas, or indigestion.
Other kinds of cramps during pregnancy:
As your body is changing and growing throughout your pregnancy, it is actually pretty common to experience some minor, occasional cramps. This is also a sign that your body is accommodating your baby as it develops.
When your uterus starts to expand and stretch, the muscles and ligaments will also do the same and this is what causes the cramping that you would feel. Things like gas, bloating, and constipation can also cause cramping during pregnancy.
How to relieve implantation cramping
Usually, implantation cramping is just mild and you wouldn’t need to be concerned at all with it. Aside from this, it would only last for around 1 to 3 days. Refrain from taking any painkillers or medicine.
Most of the time, you can just let it pass on its own and it will just disappear. Although sometimes if your threshold for pain is low or maybe you just don’t want to deal with the discomfort, there are a few things that can help to relieve implantation cramping:
Keep stress at bay –
Stress will only make any pain and discomfort you are feeling even worse. It can take a toll on your body not just mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. That is why it is important to do what makes you feel relaxed and calm. This could be listening to your favorite music, doing some meditation, deep breathing, or just take a nap and rest. Try to minimize stress in order to lessen the effects of implantation cramping.
Stay hydrated –
By drinking lots of water and other fluids to keep you hydrated, it won’t only be good for your health in general, but it is beneficial especially if you are experiencing implantation cramps or any kind of muscle spasms and pain.
Heat or warm temperatures are good for easing those muscle tension and cramps. This will then help to relieve the pain and discomfort. You can apply a warm compress on the problem area. You can also take a nice, warm, relaxing bath. The warm water will help to relax the muscles and ligaments of the uterus.
Prenatal Yoga –
Aside from soothing the mind, this will also help to increase blood flow and relieve the pain. Take a prenatal yoga class or you can also find videos you can follow online.
This is another way of getting relaxed and easing muscle pains. You can book a prenatal massage with a professional or have your partner give you one. There are lots of information out there that can help you or your partner learn about how to properly give a prenatal massage.
Essential oils are beneficial for getting rid of stress and promoting relaxation. There are also a lot of oils out there to help calm your senses. Be sure to check with your doctor before using any essential oils during pregnancy.
Switching positions –
Sometimes when you change positions, you can help to relieve the cramping.
If you are feeling some pain and discomfort due to implantation cramping, try taking a nap. Your body will be able to rest and recuperate. You might find that when you wake up, the pain will be gone. There’s something to be said about the power of a good snooze!
Moderate activity and a little exercise is beneficial for you since it can get your blood flowing and will help to alleviate the pain. You can try going for a quick brisk walk or do some light exercises. Be careful not to overdo it though since you don’t want to overstress yourself.
Implantation cramping is one of the signs to look out for if you are trying to conceive. You might feel slight discomfort and pain but it should never be unbearable. If severe pain persists even after a few days (and you already have a positive pregnancy test), check with your doctor immediately.
This could be a sign of other conditions like an ovarian cyst, urinary tract infection, or an ectopic pregnancy. You can also talk to your doctor if you are unsure if what you are feeling is implantation cramping or not.
Have you experienced implantation cramping?