The implantation window is part of a key process in your journey towards pregnancy. It is the timeframe where the lining of your womb is ready for implantation to occur.
Think of it this way: only after a fertilized egg attaches to the womb during the implantation window can you get pregnant.
But how exactly do you identify your implantation window?
In this article, we will be covering the key events that lead to implantation including the implantation window and what happens during this process.
Implantation is the attachment of a fertilized egg or blastocyst to the lining of the womb. Once that happens, it gives the green light that you are pregnant.
Experts have agreed and proven that without implantation, you can’t get pregnant.
But don’t confuse implantation for fertilization. Successful implantation and not fertilization confirms pregnancy.
Then, what is the implantation window? Very simple, it is the period when the uterine lining is ready for implantation to occur.
Implantation can take place at about 6DPO-12 DPO, most commonly around 8-10 DPO. This is because there are a series of events between fertilization and implantation–when the egg attaches to the womb. Let us take you through them.
When you have unprotected sex during your fertile window—which lingers on from four days before you ovulate, the day you ovulate, till a day after you ovulate— there is a higher chance of fertilization to occur.
Hereon, the egg begins its own journey. First, the fertilized egg goes through multiple cell divisions to become a blastocyst.
The blastocyst travels from the fallopian tube into your uterus (which is commonly known as the womb) for implantation to take place.
It’s important to note here that although fertilization has taken place, pregnancy is not promised because implantation has to happen first.
While the blastocyst moves through the tube, it divides to form a special tissue called the trophoblast which surrounds the fertilized egg. This tissue helps the blastocyst to attach to the uterus and form the placenta.
What the trophoblast does is force its way into the uterine lining. You can only imagine that the fertilized egg goes along as it is wrapped inside the trophoblast.
The process of implantation can thus be divided into three stages –
The whole implantation process takes place at about 8-10 DPO. At this stage, you can be fairly sure that pregnancy has started, though you may not always see signs.
The window of implantation lasts about 4-5 days and usually occurs 5-10 days after the Luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. When the blastocyst gets to the endometrium (uterine lining), it can only attach within a limited space in the cycle. This period is what we call the window of implantation.
Now that you know when your body is ready for implantation, what are the signs that implantation has taken place?
While implantation signs may be some of the earliest indicators of pregnancy at 8-10 DPO, the only solid confirmation of pregnancy comes with a test. A pregnancy test must be taken after your first missed period.
Though there are certain typical signs you can keep an eye out for to know if implantation has successfully occurred, you must understand that not everyone experiences these signs.
And that’s perfectly alright! In fact, it is not very common to see people with signs that show implantation has happened.
Here are some notable symptoms of implantation:
After implantation has been confirmed, pregnancy follows. That’s the cue for your body to begin secreting higher levels of hormones like hCG from the placenta.
The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) plays a crucial role in pregnancy tests. Whether it is a home urine test or a blood test, hCG levels need to be considerably high enough to confirm that you are pregnant.
If you test positive for pregnancy, it means your body has produced significantly higher levels of hCG for the test to detect.
Now, if you take a pregnancy test before implantation, it will read negative. This is because the hCG is produced from your baby’s developing placenta. The body can’t release this hormone if implantation has not yet taken place.
Your pregnancy test will detect an hCG level greater than 25 mIU/mL. However, if your hCG level is less than 5 mIU/mL, your pregnancy test may read negative—which happens before implantation occurs.
The answer is a big fat yes! From what we have discussed earlier, implantation is the beginning of pregnancy. But you shouldn’t be in a hurry to test for pregnancy because it takes a while for the pregnancy hormones to be detectable in urine or blood tests.
Even if implantation has occurred, it is still best to wait for several days before testing because the level of hCG increases progressively and may still be low immediately after implantation compared to several days after.
So don’t panic if you test negative even after a well-timed conception. Remember, the key is to test for pregnancy at the right time. The most ideal time to take a pregnancy test is after your first missed period – this is around 14 DPO.