If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you may find yourself looking for signs of implantation. But what exactly is implantation? What happens when it occurs and what does it feel like? And finally, what can you do to improve the chance of successful implantation?
This article will focus on everything you need to know about this important process.
What is implantation?
Before implantation can occur, ovulation and fertilization must happen first.
Ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovary, occurs about two weeks before your period. The egg then rests in a part of the fallopian tube, known as the ampullary-isthmic junction.
If you have unprotected sex around the time of ovulation, the egg and sperm can join together in a process known as fertilization.
This fertilized egg begins to divide in half over and over again. During this time, it begins the long journey down the rest of the fallopian tube and into the uterus. This is where implantation occurs.
Implantation is the process of a fertilized egg attaching to the lining of the uterus. This is important because it allows the growing embryo to get nutrients from the mother’s uterus so it can grow and develop.
If the fertilized egg does not implant into the lining of the uterus, you are not pregnant.
When does implantation occur?
Implantation can occur anytime between 6DPO and 12 DPO (days after ovulation). However, it appears that days 8 to 10 are the most common.
If implantation happens after 10 days, it could mean that hormones and other factors may not be right for pregnancy to continue.
Researchers studied the link between late implantation and the risk of miscarriage. They found that there is a higher risk of miscarriage with each day of late implantation.
The risk of miscarriage is:
It doesn’t appear that late implantation causes miscarriage. Instead, there may be something wrong with the embryo that is causing the late implantation.
Right after implantation, there are several important hormonal changes. The embryo begins making a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. This hormone is detected by home pregnancy tests and indicates a pregnancy!
The rising level of hCG also triggers the continued rise of progesterone levels. Progesterone is a hormone that is needed to support the developing pregnancy.
How will I know if implantation has occurred?
Successful implantation depends on having a high progesterone to support the new pregnancy. Once implantation occurs, your progesterone levels start rising. The newly formed placenta also starts producing hCG.
Low or declining progesterone levels after ovulation can mean a short luteal phase. Studies show that low values of progesterone post ovulation can reduce the chances of successful implantation.
What are the symptoms of implantation?
It’s different for everyone! Some women don’t feel any different or notice anything out of the ordinary, while others do get some symptoms. It gets trickier because many of the symptoms of implantation are just like those of PMS.
This can leave many women obsessively looking up their symptoms to figure out what is going on.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know for sure until you either take a pregnancy test or get a full-flow period. This is because high progesterone levels happen with both PMS and implantation.
If you wish to know what happens after implantation, you need to know the symptoms of implantation.
Possible symptoms of implantation include:
Implantation cramping is usually felt in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or even lower back. It tends to be more in the middle of the body instead of one side like ovulation.
Implantation cramps are usually described as:
- Light twinges
These sensations may stick around or sometimes they come and go, but they only tend to last for a couple of days.
During implantation, the fertilized egg ruptures small blood vessels in the lining. This can cause some women to experience implantation bleeding or spotting. While different for everyone, implantation bleeding is usually very light and only lasts a day or two. Implantation bleeding is most common on days 7 to 10 after ovulation.
Fatigue is very common with high progesterone levels. This is also why you may feel more tired during the third or fourth week of your menstrual cycle (right before you get your period) and why exhaustion is so common in early pregnancy.
- Tender breasts:
Breast tenderness and sensitivity are very common in the days leading up to a missed period and in early pregnancy. You may also notice that your breasts appear larger; this is also due to high progesterone levels.
- Mood swings:
Ever cry at a really sad commercial right before your period? Yup, that’s thanks to progesterone also. You may find yourself feeling particularly teary and emotional after implantation also.
- Food Craving:
Suddenly have a craving for pickles and ice cream? Turns out this old wives’ tale may not be such a cliché after all. High progesterone levels can not only cause food cravings, but food aversions as well.
- Stomach issues:
In addition to making you feel sluggish and tired, progesterone can slow your stomach and intestines way down, causing constipation and bloating.
- “The Implantation Dip”
If you test your Basal Body Temperature, you may notice what is called the ‘Implantation Dip.’ This is where your body temperature drops for about a day after implantation occurs.
This can also happen before getting a period. However, if implantation has occurred, your temperature will go back up.
If the decrease is because you are about to get a period, the temperature will stay low.
It’s important to know that having or not having symptoms of implantation does not mean that you are or aren’t pregnant.
How can I improve the chances of successful implantation?
Up to 50% of fertilized eggs may not implant and are lost during a woman’s period. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may wonder what you can do to ensure that implantation is successful.
Well, there’s good news and bad news.
First, the good news. Embryos are quite resilient and there’s not much that you can do to affect implantation.
However, that’s also the bad news because there’s not much you can do to guarantee a successful implantation.
The best advice is to keep doing whatever you can do to stay healthy:
- Exercise: It is important to maintain your current level of activity. If you weren’t a marathon runner before trying to get pregnant, don’t try to be one now. Likewise, if you usually take long walks or run, it’s probably safe to continue. You may want to check in with your doctor to be on the safe side.
- Prenatal vitamins: You should start taking a prenatal vitamin a few months before trying to get pregnant. Make sure that it has at least 400-800 mcg of Folic Acid to reduce the risk of a neural tube defect.
- Avoid potential toxins: This includes alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes (or other nicotine products). Some medications also might not be a great fit in pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking any medications or supplements. This includes over-the-counter products. You want to make sure that they are safe for conception and pregnancy.
- Diet: Focus on eating a well-balanced diet that is high in nutrients and low in excess fat, sugar and calories.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being underweight or overweight can make it more difficult to conceive. Try to get to and maintain a healthy weight before getting pregnant.
- Stress less: Stress can impact both your fertility and pregnancy. Make sure to do what you can to reduce stress and take more time for yourself. This is the time to get a massage, meet with friends, or pick up that book you’re anxious to read.
Please make sure to check in with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Does implantation mean that you are pregnant?
Yes! Medically speaking, implantation is the start of a pregnancy. Depending on the pregnancy test you use, you should get a positive result. Don’t forget to call your doctor and start prenatal care. Congratulations!
- Implantation is the process of a fertilized egg attaching to the lining of the uterus and is the start of a pregnancy.
- Days 8 to 10 post ovulation are the most common days for implantation.
- Late implantation may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Right after implantation, the embryo causes a rise in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and progesterone.
- Tracking progesterone levels at home can provide valuable information to help you get pregnant.
- Implantation can cause spotting, cramping, fatigue, bloating, and breast tenderness in some women.