For many women, implantation cramping is often an early pregnancy sign. Knowing the main causes and differences between period cramps and implantation cramps will help you recognize them.
What are Implantation Cramps?
Cramping during implantation is a healthy and normal part of being pregnant — and it’s often your first sign that you’re pregnant. For some women, they’re the first sign they’ve conceived.
During conception, the sperm fertilizes the egg in one of your fallopian tubes. Cells begin dividing and multiplying quickly within your first 24 hours. For the next three to four days, the fertilized egg stays in your fallopian tube and then begins to slowly move down through the tube to your uterus where it becomes what’s called a blastocyst.
After the blastocyst finds the uterus, it then begins implanting itself into your uterine lining (implantation). This is the process that normally triggers implantation cramps. Your implantation cramping should be mild usually and may accompany some implantation bleeding.
Not all women, however, will get implantation cramps. Some don’t experience any cramping at all during their entire pregnancy.
What are the Signs of Implantation Cramping?
Each woman varies in how she experiences early pregnancy symptoms. Some may feel mild cramping during implantation; others don’t. Some experience implantation bleeding which tends to happen around 10 to 14 days after the time of conception — usually when you’d get your period. Implantation bleeding is lighter than menstrual bleeding.
Some early symptoms you may experience after implantation include:
You may experience nosebleeds and constipation. These are all common symptoms during early pregnancy.
When Does Implantation Cramping Occur?
So, when does implantation cramping start?
While not all women have implantation cramps, when they do, they’ll notice the cramping when implantation occurs in their womb. Cramping usually happens when implantation does, between six and 12 days after ovulation. Once this occurs, the fetus has already attached to the uterine cavity.
How Long Do Implantation Cramps Last?
Implantation cramping typically lasts for only one to three days and is minor.
Where Do You Feel Implantation Cramps?
You’ll likely feel implantation cramping in your lower abdomen. But, you may experience pain in other areas of your body. For instance, some women experience back pain during implantation. The pain in the back feels almost the same as back pain during your period. When you experience this pain, it’s usually pain starting in your reproductive area and then radiates to your back.
Some women experience cramping on one side of their body. This type of cramping is usually associated with a tugging or pulling feeling. You’ll want to contact a doctor if the pain becomes intense between menstrual cycles.
How to Tell the Difference Between Menstrual Cramps and Implantation Cramps
Implantation cramping usually occurs around the same time you’d get your period, therefore, it’s often hard to tell if you’re having normal period cramps or if you’re experiencing implantation cramping during early pregnancy. But, some differences do exist so you’ll want to pay attention to the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Some things you may experience are:
Implantation cramping is typically intermittent, mild and feels like a tugging or pulling sensation. Menstrual cramping is more gradual and intense.
Implantation cramping usually only lasts for a few days while the implantation process completes itself. If your pain lasts longer than a few days, they’re most likely cramps from PMS.
When you have bleeding accompanying your cramping, it’s likely early pregnancy. If you notice any spotting and don’t usually have your menstrual cycle around that time, it could be implantation cramps. Implantation bleeding also is usually much lighter than PMS bleeding and more brown in color than PMS bleeding which is usually bright red.
Also, early pregnancy and implantation symptoms usually occur together, so you’ll want to look out for signs of pregnancy not associated with PMS like:
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Metallic taste in your mouth
Nausea and/or vomiting
Smell or food aversions
Are There Any Treatment Options for Implantation Cramps?
Implantation cramping can cause a little bit of discomfort, but again, only last for a few days — sometimes only one day. The cramps are typically mild enough where you don’t need pain medication. There are some things you can try, however, to find some relief:
Stress will cause more discomfort and tension. So you’ll want to try to sit back and relax, prop up your feet. This should help relieve the pain. Meditation, deep breathing or other relaxation techniques can be helpful too.
Get a massage:
Look for massage services in your neighborhood that have experience with prenatal massage or ask your partner to give you a massage.
Take a warm bath:
Bathing in warm water can help ease the tension and help you relax. The warm water relaxes your uterus muscles which relieves your cramping.
If you’re not up for a warm bath, use a hot compress and place it on your problem areas.
This can help relax your mind as well as alleviate your pain and get your blood flowing.