What To Know About Implantation Cramps

The early signs of pregnancy are numerous and unique for each person, but one common symptom of early pregnancy is implantation cramps (via Healthline). Whether you've noticed that your period is late or you've already taken a pregnancy test and received a positive result, knowing what to expect in the early stages of pregnancy can help put your mind at ease and make you better prepared for what's to come. Implantation cramps are a form of cramping that occurs in the lower abdominal region of a woman's body after an egg has successfully been fertilized. Some women might associate implantation cramps with menstrual cramping, while others may recognize a noticeable difference in the sensations.

If you are newly pregnant and begin to feel cramping, don't panic. Implantation cramping is a completely normal reaction that your body is having as it makes the necessary adjustments for the fertilized egg. When an egg is fertilized, it becomes what is called a blastocyst, a ball of rapidly dividing and developing cells, approximately five or six days after the egg and sperm combine, according to Mayo Clinic. After a blastocyst forms, the next step is for it to attach and bury itself into the lining of the uterus (via Healthline). As the blastocyst makes its new home inside the uterine lining, a blood supply is created for the developing cells, which may in turn cause cramping and even some light bleeding referred to as implantation bleeding.

Implantation cramps vs. period cramps

After becoming pregnant, you may experience implantation cramping and potential bleeding about 10 to 14 days after the egg is fertilized, says Healthline. Most women who experience implantation cramping and bleeding do so around the time they'd expect to get their period, which is why it can sometimes be confused with regular menstruation. However, it's important to note that implantation bleeding is usually lighter than normal menstrual bleeding and that heavy bleeding or intense cramping should be immediately assessed by a healthcare provider.

Other ways to differentiate implantation cramping and bleeding from menstrual experiences is through the sensations that can come along with implantation cramps, reports MedicalNewsToday. Women who have experienced implantation cramping have recounted sensations like tingling, prickling, and pulling within their lower abdomens. While implantation cramps are typically less severe than menstrual cramps, if symptoms of early pregnancy are bothersome, you can use a heating pad to relax the muscles and relieve some of the pain (via VeryWell Family). When it comes to taking over-the-counter pain relievers, the safest one to take if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant is acetaminophen. Consult with your doctor about the safety of taking other medications while pregnant. Additionally, if you begin to experience signs of early pregnancy, such as implantation cramping sensations or light implantation bleeding, it's advised that you take a home pregnancy test and then make an appointment with your healthcare provider, as per MedicalNewsToday.

Other signs and symptoms

In addition to implantation cramping, there are several other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy. According to Healthline, women in the early weeks of pregnancy may experience food and sensory aversions, becoming sensitive to smells and tastes that haven't been bothersome to them before. Bloating and constipation are two abdominal symptoms that can occur with or without implantation cramping, though if you normally experience these symptoms during your period then you should be mindful of the severity of your symptoms and check with your doctor about any concerns. Breast tenderness is another symptom that can be associated with both pregnancy and menstruation, though breast tenderness during pregnancy is usually more intense and longer-lasting.

Because of the hormones present during the early stages of pregnancy, nasal congestion can come about as the hormones cause membranes in the nose and sinuses to swell, sometimes causing nose bleeds (via Healthline). You may even find yourself feeling more emotional or having more intense reactions to situations you normally wouldn't react to, and you might feel fatigued and require some extra rest. Vomiting and nausea are frequent side effects of pregnancy, but a lesser-known symptom is a raised body temperature, which is normal unless your temperature spikes too high and you feel intensely feverish (via MedicalNewsToday). Perhaps the most common early symptom is a missed period, although sometimes implantation bleeding can be confused for menstruation, as per Healthline. Again, it's important to remember that not every woman experiences symptoms of early pregnancy, including implantation cramps.