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What are implantation cramps? 

What are implantation cramps? 

Implantation cramps are mild cramps that some women might experience when the fertilized egg is implanted into the uterine lining. Many pregnant women do experience these cramps varying in intensities. In this post, we will try to answers all the ‘whys,’ ‘hows,’ and ‘whats’ you might be having regarding this common but somewhat misunderstood phenomenon. But before we can get into the depths of the implantation cramps, let’s begin our discussion with a general biology 101, shall we?

What are implantation cramps?
What do implantation cramps feel like?  implantation cramps vs period pain

Getting pregnant is complex and a fascinating process. It all starts when one of your ovaries releases an egg during the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle. Once the egg is released from the ovary, it begins to descend down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. If the egg encounters the sperms in the right part of the fallopian tube (called the ampulla), it might get fertilized to form a zygote. The fertilized egg continues its movement down through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Once it arrives in the uterus, the egg embeds itself in the thick vascular lining of the uterine wall known as the endometrium

As the fertilized egg burrows itself into the uterine lining, it causes some of the vasculature of the endometrium to rupture. It might cause some bleeding and some light cramps. The bleeding is called implantation bleeding, and the cramps are called implantation cramps. As the implantation cramps are quite mild in intensity, many women might not even experience them at all. That said, you must understand that having (or not having) implantation cramps has a zero effect on your pregnancy. So, if you don’t experience implantation cramps during the early phase of your pregnancy, there is nothing to worry about; it is perfectly normal not to have any cramps or spotting whatsoever. 

On the other hand, if you feel some cramps or a little spotting, it might be the earliest sign of pregnancy. If you wonder what these cramps feel like, when they occur, and what to do if you don’t feel them at all, stick around!

What do implantation cramps feel like? 

Let’s begin by answering this very basic question regarding implantation cramps. To put it simply, the sensation due to implantation cramps can be varied among women. In most cases, women report feeling mild cramps that resemble a dull ache or slight twinges. Some women have also reported having pulling or pricking sensations attributed to implantation cramps as well. 

These cramp events come and go for most women and might last for a couple of days before disappearing completely. As far as the location of the cramps goes, you might feel the sensation associated with cramps in your lower back, abdomen, or even in your pelvic area. As the implantation occurs near the midline of the uterus, you can experience cramps in the middle rather than on either side. 

When do the implantation cramps occur?  

It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact time when you might experience cramps after fertilization. One of the reasons for this is the variations in the lengths of menstrual cycles amongst women, making it difficult to generalize the ovulation time frame. Furthermore, the fertilized egg might take anywhere between 6 to 12 days to reach the uterus and embed itself in the uterine lining. Hence, it can be difficult to predict exactly when you might feel the cramps during your pregnancy. 

That said, if you have a regular period, you might experience implantation cramps about 4-8 days before your next period is due. Again, it is worth noting that this is just a reference timeframe, calculated based on a regular 28-day period. If your period is significantly longer or shorter than 28-days, you might experience thee cramps early or late than what is predicted here. 

How common are implantation cramps? 

It is more difficult to answer this question than you might think. Firstly, implantation cramps are not experienced by all pregnant women making it virtually impossible to determine how common they are amongst pregnant women. Secondly, implantation cramps are quite mild, so even if some women might feel them, they might not pay any attention at all. 

That said, if you have been trying to get pregnant for some time now, you might be on high alert to spot any early signs of pregnancy and feel the cramps. Considering all this, as you can imagine, it is difficult to say with any degree of accuracy or authority how commonly implantation cramps occur. 

Does implantation cramps feel like period cramps? 

Although both implantation cramps and periods might elicit a similar sensation, the latter is much stronger in comparison. The period cramps can be quite intense, while implantation cramps are mild, so mild that many women might not experience them at all! As implantation cramps occur close to your period, many women might confuse implantation cramps for a milder version of period cramps. 

It is tricky to pinpoint the early signs of pregnancy as they overlap with some of the symptoms of PMS. For instance, some of the early signs of pregnancy, such as irritability and mood swings, cramps (as we just discussed), sore breasts and nipples, and food cravings, are symptoms of PMS as well. Hence, it can get confusing to know whether you are pregnant or are having PMS. The only thing you can do in a situation like this is to be patient, although it is easier said than done, especially when you are eagerly trying to conceive. Fretting about your symptoms and trying to find answers to why you are feeling a certain way might put a lot of stress on you. Trying to get pregnant can be quite stressful, and you don’t want any added stress thrown into the mix. So, relax and wait out a few days. If you miss your period, you can take a home pregnancy test from Fertility2Family to ensure that you are indeed pregnant. We offer cheap, accurate, and easy home pregnancy tests. You can order one by clicking here!

What if implantation cramps are painful?

Implantation cramps are not intense enough to affect your daily life. However, if you find it difficult to function due to such cramps, you can try taking paracetamol or an ibuprofen pill to alleviate the pain a bit. Paracetamol is one of the safest pain-killer out there, so even if you are pregnant, it is perfectly safe for the baby. Applying mild heat with a heating pad can also be helpful.  

With all this said, you must understand that implantation cramps are never debilitating. If you have severe cramps, especially with any discharge or fever, and pain isolated to one side of your abdomen, seek immediate medical assistance. All these can be early signs of a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy (the implantation occurs in the wrong place), or a cyst in your ovaries. 

What if you don’t feel implantation pains?

As we saw earlier in the post, implantation cramps are not felt by all pregnant women. So, if you don’t feel any implantation pains at all, it does not mean that you can’t be pregnant or that there is something wrong with the pregnancy.

It is important to keep in mind that having cramps or lack of cramps has no bearing on the health of your pregnancy or chances of having a normal, event-free pregnancy.

Other signs of implantation

Apart from the implantation cramps, there might be other symptoms occurring during implantation. These symptoms might indicate that you are pregnant-

  • Implantation bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Food cravings

However, the most important and definitive early pregnancy symptom is if your period doesn’t come even a week or so after you experience implantation cramps. At this time, you can take a home pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy. 

Home pregnancy test kits are based on detecting a specific hormone secreted by the fetus called the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). The kits can detect the hCG in urine once it builds up in enough concentration in your body. Consequently, if you perform a home pregnancy test too early, You might get inaccurate results when you are experiencing implantation cramps. 

The ideal time to take a home pregnancy test is about a week or so after your expected period. That way, enough hCG is produced in the body, and a sufficient amount is excreted in the urine that a home pregnancy test kit can detect.