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Early signs of implantation

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When you’re trying to conceive, the similarities between symptoms of implantation and signs of PMS can sound maddeningly similar on paper, but in reality, there are differences you may be able to feel, and there’s a good chance you’ll have an idea whether implantation took place before a pregnancy test can even tell you.

Signs of implantation: A timeline

The first difference is in the timing of the symptoms. Implantation happens any time between about 5-10 days after you ovulate, while PMS usually sets in closer to two weeks after.

Implantation symptoms

If symptoms start and it feels a little early to you for it to be menstruation, it might be a successful implantation.


Mild cramping can be a sign of successful implantation, as the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining. These cramps don’t happen in every case, and they’re not, on their own, enough to say for sure that implantation has happened. When they do occur though, they’re different from menstrual cramps in that they only last for short periods of time, rather than continuously like menstrual cramps. The pain they cause also tends to be much milder than that from menstrual cramps.


Implantation bleeding produces a lot less blood than your period. Instead, it’s more like spotting, and is more likely to range from pinkish to brownish, instead of red like menstrual blood. If you have heavier-than-period bleeding, especially with extreme cramping, you should contact your healthcare provider.


Both implantation and PMS can cause soreness in your breasts. The two types of soreness won’t necessarily feel that different from one another, but soreness from a period will usually go away after a few days, whereas soreness from implantation might stick around through your pregnancy. In fact, your hormones during pregnancy can cause several different changes in your breasts. The other one that you might notice around the time of implantation is a darkening of your areolas.

Other signs

There are other signs of implantation that don’t correspond to PMS, like nausea and morning sickness, increased urination, and missing your period. Since everyone’s body is different though, you may not notice some or all of these signs. At-home pregnancy tests can provide a bit more confirmation, though they won’t reach their full accuracy until around your expected period date.

  • “Pregnancy Symptoms.” American Pregnancy AssociationAmerican Pregnancy Assocaition. June 29, 2018. http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Symptoms of Pregnancy: What happens first.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Jan. 5, 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853

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