If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may have heard of fertilization — the process that occurs when sperm meets the egg and fertilizes it. But what happens between sperm meeting egg and pregnancy?
Implantation! Implantation is the process when the fertilized egg (also called an embryo) attaches to the mother’s uterine wall — i.e. embryo meeting mama.
Keep reading to learn more about implantation and how you can support it to reach your goals faster.
What is implantation and why is it important?
There are so many key pieces when it comes to the pregnancy puzzle. One isn’t necessarily more important than the other — getting pregnant requires healthy sperm, a healthy egg, for them to meet, a healthy uterus… The list goes on!
Implantation, however, is the last stop on an embryo’s path to pregnancy. It marks the moment the embryo attaches to the mother’s uterus and the beginning of pregnancy.
The implantation process is extremely organized and it requires perfect conditions. First, the embryo needs to be healthy, i.e. genetically normal. Second, the uterus needs to be prepared to receive the embryo, meaning it needs to be “sticky” enough for the embryo to be able to implant.
Typically, the uterus is only ready to receive a pregnancy for a few days each cycle. This is known as the implantation window and it occurs after ovulation, and before you would get a positive pregnancy test or your next period.
If the optimal uterine conditions aren’t met, implantation may not happen at all, or if it does it may be unsuccessful and incomplete. This can be a cause of chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage.
The uterus is only ready to receive an embryo during the implantation window.
How to Recognize Implantation
Although this is debatable from a scientific point of view, many women claim they can “feel” when implantation takes place. While it’s true that being in tune with our bodies helps us notice changes, there is unfortunately no scientific proof that implantation can actually be “felt.”
However there are some signs that might hint towards implantation and, even if they don’t always mean you’re getting pregnant, they’re worth being on the lookout for.
First, implantation bleeding! Most women do not ever experience it, but the one-third of them who do report a light, pinkish or beige spotting that lasts on average 48 hours at the most and doesn’t really turn red like a full menstrual bleed.
Being insignificant and not accompanied by cramping, it’s easy to be overlooked. Sometimes, implantation bleeding may only be noticed when you wipe.
If you experience spotting leading up to your next expected period, the best way to prove it’s an early sign of pregnancy is to take a home pregnancy test. Once the embryo implants, it needs a few to start producing enough hCG to be detectable in urine.
Proov Check early pregnancy tests can detect hCG in urine up to 5 days before your next expected period, so you can test for pregnancy even earlier than most at-home pregnancy tests.
Please note that if the light spotting turns into heavy bleeding, or if you are experiencing clots or pain, we recommend consulting your healthcare provider. Implantation bleeding is generally pretty light, so anything other than a few drops may signal something else is going on.
Cramping may also be a sign of an embryo implanting. Cramping between ovulation and your next expected period may also be a sign of elevated progesterone levels, which is good!
Many women report light cramping — similar to menstrual pain — around their suspected implantation date. Science doesn’t tell us if this is strictly related to an embryo implanting or if it’s just a coincidence, since progesterone should also be high during the implantation window.
Either way, as long as the cramping is mild, there is nothing to worry about. If the cramping gets intense, and you’re starting to feel serious pain in your lower belly, reach out to your doctor.
Any early pregnancy symptoms aside, the only real confirmation of successful implantation is a positive home pregnancy test, an hCG blood test in a lab, or an early ultrasound.
How can I support implantation?
While there are tons of techniques and methods out there for improving sperm and egg quality — some more accurate and effective than others — you may be wondering if there’s any real way to improve the chances of successful implantation.
And in fact, there is!
The “stickiness” of your uterine lining — i.e. how receptive it will be to an embryo — depends, among other things, on two very important hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
During the first half of your cycle, leading up to ovulation, your ovary produces estrogen, whose job it is to make your uterine lining nice and thick.
After ovulation occurs, the ovary then starts producing progesterone, which makes your already thickened uterine lining super sticky. A “successful” ovulation is one where an egg is released and progesterone levels remain adequately elevated over the entire implantation window.
Proov Confirm is the first at-home PdG (progesterone marker) test to confirm successful ovulation at home. A good Ovulation Score during the implantation window testing period indicates successful ovulation, meaning your PdG levels are optimal and you have a higher chance of getting pregnant!
If your Ovulation Score is on the lower side, there’s no reason to worry. There’s lots you can do to support your body’s natural PdG production and in turn support implantation.
Things like diet changes, seed cycling, and herbal supplements are great options for giving your progesterone levels a little boost.
Now that you understand what implantation is and how you can support it, you have even more knowledge to continue on your journey to pregnancy with confidence!