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Many different milestones and measurements are used to discuss and track pregnancy. Contrary to how Hollywood sometimes portrays it in the movies, your body’s work isn’t done once a sperm cell fertilizes an egg. 

In reality, many different changes and processes happen inside your body throughout pregnancy. After fertilization, the next critical milestone is implantation.

What Is Implantation?

Implantation is the process of a fertilized egg attaching itself to the lining of the uterus. This attachment is achieved due to a layer of cells surrounding the fertilized egg. This outer layer, called a trophoblast, burrows into the uterine lining and produces chorionic gonadotrophic hormone (HCG). 

Released HCG hormones help to prepare the uterus for pregnancy and are also used as a marker by standard urine and blood pregnancy tests. A typical pregnancy test checks to see if elevated HCG hormone levels are present. 

When it comes to confirming whether or not implantation has occurred, there are no obvious or universal symptoms to be aware of. Some women don’t notice a change; others may experience mild cramping and implantation bleeding. These symptoms are usually very faint and may be mistaken for normal menstrual cramps/spotting. 

Implantation Bleeding

Implantation bleeding is commonly mistaken for normal spotting. Some of the differences between implantation bleeding and normal spotting are:

Characteristic Implantation Bleeding  Normal Spotting
Timing  6 to 12 days after conception Any time of the menstrual cycle
Amount of Blood Often very light spotting  Ranges from light to heavy
Color of Blood Often light brown or pink Often bright red or dark brown
Duration Often lasts for a few hours Often lasts multiple days
Other Symptoms May be accompanied by mild cramping  May be accompanied by pain, itching, or a strong odor

How Long Does Implantation Take?

Implantation usually takes place between 6 to 12 days after conception occurs. If implantation does not occur within that timeframe, the fertilized egg is unlikely to survive. The cells within the egg can only survive without a blood supply from the mother’s uterus for a limited amount of time. 

Potential Causes of Unsuccessful Implantation

Unsuccessful implantation, also known as implantation failure, can occur for a variety of reasons. Some common factors include: 

Embryonic Issues

An unhealthy egg that has chromosomal abnormalities, can be the cause of implantation failure. Abnormal aspects of an egg can make it difficult or impossible for the embryo to implant in the uterus and develop normally.


Age is one of the most common factors in implantation failure. Women over the age of 35 are less likely to achieve successful implantation.

Underlying Health Conditions

Women with certain health conditions, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), are also more likely to experience implantation failure.

Previous Pregnancy Losses

Implantation failure is more common in women who have had previous losses. If you have had previous pregnancy losses, it is important to talk to your doctor about your risk of implantation failure. There are a number of tests and treatments that can help to improve your chances of success in future pregnancies.

Increasing Your Chances of Successful Implantation

If you have experienced implantation failure, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy in the future, including:

Consulting a Fertility Specialist

A fertility specialist can provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment to identify and address any underlying health conditions contributing to implantation failure.

Taking Medication

Several medications can help to improve your chances of implantation, such as clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins.  

Opting for Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary for successful implantation to be possible. For example, a woman with endometriosis may elect to have surgery that will remove scar tissue to increase her chances of implantation.

What to Look Forward to After Implantation

After the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining, many more changes are yet to come. 

Developmental Milestones

As time passes:

  • The fertilized egg will develop into an embryo as the cells within continue to split and multiply exponentially. 
  • The placenta will also form as the embryo grows, providing the baby with nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord. 
  • The embryo will begin to develop organs and tissues, including the heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys.
  • The baby’s heartbeat will begin to form around six weeks of pregnancy.

Determining Gender

At six weeks, you can discover your baby’s gender with an early gender blood test. The Peekaboo Early Gender DNA Test uses cell-free fetal DNA found in the mother’s blood to test for the presence of a male Y chromosome.

With Peekaboo, the collection process is fast and straightforward, and you can expect express results to be available within a day after the lab receives your sample.

Ready to discover your baby’s gender?

Get the Peekaboo At-Home Early Gender DNA Test, proven to be over 99% accurate, and discover your baby’s gender as early as 6 weeks from the comfort of home!

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