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Spotting as a Sign of Pregnancy: Why Does It Happen?

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Nov 13, 2022

Spotting as a Sign of Pregnancy: Why Does It Happen?

Spotting as a sign of pregnancy and one of the signs of implantation bleeding is common knowledge among a lot of people. But what exactly is the reason that this happens, and are there any other symptoms that moms-to-be need to be aware of?

Spotting as a sign of pregnancy: Why it happens

First off, what exactly is spotting? Spotting refers to light bleeding from the vagina that happens outside your normal period.

The reason why spotting happens as a sign of pregnancy is because of implantation bleeding. Once fertilization happens, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube and will reach and “implant” itself in the lining of the uterus.

The process takes about a week, and when it happens, implantation bleeding can occur. This usually manifests in spotting or light bleeding from the vagina.

Not all pregnant women experience spotting, but it is one common sign that you are pregnant.

It is important to note that implantation bleeding is not the only cause of spotting. Some women experience what’s known as “ovulation spotting” or spotting that happens during their ovulation cycle. Additionally, some forms of birth control can also trigger spotting in between a woman’s menstrual cycle.

This is why when you’re looking for signs of implantation bleeding of pregnancy, it is important to not simply focus on spotting. There are also other signs that let you know if you might be pregnant.

What are the signs of implantation bleeding?

Here are some of the other signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding of pregnancy:

Light cramps

Some women might feel light cramps at the start of their pregnancy. These are similar to the cramps that women feel during their menstrual cycle, but they are not as severe or painful as regular period cramps.

However, some women can experience severe cramps in cases where there is an ectopic pregnancy. If you think that you are pregnant and you’re having painful cramps that is out of the ordinary, it would be best to talk to your doctor about it.


Another sign of implantation bleeding of pregnancy is headaches. These are most common during the start of pregnancy and has something to do with the hormonal changes happening in the woman’s body.

Headaches can also happen because of increased blood volume as the body gets ready for pregnancy.

Morning sickness

Nausea, especially in the morning, is a well-known symptom of pregnancy. Despite its name, pregnant women can also experience this during the afternoon or in the evening.

It can happen very early on in the pregnancy, or sometimes it doesn’t even happen at all. It really varies from woman to woman.

There are situations wherein morning sickness can become too much, and a pregnant woman might lose her appetite entirely. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum, and women experiencing this should seek their doctor’s advice since they need to eat and stay healthy during their pregnancy.

spotting as a sign of pregnancy

Mood swings

Another symptom of implantation bleeding of pregnancy is mood swings. Mood swings happen because of the hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through to prepare her for pregnancy. This means that some women might feel irritable, anxious, or even depressed at the start of their pregnancy.

Usually, this can go away over time. However, if it goes on for too long, or if feelings of anxiety or depression get worse and starts to affect daily life, then it might be a good idea to seek professional help and talk to a doctor about it.

Missed period

Aside from spotting as a sign of pregnancy, another telltale sign is a missed period. This is the most distinct sign of pregnancy because it means that your body stops ovulating and is getting ready for pregnancy.

It’s also much easier to notice for women who have regular menstrual cycles. On the other hand, a missed period might not be the best pregnancy sign to look for if your menstrual cycle is irregular.

Though, certain things such as stress and hormonal imbalance can also cause a missed period.

Key Takeaways

While spotting and other symptoms of early pregnancy can give you a clue if you’re pregnant or not, these methods are not always reliable. If you really want to be sure if you’re pregnant or not, the best way would be to initially take a pregnancy test.

Additionally, if you experience severe bleeding or unusual pregnancy symptoms, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.

Learn more about Pregnancy and Getting Pregnant here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Nov 13, 2022

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