Do you feel your eggs being fertilized?

Implantation pain: does it really exist?

Content checked by midwife Nadine Beermann.

Many doctors don't believe it, but some women swear they felt an implantation pain early in their pregnancy. Who is right? We explain when implantation pain can occur, how it feels and what it can be confused with.

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Some doctors deny the pain of implantation

If you believe some gynecologists, there is no implantation pain. That they are exclusively men should only be mentioned in passing. The fact is that the slight pain that women sometimes feel when the fertilized egg burrows into the uterus has not been scientifically proven.

And how, because such studies would be far too complicated to implement and thus too expensive. After all, who knows for sure when ovulation and thus fertilization took place? And the egg cell's journey to the uterus also takes different lengths of time. It is also not known whether it will nestle there. The women examined would have to spend days in the hospital equipped with sensors just to record a pain that is actually not and that has no medical relevance.

So there are only testimonials from women who remember it or not. All in all, very subjective and not scientifically reliable. But at least!

That happens during implantation

The egg can only be fertilized in the fallopian tube up to 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. It takes about 4 days to get into the uterus, but shorter or longer is also possible. On their way there, they share several times. As soon as it has arrived in the uterus, it looks for a nice place there where the mucous membrane is well built up. This can take up to 6 days. In total, it takes about 10 days from ovulation to final implantation. However, it can also be much faster.

Once it finds a place, the inner cells that then form the embryo separate from the outer cells and invade the upper cells of the uterine wall. The outer cells fuse with the lining of the uterus and in the following weeks become the placenta, the placenta. The penetration into the uterine wall is called implantation. As soon as a protective mucous membrane has formed over the embryo and placenta, implantation is considered complete.

During the implantation, the later embryo comes into contact with the uterus via messenger substances. Now the pregnancy hormone hCG is released. The further the embryo and placenta grow, the more hCG can be detected in the blood. If the pregnancy test is positive, you are usually already in the 5th week of pregnancy, i.e. at the end of the first month of pregnancy. However, you should only test if your period has actually failed.

This is what implantation pain feels like

Women who have felt parts of the fertilized egg have penetrated the uterine wall report a slight pulling or pricking in the lower abdomen. Some even know exactly where the embryo has lodged. Some say the pain was short-lived. Other women had slight pain for up to 3 days. Many others have not noticed anything or at least cannot remember it.

It is quite possible that women who listen to their bodies increasingly and full of hope because of a strong desire to have children, notice something more of it than women who are very busy in everyday life. But it certainly also depends on the individual sensitivity to pain and general body feeling.

About a third of pregnant women can remember light bleeding around the time of implantation. This is what is known as nidation bleeding, which always occurs when the smallest blood vessels are injured during the implantation of the embryo. However, this does not mean that affected women always feel painful implantation at the same time.

It doesn't matter if you feel an implantation pain

Please don't worry if you don't feel any implantation pain. Because not feeling anything like that doesn't mean it didn't work out. It also doesn't matter whether implantation bleeding occurs or not. Because it is also completely harmless. On the other hand, pain in the lower abdomen is not always a sign that you are pregnant. You can read about the likelihood of confusion in the following section.

The pain of implantation can be confused with this

There can be several reasons why pain may occur during the female cycle.

The middle pain

On the one hand, you can feel the so-called middle pain around ovulation. Medical professionals disagree on whether this occurs shortly before, during, or after ovulation. Perhaps this is very different for every woman. However, it is certain that it does exist. But here too, not every woman feels the middle pain. And no one can say for sure when the exact time of ovulation will be. Sometimes it happens sooner or later than expected. With the ovulation calculator you can try to narrow down the possible days for this.

Cysts

Ovarian cysts or cysts and fibroids in the uterus can also cause pain. Some women are more affected than others. Many have no problem with that.

PMS

After ovulation, pain can also occur, which is then only a symptom of the premenstrual syndrome, or PMS for short. PMS can be associated with stomach pulling, depression, food cravings, breast tenderness, etc. and is sometimes confusingly similar to symptoms of early pregnancy. The pain occurs when the uterus adjusts to the eventual arrival of a fertilized egg. The longer the phase from ovulation to menstruation (money body phase), the more pronounced the symptoms can be. Women who have a strong desire to have children in particular often have problems here.

Remodeling processes in early pregnancy

Once the egg has actually been fertilized and implanted, the uterus begins to grow immediately. It is now getting better and better blood supply. The placenta begins to form. All of these remodeling processes can also lead to pulling pains and abdominal cramps, regardless of the implantation, and offer potential for confusion. The pregnancy would then be a little more advanced than you think.

When to see a doctor

If you feel pain for a long time, you should always have it clarified. Because, on the one hand, it can be caused by cystitis. Infections of the uterus or ovaries are also possible. All of this needs to be treated as soon as possible, as infections can lead to infertility.

If pregnancy cannot be ruled out, persistent pain and bleeding can indicate that the embryo is not implanted in the uterus but, for example, in the fallopian tube.

Do you have any questions about implantation pain or can you tell us whether you felt it yourself? Feel free to write us a comment!

About the author: Anke is a qualified computer scientist and has been with Babelli since 2017. Her passion: unraveling complicated medical content and making it understandable. That is why she is our medical editor for pregnancy and breastfeeding. When she's not tackling the next exciting topic for us, she has her hands full as the favorite mom of a pug-loving daughter (5). She finds her inner balance at the latest when walking along the Havel.