Now that you have ovulated and have maximized your egg’s exposure to sperm, be prepared to wait at least two more weeks before you know whether you are pregnant or not. An important step in this journey will take place this week – Implantation. Now that your egg and sperm have met, the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus where it will continue to divide for the next 3 days before implantation takes place.

To determine how long after conception implantation takes place, it requires that we understand what is involved in both processes. Conception occurs when the sperm is fertilized by the egg. In reality, the actual physical intercourse that caused conception could have taken place any time from one week to a few hours before fertilization. Implantation, in a nutshell is the attaching of the new blastocyst to the inner lining of the uterus. From this very moment on, the blastocyst starts to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (the marker used by pregnancy tests). It may therefore take anywhere between 7 to 14 days from sexual intercourse to implantation with the uterus.

Implantation bleeding or spotting:

Implantation may be accompanied by implantation bleeding. Mild cramping and light spotting are experienced by some during the third week. This is a direct result of the fertilized egg implanting into the lining of the uterus. Some women may confuse this with an early period but this bleeding is scanty and often seen to be a pink or brownish discharge. This should not cause any worry as your body produces immunosuppressant protein which prevents rejection of the fetus as a foreign body.

Implantation bleeding is usually not accompanied with pain. Cramping that results from pregnancy may be experienced later on. So it would be safe to say that implantation bleeding as such should not cause any discomfort.

You may think that implantation bleeding signals when a home pregnancy test will read positive. While this may be true in some cases, most women report a positive result only in the fourth week even if they have tested negative in the third week.

Home pregnancy tests work on a simple principle of detecting human chorionic gonadotropin, so unless you are carrying twins or more (yikes!), you might have to wait an extra week before you get a reliable result. While you wait, continue with those good habits that you have begun working on and pick up some new ones along the way.

Realize that from here on out for the next two weeks, you will be blissfully unaware of what is in store for you: so make the best use of this time in making lifestyle changes that will both promote conception and pregnancy. So put down that coffee and grab a nariyalpaani instead!