What Does Spotting Look Like? 5 Things Every Woman Should Know

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Red spotting isolated on the white.

Is it spotting, or something else? Most women experience spotting on occasion, but for women who are experiencing this for the first time, it can be a little unnerving. A dozen questions may be running through your mind:

  • What does spotting look like?
  • Is it really spotting, or something more serious?
  • What is spotting like?

Here are five things that you – and every woman – should know about this common phenomenon:

What is Considered as Spotting 

1. Dark or Pink Blood is Normal

If you’re seeing dark brown or light pink blood, that’s perfectly normal if you’re spotting. Red blood is a sign of menstruation, or complications with a pregnancy.

Note: If you’re pregnant and seeing red blood or spotting for more than a day or two, consult with your doctor right away.

2. Spotting is Typically Light

Spotting is typically light. In some cases, it may literally be a few spots of blood. In other cases, just a small amount of blood is shed. For most women, spotting is so light, not even a panty liner is required.

Some women experience spotting just before their period, in which case the spotting will gradually progress into full flow bleeding.

3. It May Be a Sign of Implantation

what is spotting

Some women experience spotting during implantation. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, some bleeding may occur. The flow is typically very light, and the blood is pink or brown.

If you have been having unprotected sex, your spotting may be a sign of pregnancy. Because implantation occurs shortly after conception, you will need to wait until the day after your missed period to test for pregnancy. On the other hand, if you’re spotting just before your period, there’s a good chance that this is just a sign that your period is on its way.

[Read more about Sex]

4. Spotting On and Off May be a Sign of Pregnancy

In the early stages of pregnancy, many women experience spotting on and off. For some, spotting can last until several weeks into the pregnancy.

If you suspect you might be pregnant, see your doctor right away to confirm the pregnancy and discuss the spotting you’re experiencing. Light red or brown blood is often considered normal, but anything heavier than very light spotting is cause for concern if you’re pregnant.

5. Spotting Can Happen Mid-Cycle or During Ovulation

Ovulation Day mark on calendar vector illustration.Spotting can sometimes occur in the middle of your cycle or during ovulation.

Ovulatory bleeding is typically dark brown in color, light and lasts no more than 2-3 days. Mid-cycle bleeding can sometimes occur when women are on birth control and is the body’s response to having lower-than-normal levels of hormones.

Most women will experience spotting from time to time. If it occurs just before your period and you experience other PMS symptoms, the spotting is likely just a sign that your period is coming. Spotting may also be a sign of implantation bleeding or early pregnancy, so see your doctor as soon as possible if your period does not start or you suspect you might be pregnant.

21 COMMENTS

  1. had my period last in November and had unprotected sex but took dome pills already hen in mid December thought I had my periods because I was bleeding lightly not a usual period bleeding ,since then up to date havnt see my periods and been feeling some on and off headaches and little fatigue,, pliz help

  2. I had sex on 27th of February 2017 and it now the 9th of march 2017 and I think I pregnant and got spotting but not quite sure it was pink in colour and brown at the start but it still in a small amount and my period not due on the 23th of march 2017 and I have sytomyms of pregnancy could I be pregnant

  3. I had unprotected sex about 2 weeks ago, I was late 3 days on my period, then I got it the 4th day on my birth control. I only had my period for a day and a half, does this mean I am pregnant?

  4. I went swimming last may 2 during my 2nd day of my period which most of the time last 3 to 4days ..but after I went swimming my period stopped then this 2nd day of june I supposed to have my period but Im experiencing spotting for almost a week.its started last monday ?? am i sick?

  5. I had unprotected sex June 15 then June 16 I took a contraceptive pill then June 22 me and my boyfriend were messing around and later I went to the restroom and I noticed bleeding and I thought he might have hurt me but then I kept bleeding June 23rd and I’ve been feeling like it’s my period is this normal?

  6. I spotted a very little bit a few days before my period was supposed to start…then nothing…and now I’m spotting a little again a week later…and I have been having unprotected sex

  7. hi, im a first time pregnant ( if that what is it) i had this dark brown spotting for 2 days and cramping, frequent headache and dizziness every now and then..is that sign that im pregnant?

  8. I have sex with my man and we used a condom. It was on the 14th of September. On the 15th September I had my period. Then on the 18th September the last day of my period, I went to clinic to have my first shot of petogen for prevention, since I took the shot I have been spotting light up until today” 25/09/2017 “. I have slept with my man since. Is this normal??

  9. I’ve very small breasts and had m/caragige 29 july17 got period 25 /8for near 7 days usually 5 days tops I knew I was pregnant very early pregencey loss like not even 1 Mth now I got bleeding 21/9 was heavyish 2daus last 2 days LIGHT and PINK had black dots and very small cloths I don’t want take test as if it’s another m/c I’d rather be live it my period yet symptoms r not as strong like smell in things stronger I do pee more and breasts still sore I want a baby but scared of disappointment I had sex least 4 ta 5 times it OVULATION and then some after ibfelt Trish come on last time I had sex but it STOPED Wat sue I do?????

  10. I had my period sept 24 to the 28th and now it oct 14th and i was bleeding yesterday on the 13th and i ovulate tomorrow on the 15th of Oct could i be pregnant? And im still light bleeding?

  11. Hi! I have a question. My last menstruation was last Sept and I never had my period since then. Tried to use pregnancy test 3x and all the results are positive. But since Monday I have light bleeding or should I say spotting but it’s been 6days already I still have some. Is it normal? Can anyone help with this coz I’m scared. Thanks

  12. If I had sex and it was protected but he almost did it again without a condom but it didn’t happen should I be worried about being pregnant

  13. I had my IUD removed on December 19th and before that I started to feel strange and my Partner as well He told me You’re pregnant, am like No way I have a IUD on So it’s no way. So I went to see the OB remove my IUD and I bleed very light the day after have it removed for about 4 days the normal my period last. Then after my period finish 7 days later I started to feel nauseous More tired sleeping I don’t like smells of some food or perfume this time is more intense. My next period suppose to arrived on January 17th but Nothing, the 19th I have some crampings and then gone do the 20th I went to see my OB had a Pregnancy test and is Negative. So she told me that I might’ve be pregnant and am early for the urine test to detect the HcP I think So She sent me to do a blood test and today is the 26th and she haven’t call me yet to confirm if I am or Not, today am like 9 days Late so I dicided to do a Homemade pregnancy test with URINE and Oil and come out Positive. Today I experience very light pain in my Left side of my abdominal the same feeling with my first baby. Last night I couldn’t sleep going to pee a lot my back hurts also experience light aches feel tired my Son have change with me my appetite have change as well in the middle of the night I imagine some kind of foods I drink lot of water My nipples inching with little pain and my Breast are tense that I don’t want to wear a Bra. I can’t sleep at all. Everything is so different to my first pregnancy that’s right am so confused. Does anyone have experience this before?

  14. So my highest ovulation day was January 8th 2018. I had unprotected sex that day. And then about 2 weeks later I started to feel really tired, my lower back is hurting. Well I was 11 days late on my period today was 12 days late. But I felt like I was bleeding. I was but it was a light color and had dots. What does this mean?

  15. Hi everyone I had my periods on the 7th April 2018 and I was done on the 11th the following week ,and I started spotting on Saturday 19th May 2018 I took two pregnancy tests and they both negative , What does this mean? please help.

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