Implantation Cramping: How Long Does it Last? When Should I Worry?

Are you having cramps and wondering if it’s just your period coming soon? Have you been trying to conceive and not sure what implantation feels like?

Implantation cramps are a healthy part of pregnancy and can often be one of the first signs.

In this post, we will discuss what implantation cramps are and how to tell the difference between menstrual and implantation cramps. We’ll also talk about what you can do for the pain, and when you should be concerned.


What Are Implantation Cramps?

For some women, implantation cramps are one of the first signs they have conceived. When conception occurs, an egg is fertilized by the sperm in one of the fallopian tubes. Cells start to divide and multiply rapidly within 24 hours.

The fertilized egg remains in the fallopian tube for about three to four days before it starts slowly moving down the tube to the uterus and becomes a blastocyst.

Once the blastocyst reaches the uterus, it implants into the uterine lining. This process is known as implantation and can often cause what are called implantation cramps. These are usually mild and can be accompanied by implantation bleeding, or light spotting (source).

Take Note

However, not all women will experience implantation cramps and bleeding. Some women are lucky enough not to have any cramping during early pregnancy.

How Long Do Implantation Cramps Last?

The blastocyst implants into the wall of your uterus in a short time. This process typically happens anywhere from 8-12 days following ovulation.

Take Note

Implantation cramps are usually minor and typically last just one to three days until the implantation process is complete (source).

Menstrual Vs. Implantation Cramps

Implantation cramps can happen around the same time as your menstrual cycle, so it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between PMS cramps and implantation. However, there are a few differences if you pay close attention to your symptoms.

  • The intensity of cramps: Notice how heavy your cramps are. Implantation cramps are mild, intermittent, and feel like a pulling/tugging sensation. Whereas, menstrual cramps tend to be more intense and gradual for most women.
  • Duration of cramps: Implantation cramps only last one to three days until implantation is complete. If you’re experiencing pains for longer than three days, then they are most likely PMS related.
  • Accompanied implanted bleeding: Implantation cramps are often accompanied by implantation bleeding. If you ’re spotting and aren’t normally about to have your period, you could be having implantation cramps. Implantation bleeding is also much lighter or even brown in color, whereas PMS bleeding is typically bright red.

Implantation and early pregnancy symptoms typically occur around the same time, so watch out for pregnancy signs usually not associated with PMS, such as:

Likewise, look out for PMS signs not typical of early pregnancy, such as backaches and depression. Keeping track of your cycle on the calendar will also give you a better idea if you’re dealing with menstrual cramps or possible implantation cramps.

If you’re still unsure, you can always take a home pregnancy test for a more definitive answer. Some home pregnancy tests claim to be able to detect a pregnancy as early as five to seven days after conception. However, waiting until one week after you would typically have your period will give you the most accurate answer.

Remember that a positive pregnancy test will only happen after implantation occurs because the early “placenta” must be in place in order to make pregnancy hormones. The test won’t be positive until after this placenta has been established in implantation or after the bleeding has occurred.
Headshot of Christine, Traxler, MD, BS

Editor's Note:

Christine Traxler, MD, BS
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Relief From Implantation Cramps

Implantation cramps can cause some discomfort, but remember they only last about one to three days. These cramps should be minor enough that you shouldn’t have to take any pain medication. If you do need some relief from implantation cramps, try a few of these techniques:

  • Try to relax: Stress only causes even more tension and discomfort. So try to relax; sit back and prop your feet up to help the pain pass. You could also engage in some relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing.
  • Take a warm bath: A warm bath will also help you relax and ease the tension. The warm water relaxes the ligaments and muscles of the uterus, relieving your cramps.
  • Hot compress: As an alternative to a warm bath, place a hot compress on your problem areas.
  • Get a massage: Have your partner give you a nice back massage or find a masseuse in your area trained in prenatal massage.
  • Stay hydrated: Getting plenty of fluids will go a long way in easing and preventing any types of cramps.
  • Change positions: Simply switching positions may do the trick.
  • Prenatal yoga: Prenatal yoga will put you in a relaxed state of mind, get your blood flowing, and alleviate your pain.

When To Be Concerned

Cramping during early pregnancy is usually normal, but in some cases, it can indicate a serious problem.

Take Note

If you are experiencing persistent or severe cramping with a positive pregnancy test, see your OB/GYN or midwife as soon as possible.

It may just be gas or your uterus growing, but it may also be a sign of a miscarriage, placental abruption, ovarian cyst, urinary tract infection, or an ectopic pregnancy (source).

You should also call your doctor if your cramps always seem to be on one side of your lower abdomen (whether severe or not), as this is often a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can rupture the fallopian tube, resulting in dangerous internal bleeding (source).

Other Cramps Throughout Pregnancy

Take Note

In most cases, minor, intermittent cramps are part of pregnancy.

Your body is going through a lot of changes to accommodate your growing baby. When your uterus starts expanding, the ligaments and muscles supporting it will stretch and this may result in some cramping. It will likely be more noticeable when you sneeze, cough, or change positions.

During the second trimester, you might begin to notice cramps caused by round ligament pain. The round ligament is a muscle in your lower abdomen which supports your uterus. When this muscle stretches, you may feel a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache in your lower abdomen.

Other causes of minor cramping during pregnancy include gas and bloating, constipation, and sexual intercourse (source).


The Lowdown On Implantation Cramping

Implantation cramps are one of the first signs of pregnancy for some women. They can occur anywhere from 8-12 days following ovulation when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining.

Implantation cramps are mild and only last about one to three days. They may also be accompanied by light bleeding or spotting known as implantation bleeding. The pain shouldn’t be too bothersome, but if you need some relief, try relaxing, taking a warm bath, getting a massage, and staying hydrated.

Cramping during early pregnancy is typically nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’re experiencing severe or persistent cramps or cramps with heavy bleeding, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. These are possibly signs of an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placental abruption, or an ovarian cyst.

Did you experience implantation cramps with any of your pregnancies? Share with us in the comments how you knew they were implantation cramps and how long they lasted. Feel free to share this post with all of your expecting mama friends.

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76 Reader Comments

  1. Kerry

    Yes with most of my pregnancies. I always started around 8 DPO backache cramps until 11 DPO then stopped. I had no spotting with it just persistent backache cramps were minor.

    • Ronnesha Mckinney

      My last period was August 18th or 19th of this year. I had unprotected sex about a week or so later, and I just started mild cramping in my lower left pelvic area. It’s on and off and goes from my middle area to my lower left pelvic area. Can I be pregnant? I had a baby girl August of last year.

      • Jenny Silverstone

        Getting pregnant a week after your period can happen, although it is rare to ovulate that early. I would wait a few days and take a test though to be sure. Have any other mama’s ovulated early and gotten pregnant?

        • Can I have implantation cramping without bleeding ?

          • Team Mom Loves Best

            Hi Debby. Yes, this is possible 🙂

  2. Mandy

    I was supposed to get my depo round February and just today I started cramping spotting pink then brown now it’s gone

  3. mikateko

    I am experiencing the cramps but no bleeding at all..most special in the early morning and late evening. The pain is mild to severe not yet done pregnancy test..not sure if I’m pregnant.

    • Were you pregnant?

    • Same here cramping but no bleeding

  4. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about 3 weeks. My boobs are so sore I’m nauseous off and on. I’ve taken a few pregnancy tests and all negative. I ended up having blood work done at my Drs, and they said it was negative to try back in a week. I still haven’t had my period, I missed last month, so I can’t remember the exact one from my last, could I be pregnant and it’s just too early? I’m praying I am! The wait is killing me.

  5. I have missed my period for 2 days now, and the cramps started today, not sure yet whether I’m pregnant or not.

  6. I’ve had mild and dull cramping on both sides of my uterus, but it seems to be more on my left side. I ovulated on the 12th; however, when I was pregnant with my first child, I ovulated only a couple days after my period. So I suppose it can vary.

    I started spotting, and three days later I started having symptoms. My breasts are sore, and I’ve been nauseous. I feel like I’m pregnant, but I’m not sure. What do you think?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Those do sound like signs that could point to you being pregnant. Have you taken a test yet? I can’t wait to hear your results!

  7. Anna Ndlovu

    I’ve been having stomach cramps for about two weeks now. But I’m not really sure if they are for pregnancy or implantation.

  8. Alicia lavery

    My period is not due for five days. I have started bleeding and having light cramps that are different from my regular period. Could this be implantation bleeding?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Alicia, it could be implantation bleeding, but it could also be your period coming early. There’s always a chance that you ovulated early. I would wait a few days and take a pregnancy test. Have you had any other symptoms?

      • Rachael

        Hi Jenny, my period is due in ten days. I started spotting dark blood two days ago, but now it is has stopped. I have been experiencing constipation and mild cramping though. Could I be pregnant?

        • Jenny Silverstone

          Hi Rachael, it does sound like it could be implantation bleeding. The only way to know is to take a pregnancy test. I’d try to hold off and take one as close to your period as you can. That way you get the most accurate results. Good luck!

  9. Josephine

    I tested positive and later started having cramps along with light and watery bleeding. I went in for a pelvic scan, and it showed an empty sac. Is this a sign of implantation, or is this an ectopic pregnancy?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      If you had a pelvic exam, they would have been able to see if the sac was in your uterus or fallopian tubes, so I would assume that it is not ectopic. The chances are that you might not be far enough along in your pregnancy to see anything inside of the sac though. What did your doctor say?

  10. Krystle

    My partner and I just started trying for a baby, and it’s almost time for my period. I haven’t, but I have been feeling this weird cramp that I’ve never felt before. It feels like the description of ‘tugging or pulling’ like someone is pulling or scratching from my inner stomach outwards. I’m planning on taking a pregnancy test tomorrow, could this be implantation cramping?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      This does sound like it could be implantation cramping. When is your period due? If it is implantation cramping, it might take several days before the results would show positive on a test. Good luck!

  11. My period is two days late, but I started having cramps three days before it should have started. The pains have continued for more than five days now. Could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      If your period is late being pregnant could be a possibility. It’s also possible that your period is delayed for another reason. Have you taken a pregnancy test yet?

  12. princess

    I had a positive pregnancy test, but I’ve been cramping for the past two weeks. Sometimes it’s mild, sometimes it’s severe. What does this mean?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hello,
      Cramping during pregnancy can be very normal. It can happen as your uterus starts to expand, it can be round ligament pain in your second trimester, etc. I would not worry unless you are experiencing bleeding or dizziness accompanied with the cramps. Have you spoken to your doctor about the issue?

      Best,
      Jenny

  13. Jennifer Guzman

    We’ve been trying to get pregnant now for a couple months. Today I have milky white discharge and a little cramping, but my period isn’t supposed to come until the 14th. Could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Jennifer,

      It depends. These could be early signs, but it’s really early to tell. If you just ovulated a day or two ago it would be too early for implantation cramps though. I have, however, experienced cramping while ovulating. So it could also be that.

      I see you posted this a few weeks ago, did you end up pregnant? I would love to hear if you ended up having any other symptoms.

      Best,
      Jenny

  14. Diane

    I am 4 days late for my period. I have light cramps on and off and a backache, but more so when I lay a certain way. I have not spotted at all. I’m waiting until Saturday (a week) to test to see if I am pregnant.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Diane, I recommend waiting a few days and testing again. Some women can take longer to build up the HCG hormone than others. There are also some tests that are less sensitive than other tests. Which test did you use?

  15. Kelly

    The first day of my last period was 7/09/18. I started to experience dizziness, nauseous and vomiting, cramping on 07/30/18 up until now 08/11/18. Now I’m experiencing hip pain and backache. My period, which was supposed to start 2 days ago, did not come. So I took a pregnancy test but it came out “Not Pregnante” ???? But the weird thing is that all of my symptoms have subsided except I still feel dizziness and have a backache.

    I’m not so sure if I should wait for one more week to take another test or to see my doctor for a blood test??

    Maybe I did not have enough HCG? My husband and I had been trying for a year now so I’m hoping to get a positive result soon. ❤️

    Maybe it wasn’t “implantation” at all…????????????

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Kelly,

      It could be possible that you are pregnant, it could also be that your period is late for another reason such as stress. I recommend waiting a few days and testing again. If it’s negative and your period hasn’t shown up I would call your doctor. Are experiencing any other symptoms? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

      Best,
      Jenny

  16. claire

    Hi, I’m new to this and I have a question. Can you conceive 13 days before you menstruate and still menstruate? My period normally lasts 4 days but this time it only lasted 2 days. The 1st day was heavy but the 2nd day it went from mild to non-existent. Could that be an indication of pregnancy?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Claire,

      It is possible to have some bleeding during pregnancy. Implantation can have bleeding occur with it and can happen anywhere from 8-12 days after ovulation. This can make it seem like your period has come. It should not, however, be as heavy as a normal period.

      Have you taken a pregnancy test? If you have and it is negative I recommend waiting a few days and testing again. There is, unfortunately, no way to know 100% sure unless your doctor does a blood test or an ultrasound.

      Best,
      Jenny

  17. Antoinette

    I’m about six days late for my period. I’m cramping like crazy and my boobs are sore. I also feel nauseous after I eat. What could this possibly mean?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hello,

      These symptoms could mean you are pregnant, but sometimes you can have symptoms and not be pregnant. There can be months that your period is late due to ovulating late, stress, etc. Have you taken a test yet?

      Best,
      Jenny

  18. ELIZABETH

    I ovulated last Wednesday and had unprotected sex the day before. I started experiencing pulling pains on my left abdomen for 1-2 this past weekend, and now I am having a weird taste and having a hard time sleeping because of strange dreams.

    My period is due in 8 days, am I overreacting or could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      It is definitely possible to get pregnant by having unprotected sex the day before you ovulate. Have you taken a test yet? I hope you get the results that you want.

  19. Charlene Brown

    Hello, I’ve had cramping and backache for almost two days accompanied by a creamy discharge. I woke up today, and it was gone, and my period is due in 9 days. Did I experience implantation cramping?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      It could have been implantation cramping, but there is no real way to know, unfortunately. I would wait until closer to your period and take a test. Are you experiencing any other symptoms?

  20. Sandra

    I ovulated on the 13th of August, which was ten days ago. I have been feeling nauseous, dizzy, and tired. Could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      These could all be signs of pregnancy, but it is still very early for symptoms to appear. Have you taken an early pregnancy test? I recommend taking an over the counter pregnancy test; if it is negative, you can wait a few days and test again. Good luck!

  21. Nica

    I have been cramping, having sinus issues, sore breasts, and some twinges. I feel like I’m having more discharge as well and my period is due to come in about four days. I took a test today and the results were negative. What could this be?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Don’t count yourself out yet. Four days before your period is due is still pretty early to get accurate results. I recommend waiting a few days and testing again. It might just be that yu do not have enough HCG built up in your body for the test to detect it yet. What kind of test did you take?

  22. Agape Eunice

    I have been cramping and have had a backache for the past four days, yet my period should not start for another week. Could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      These both could be signs of pregnancy, but there is no way to really know unless you take a test. It could be a little early to test now, so if you get a negative I recommend testing again in a few days.

  23. Hi, my partner and I are undergoing fertility treatments. Because of the hormones, the nurse said it is a definite that my period will come between 12 and 14 days after insemination if I am not pregnant. Today is day ten and what I thought was my period arrived this morning. I had mild cramping and pale pink discharge when I wiped but nothing on the pad. The bleeding has not increased over the course of the day.

    The cramps seem to alternate from one side to the other and have been pretty consistent. I spoke to the fertility nurse today, and she has told me to keep an eye on the bleeding as she thinks it might be implantation as my period shouldn’t have arrived yet. My Partner and I have been trying for 18 months, so we have our fingers crossed for a BFP!!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Nat,

      I’m keeping my fingers (and toes!) cross that this is implantation bleeding. Good luck!

  24. Kelly

    I still have two weeks before my next cycle. However, over the last week, I have started feeling nauseous and cramping on one side of my lower abdomen. It’s a constant pain that doesn’t seem to go away. Is this a normal sign of pregnancy?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Both nausea and cramping can be signs of pregnancy, but it would be pretty rare to be pregnant already when your period is still two weeks away. Still, if you feel you might be pregnant I recommend taking a test. Implantation cramping should only last 1-3 days though, so if you are cramping for longer than that you might want to consider talking to your doctor.

  25. Ajwa

    My husband & I have been actively trying to get pregnant for over a year now. We’ve had so many ups and downs, I’ve started to get worried. My period is three days late now. I’ve had some cramping, but no bleeding and my breast have been sore for about two weeks now. Could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hello, if your period is late and you are experiencing symptoms you could be pregnant. Have you taken a test yet? I hope you get positive results, good luck!

  26. rosabela

    Hi Jenny.

    The first day of my last period was August 19th, and it lasted for four days. I had sex on September 1st and ovulated September 2nd. My period was due on September 16, but it did not come. I had cramping up until yesterday, and I took a test last night that came back with a faint positive. This morning I took another test, and it was negative. I’m so disappointed, could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hello,

      Did you use the same brand for both tests? Some brands are more sensitive than others. I would wait a few days and test again, that way you give the HCG hormone more time to build up in your system. Good luck!

  27. yaya

    I’ve been on birth control but decided to get off of it. I experienced bleeding for several days due to the change of hormones, and I had sex with my partner during that time. Since then I have been so constipated, and have had gas and now am seeing spotting again but my period should not start until the 23rd. What is going on, could I be pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      When you get off of birth control it can take several months for your body to regulate itself, especially if you have been on birth control for a long time. With that said, if you have had unprotected sex there is always a chance that you could be pregnant. Have you taken a pregnancy test yet?

  28. Jane

    Hi, my last period began on 10/08 and ended on the 13th. My boyfriend and I had unprotected sex on the 21st, and I’m not sure if, or when, I might have ovulated.

    Today I started feeling some mild cramps in my lower abdomen and a couple of sharp tinges of pain that quickly went away. Could this be implantation or is it too early to tell? My period is set to start in another ten days.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hello,

      It would be early for this to be implantation pain, but it is possible. I recommend waiting a week or so and taking a test to see. Are you experiencing any other symptoms?

  29. Nicole

    My last period was 30th, and I had intercourse on the 9th and 12th. Since then I’ve started to feel light cramping and have needed to urinate constantly, but I haven’t had any bleeding. Is it possible that I am pregnant? I’m so confused.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Nicole, was your last period on the 30th of October or September? If it were October, it would be too early to tell if this was implantation cramping or not I think. If it was in September, and you have already missed your period, then I would say that it is definitely a possibility.

  30. Faith

    My period is supposed to come in six days, but I was surprised to see blood this morning instead. I’ve also been urinating more often and I’m always cold and tired. I’ve also been sleeping a lot more than usual. Could I be pregnant?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Faith!

      Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling great. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re pregnant, we would suggest you try a home pregnancy test. Please let us know how it goes, and we wish you all the best! Thanks for reading 🙂

  31. hellen

    Hello Jenny, I missed my period 6 days ago and I thought I was pregnant. But today I saw some bleeding and other symptoms of pregnancy like cramping and sore breasts. I took a test, but the result was negative. What should I do now? I’m not sure what to think.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Hellen, thanks so much for reading. It might be implantation bleeding or just your body preparing for your period. Perhaps wait a while and test again if you don’t get your period? Let us know how it goes, please.

  32. Tiana

    Hi, my boyfriend and I tried to have sex but it didn’t work out. He did not penetrate at all. That was the day before I ovulated–29th of December. I’m now having cramps that are more severe than menstrual cramps and I have been having these for about 7 days. (Cramps started on the 3rd of January.) Could I be pregnant or is this just an illness? The cramps are painful at times and mild at other times. I really don’t want to be pregnant!!

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Tiana! We’re sorry to hear that you’re under so much pressure. We’d recommend a home pregnancy test kit just to make sure. Please let us know what happens. We wish you all the best!

  33. Kins

    My boyfriend and I had unprotected sex on 25th, and on 29th, my period came. It lasted for 4 days and after that, I started feeling nauseous without vomiting. Then I went to the hospital the doc took a urine and blood pregnancy test. The urine test was negative and the blood test showed a weak positive. After a week, we took the same test and had the same results–weak positive for blood and negative for urine. I had a scan and nothing showed up. I was told to try again in two weeks time.

    I now see blood after I wiped. It’s been that way for two days now. The symptoms are now also gone. I don’t feel sick now but still, sometimes I have mild cramps in the abdomen. Could it be pregnancy? I can’t keep waiting any longer

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Kins, your situation sounds like a rollercoaster of emotions. We’re sorry to hear about all the stress. Our advice would be to see another doctor as your situation seems more complex than a case of pregnant or not. Please let us know how it all goes. All the best!

  34. Julie

    Hi, I went through IVF and today is my 6th day post transfer. I transferred a day-3 embryo. I was experiencing implantation symptoms for the past two days, up until last night. Last night, my nipples (not breasts) were very tender. Then I got into a big argument with my husband. I could feel the adrenaline run through my body, sustaining itself for a good hour. This morning when I woke, I no longer feel the cramping I did the last two days, and my nipples are feeling normal again. I was wondering, can the high level of stress stop/prevent implantation? Is nipple sensitivity any sign of ovulation/pregnancy? And if it is, is the symptom suppose to continue for some time, or does it only lasts briefly? I’m pretty sure it was implantation cramps that I felt for the past 2 days; it feels different than PMS.

    Thank you.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Julie, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. While we can’t answer all of your questions, we can say that implantation cramps are usually minor and typically last just one to three days until the implantation process is complete. We would advise you to take your other concerns to your doctor just to be sure. And Julie, we wish you all the best with IVF. We hope you hear some good news soon! 🙂

  35. Sharon

    My period is three days late, but I have been feeling cramps for the whole week. I’m too weak and feeling sick–my breasts have also been sore and sensitive for two weeks now. Could I be pregnant?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Sharon, thanks for reading. It’s certainly possible that you’re pregnant, but you may also be just about to have a period. The best thing to do right now would probably be taking a pregnancy test. Please let us know how it goes. All the best! 🙂

  36. Marissa

    We decided to try for a baby 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, I’ve never tracked my period 🤦🏾‍♀️. We had sex 2.5 weeks after my last period. I’m feeling light cramping today and was yesterday as well. No blood. But I always feel that a day or so before my period starts. I can’t tell if its implantation or just regular cramps. I have no other pregnancy symptoms. If I don’t start bleeding tomorrow I’m going to take a test the day after. Do you think it’s too soon for a test to be accurate??

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Marissa! That’s big news, you trying for a baby 🙂 We wish you all the best. Many kits can detect pregnancies at 3 weeks, so you should be able to test. Let us know how it goes! 🙂

  37. Hi, my period was supposed to start on Friday, the 19th based on my calendar. My last period was on the 23rd last month. I have been having cramps like period pain since last week, including back pain and during the week of my expected period, I had frequent headache and tiredness but up till now, I haven’t had my period. So, I took a HPT this morning, and it came out negative. What do you advise I do?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Ola, thanks for reading. Your period may just be late, so you could try waiting another week. If it’s not here by next week, take another pregnancy test and see how it goes. We’ll be crossing our fingers for you 🙂

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