Common Period Problems
Your top questions about irregular menstrual cycles answered
Could I Be Pregnant?
My period isn’t late yet, but I really feel like I’m pregnant. Am I crazy? How early can I do a home pregnancy test?
Early pregnancy often feels just like a period about to start, but some women notice the effects of the early rise in hCG levels, which can result in breast tenderness. A pregnancy test is the best way to determine if you are pregnant, and a blood test is the most accurate, particularly in early pregnancy. Home tests are accurate when used according to package instructions, usually not until the first day of your missed period. Some brands now offer results up to five days sooner, although with decreased accuracy. (Read more about the early signs of pregnancy.)
My periods are usually very regular, but the last one was late. Could that mean I was pregnant and miscarried?
It is possible. Ten to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, including many pregnancies that women aren’t even aware of because they occur very early. You would not experience more cramping with an early miscarriage, and the only way to know that you were pregnant and miscarried would be with a blood test. Having a late period one or two times a year is in fact normal and often due to stress, travel, exercise, or illness.
Is it possible to have a normal period after conception?
After conception, some people have a small amount of spotting around the time of their period called implantation bleeding, but it is not like a normal period. Spotting is very light bleeding (usually brown) and lasts only one to two days. This is different from a period which lasts four to five days and is heavier in flow. Women may spot during the first trimester, but you cannot be pregnant and get a true period.
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