Generally, your period arriving is a pretty solid indication you aren’t pregnant, but generally is not always. Bleeding during pregnancy which can be mistaken for a period while pregnant is possible– most especially in the first cycle after conception. How?
Note: This article covers bleeding that looks like a period while pregnant in very early pregnancy, typically before pregnancy is confirmed. You can find more causes of bleeding during pregnancy in the first trimester here and the second and third trimester here.
Conception that occurs close to menstruation or low progesterone levels may cause what looks like a period while pregnant:
Implantation bleeding may be mistaken for a period while pregnant:
Many women also mistake implantation bleeding for a period while pregnant. If you followed the same example above, and usually had a light period, and you had spotting on day 23, you may think that was your period simply a day or two early. Implantation bleeding varies from woman to woman, but a heavy flow is almost never implantation bleeding. You can read a full article on telling the difference here.
Sporadic bleeding during pregnancy may be mistaken for a period while pregnant:
Finally, numerous other causes can result in bleeding during pregnancy. I personally have known quite a few women who experienced periodic bleeding for the first several months of their pregnancy that seemed like a period while pregnant. Some examples of causes of bleeding during pregnancy that may be mistaken for a period while pregnant include cervical changes, sex, placenta problems, carrying multiples, and infection. You can read about these in more detail in the posts link at the beginning of this article for bleeding during a confirmed pregnancy. In some cases, no reason is found and nothing is abnormal or wrong at all.
It’s important to understand that bleeding doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t pregnant, but then it’s usually a pretty good indication that you aren’t. Pay attention to your body, trust your instinct, and when in doubt, act pregnant until you’re sure you aren’t.
Did you experience bleeding during your pregnancy or did you have bleeding and think you were pregnant, but weren’t? We want to hear your story. We have a page set up for them here.
Note: The extensive comment base on this article led me to write its sister articles, “Missed Period Negative Pregnancy Test Explanation” , “Late period, missed period, irregular period, Oh, Why!?,” “When to Take a Pregnancy Test,” and “Am I Pregnant? Calculating Your Chances of Pregnancy” which offer other explanations for irregular bleeding or missed periods in-depth and may help you assess whether or not you could be pregnant.
I do my best to respond to comments within 24 hours. All comments are moderated, so I reply to each and every one as I approve them, but please remember, I am not a doctor nor a replacement for medical care. I cannot tell you if you are or are not pregnant over the Internet and I cannot diagnose you over the Internet either. I do have a medical background (medical assisting) and am a mother of four who struggled with infertility as well as multiple miscarriages, but I am not a doctor nor claim to be one.