Am I Pregnant? Calculate Your Chances of Being Pregnant with Quiz

Let’s start out by getting this out of the way, no one can tell you whether you are or are not pregnant over the Internet. I can’t. A quiz can’t. Scrutinizing timing and symptoms can’t. The only way to confirm a pregnancy is in person via examination, urine, or blood testing. Regardless, I get a ton of comments asking, “could I be pregnant?,” “what are the chances of getting pregnant from….” or “am I pregnant?” So, that leaves us at what can I tell you? I mean I’ve responded to 1,000+ comments on the subject, and I’ve had something to tell them all.

Not interested in explanations and just want a quick answer? Click to jump to the Pregnancy Chances Calculation: Am I Pregnant Quiz below.

 

Am I pregnant? How do you know if you’re pregnant?

The first thing to consider when calculating your chances of getting pregnant is Timing.

When was:

-Your last period
-The date of intercourse
If you know, the date of ovulation is also quite useful. You can find a full guide to pinpointing ovulation here.

Understanding when you can get pregnant helps a great deal in figuring out your chances of pregnancy. It is possible to become pregnant from intercourse at any time if you happen to be ovulating or ovulate while semen is still viable, but the chances are significantly higher during your fertile period. When is that? For most women, ovulation lands around mid-cycle.

am i pregnant quiz chances of pregnancy

So, if your period is on average 28 days, ovulation is likely around the 14th day with day 1 being the first day of period bleeding. Note I said most. Not all women ovulate mid-cycle, and ovulation does fluctuate slightly each cycle for some. You can help guess when you are ovulating by paying attention to vaginal discharge. When you are fertile it will become more plentiful and watery. At ovulation itself, you may see egg-white-like discharge, sort of like clear snot (I know lovely imagery here.) There are also ovulation test strips you can buy if you are ttc, and basal body temping can also be a huge help.

Keep in mind that the egg is most viable in the first 12 hours, and though unlikely, may survive up to 48 hours. Sperm is most viable within 48 hours, but can survive in the body for 5 or more days (studies differ on the subject).

Let’s consider some scenarios with that then.

Early intercourse: Can you get pregnant on your period?

The chances of getting pregnant are low with intercourse during your period, but not impossible—remember if there is intercourse, pregnancy is always possible.

How can you get pregnant on your period? Well, because sperm can survive beyond that ideal 48-hour window, if you ovulate on the early side it could still be around to catch the egg. It’s a scenario where the stars really have to align just right so to speak.

Ex/ 26 day cycle, 6 days active bleeding, early ovulation at day 10. Intercourse on CD (cycle day) 5 during your period, sperm can still be viable at 5+ days when the egg drops.

This, obviously, also applies to the question can you get pregnant right after your period as well, more so actually, because you are closer to mid-cycle.

Late intercourse: Can you get pregnant right before your period?

The chances of getting pregnant just before your period are lower, because while sperm can hang on quite some time in the vaginal canal, the egg is a bit more delicate. Most studies put viability at about 12 to 24 hours before it’s long gone. In this case, that means to become pregnant just before your period, you would need to ovulate quite late.

Ex/ 26 day cycle, Ovulation CD 22, Intercourse on CD 23, egg survives CD 22-23.

It would be nigh impossible to catch the following cycle’s egg this way, if you are wondering. Why? Even if intercourse was on CD 26 just before your period began, with a low probability 5-day survival, you would still be looking at CD 5 for ovulation, which is very, very early, and questionably biologically possible.

Both the above situations have a low chance of pregnancy, so what has a high chance of pregnancy?

Mid-cycle intercourse: poses the highest chances of getting pregnant

The closer to mid-cycle the intercourse is, the higher the chance of pregnancy. In general, because ovulation does fluctuate, anything after about CD 9 and about a week before the end of your cycle can be considered a fertile period.

Ex/ 26 day cycle: fertile period from CD 9 to CD 19. Peak (ovulation) probable at CD 12-14

It should be kept in mind that, on average, it takes a healthy couple 6 months to conceive, and it’s estimated that in a healthy couple under the age of 35, there is only a 25 percent chance of pregnancy with a single sexual act during a fertile time. Sex mid-cycle does not guarantee pregnancy, it just poses the highest chances of getting pregnant all cycle.

Side note, what if you don’t get periods?

Just because you aren’t having a menstrual period doesn’t necessarily mean you also aren’t ovulating. It’s entirely possible you just have very long cycles. Most women who don’t get periods do have occasional bleeding. Lack of menstruation can mean you aren’t ovulating or it can mean you just aren’t doing so regularly. Either way, this is something you should speak with a care provider about as it is often indicative of an underlying condition. If you’re ttc, that can greatly reduce your chances of getting pregnant.

Next, let’s talk about pregnancy symptoms.

I’m going to come right out and say you shouldn’t consider pregnancy symptoms at all in my opinion. They are irrelevant this early, but then, I do have a quiz on early symptoms of pregnancy here, so why the hypocrisy there? You will not have pregnancy symptoms before you are pregnant. Period. This falls back in to timing. After sperm meets egg, it takes 6 to 12 days for that fertilized egg to find its way to the uterus and implant. It takes another 48 hours on average for pregnancy hormones to become high enough to even start to be detectable—that’s 8 to 14 days after fertilization which could be up to 48 hours after ovulation. Until that egg implants, you aren’t pregnant. There are no pregnancy hormones, your symptoms aren’t pregnancy related. I have a pregnancy symptom quiz, yes, but with big warnings all over it that it applies after a missed period (which for most is about 14 days after ovulation).

You may now be thinking to yourself, puh, this lady don’t know Jack or his sister Sally’s ovaries, because I’ve had  pregnancy symptoms before a missed period before. The thing is one of the major players in all those fun pregnancy side effects is progesterone, and progesterone is actually present in the body before pregnancy. Its production is super-charged by ovulation, and its purpose is to maintain a pregnancy. So, if you don’t get pregnant, it drops, and you get a period. If you do, it continues to rise. A high progesterone cycle will mimic the symptoms of pregnancy from nausea to gas.

Down to the details….

Next, look at the specifics. There are some common situations that decrease fertility and reduce the chances of getting pregnant even if it’s mid-cycle.

I was on birth control when we had sex, can I be pregnant?

No method of birth control outside of not having sex offers 100-percent protection. Most forms are pretty dependable if carried out properly, we’re talking in the 90ish percentile, but even if there was a condom or birth control, it is still possible to become pregnant, the chance is just very small.

What if the condom fell off, broke, or came off inside of me? Am I pregnant?

Condoms break, slip off, and sometimes even come off inside of women. In all the above cases, it is possible sperm escaped and pregnancy could occur. Plan-B or the morning after pill are usually a good idea in this circumstance, as well, the chances of getting pregnant are a lot higher than if the condom had stayed on.

He pre-ejaculated without protection, can that cause pregnancy?

Yes. Precum (the liquid that sometimes precedes a true ejaculation) does sometimes contain sperm and can result in pregnancy. A man has no control over pre-ejaculation. This is why the pull-out method of birth control can fail and a condom should not just be used for ejaculation but also during the entire sexual act if condoms are your primary source of birth control.

The chances of getting pregnant with precum alone are less than 4 percent (you can read an in-depth look at the chances of pregnancy from precum here).

Can I get pregnant from masturbation with another, anal sex, or dry humping?

In these types of situations, what matters is if there was semen involved and if it touched your vagina. Even if there is no penetration involved in the sex, if semen comes in contact with your vagina on fingers or any other object, pregnancy can occur. The chances in this case, are again, drastically decreased, if clothing was involved the chance of pregnancy is even lower, nigh on nonexistent, but not impossible. If there was no semen or precum, there is no chance of pregnancy.

We had sex in water, am I pregnant?

Sperm is destroyed rather quickly in water due to osmotic shock, so unless the ejaculation occurred within your body, chances are very slim you are pregnant. If the semen was inside of you, the sex being within water will have no effect on your chances of getting pregnant.

After you take all of the above into consideration, you should be able to calculate your own chances of getting pregnant– or being pregnant for that matter– to answer the question, ‘am I pregnant?” However, we’ve also created this convenient chances of pregnancy quiz to help you out. We’re fine tuning this still, so if your situation isn’t covered or you have any suggestions, comments, or tips, feel free to drop us a comment. We love hearing from our readers!

Am I Pregnant Quiz


This am I pregnant quiz is designed estimate your chances of pregnancy from no chance to high (not by percentage). The questions are conditional, meaning depending on your answers, your quiz length may vary from 1 to 9 questions. Keep in mind that a high or low chance of pregnancy doesn’t guarantee that there will or won’t be a pregnancy. Many couples trying to conceive try for months –or years even– and don’t become pregnant, and many other couples who are trying their best not to conceive (birth control, condoms, timing, all of it) do. Probability isn’t a promise, nor are these quiz results. This quiz is merely intended to provide a quick answer as to your likelihood of conception.

Have questions about your chances of getting pregnant? Still asking, “am I pregnant?” Drop me a comment or read in-depth about pregnancy probability statistics. Coming up next, when should you take a pregnancy test?

You may find riveting in the meantime:
Period While Pregnant: Can it Be?
Implantation Bleeding or Period: How do I know?
Late Period, Early Period, Irregular Period: Oh, why?
Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Spotting During Pregnancy: Bleeding in Pregnancy Explained

I remember the first time I experienced spotting during pregnancy. My heart dropped and my mind automatically jumped to the conclusion I was miscarrying, but spotting during pregnancy is actually quite common. In fact, around 25 percent of women, or 1 in 4, experience it during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Note: If you are not sure if you are pregnant, and curious if what you are seeing is your period, implantation bleeding, or pregnancy spotting, you may find this page on what looks like a period while pregnant more helpful. This post is more aimed at spotting after a confirmed pregnancy in the first trimester. Bleeding during pregnancy in later trimesters is also covered here.

Note: The probable causes of bleeding in pregnancy vary by when in your pregnancy it occurs. This article covers three major time periods as well as the prevalence and risk factors. You can click any of the anchors below to jump to the section for your applicable stage of pregnancy or desired topic.

-In the first trimester (month 1 – 3)

-In the second and third trimester

-How common is pregnancy bleeding? What are the risk factors?

-Citation section

-Comments

spotting during pregnancy early pregnancy bleeding

 

Bleeding during pregnancy in the first trimester (First month to about month 3):

Cervical changes

Blood flow to your cervix (the opening between your vaginal canal and uterus)  increases during pregnancy. This can make it more prone to minor damage. Things such as sex, dilation or position checks, PAP smears, and even excessive physical activity which may have triggered small contractions can cause spotting during pregnancy.

You should always mention any bleeding to your care provider, though short-term spotting is not often a cause for concern, especially if it was just once and after an activity that may have affected your cervix.

Progesterone dip

Around week 6 the placenta begins to take over production of progesterone. Sometimes during this time there is a slight and temporary progesterone dip that can cause light bleeding in pregnancy. This is the most common time for spotting during pregnancy to occur.

Infection

Infections that may cause inflammation to the cervix or vaginal canal can also cause spotting during pregnancy. These may include common infections, such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Spotting accompanied by foul smelling discharge, itching, skin rashes, or warts may be a good tip off this is what you’re dealing with, though not all infections present with symptoms.

Subchronic hematoma

A subchronic hematoma is a pocket of blood or blood clot within the uterine wall. This cause of spotting might sound a bit scary, but in most cases subchronic hematomas are minor and resolve on their own. Bleeding from a hematoma may be as light as spotting, or heavy with clots depending on severity. Ultrasound is usually used to confirm that severity.

Hematomas are another type of bleeding sometimes mistaken for a period, because they can cause heavier and repeated bleeds. These bleeds would still not be rhythmic occurring around the same time each month.

Ectopic pregnancy

Sadly, there are a few causes of spotting during pregnancy that are bad news. Ectopic pregnancy, where the baby has implanted somewhere outside of the uterus such as the fallopian tube, is one of those causes. Ectopic pregnancy can cause long-term fertility issues and even be life threatening, so the earlier it’s discovered the better. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy in addition to bleeding or spotting may include severe cramping, abdominal pain, light headedness, and a pregnancy test that is positive, then negative.

Molar Pregnancy

Keeping up with those bad news causes of spotting during pregnancy, molar pregnancy occurs when tissue (a tumor) begins to grow within the uterine wall causing a positive pregnancy test.

Molar pregnancies are rare and caused by chromosomal abnormalities within the fertilized egg. In addition to spotting, symptoms may include severe nausea or vomiting, high blood pressure, measuring large (rapid uterine growth), passing of cysts, occasionally pelvic pain or pressure, and very high hCG levels.

Miscarriage

Finally, spotting during pregnancy can indeed be caused by miscarriage, whether missed or impending. Keep in mind that in almost all cases, nothing was done to cause or can be done to prevent early miscarriage. The most common cause is chromosomal abnormality.

Bleeding during pregnancy in the second or third trimester

While bleeding during pregnancy during the first month of pregnancy, and throughout the first trimester even, is quite common and usually not cause for concern, most of the cases later in pregnancy are far more rare, but also often less benign unfortunately.

Placenta abruption

Placenta abruption occurs when the placenta partially or completely separates from your uterine wall before birth. This can deprive your baby of nutrients and oxygen. Minor abruptions can be managed with rest.

Uterine rupture

Uterine rupture is most common in women who have previously had a c-section and is rare even in that case. Uterine rupture happens most frequently during active labor and is life threatening to both mother and child. Given this, it requires emergency c-section.

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta partially or completely covers your cervix. Depending on the severity of placenta previa, treatment may range from bed rest at home without physical exertion or sex to emergency c-section.

Incompetent cervix:

An incompetent cervix is when your cervix is weak and attempts to open or does open before the end of your pregnancy. This condition is present throughout pregnancy but isn’t typically symptomatic (causing bleeding during pregnancy) until your baby becomes large enough to begin placing weight on your cervix. Incompetent cervix is one of the most common causes of second trimester losses. You may notice increased pressure, as if your baby has dropped into your pelvis, a change in discharge prior to spotting or bleeding, back pain, or contractions. An incompetent cervix can be stitched to prevent pre-term labor if caught early enough.

Miscarriage or Premature labor

Before 20 weeks, an attempted loss or loss is still referred to as a threatened miscarriage or miscarriage. After 20 weeks, it’s referred to as premature labor. All the above-mentioned causes of bleeding during pregnancy can also be a cause of miscarriage or preterm labor. Certain infections, abdominal trauma, and chromosomal abnormalities can also be to blame, but in other cases no cause is known. Take heart, however, in knowing the current rate of miscarriage after a heart beat is seen at 8 weeks is a mere 1 percent.

As mentioned earlier on this page, bleeding during pregnancy, any bleeding, no matter how slight, should be reported to your care provider. Light bleeding during pregnancy is very likely no cause for concern, heavy bleeding can be more serious, but either way, better safe than sorry.

How common is bleeding during pregnancy?

Surprisingly, I wouldn’t say there are a wealth of studies on this subject. From 1983 to 2019, 18 studies could be found (a full list of studies used in this piece including summaries and links can be found at the end of this page).

The observed rate of bleeding during pregnancy varied from 7 to 27 percent. As a result, 1 in 4 pregnant women is considered an accurate estimate by most sources for the prevalence of early pregnancy bleeding.

What type of bleeding is most common in pregnancy, and when it is most likely to occur?

Bleeding described as spotting or light accounts for roughly 90 percent of all pregnancy bleeding. Bleeding is most common in the first trimester, occurs only once, lasts one to two days, and is most frequently seen between weeks 5 and 8. This is suggested to be because around that time progesterone production is taken over by the placenta and a slight, temporary progesterone dip may result. It’s likely this common flow, duration, and timing is why so many women suspect they are still having or have had a light period.

bleeding during pregnancy spotting during pregnancy period while pregnant by week

Bleeding in pregnancy is sporadic, without a timely occurrence like a period, though episodes in the first trimester are also frequently seen around the time the next period after conception would have occurred.

What are the likely outcomes of bleeding during pregnancy?

Unfortunately, in studies that examined the outcome of pregnancy bleeding, a similar pregnancy loss rate of around 50 percent was found. The rate of miscarriage in all pregnant women is estimated at between 10 and 25 percent, so it’s important to note that no studies found bleeding in pregnancy to cause miscarriage, rather, it’s the other way around. Miscarriage is one possible cause of bleeding in pregnancy. Rates of loss were higher in those who experienced heavy bleeding and/or bleeding that exceeded 4 days.

In second trimester bleeding, the chances of preterm labor, C-section, and low birth weight also increase.

What are the risk factors for bleeding during pregnancy?

Rates of bleeding in pregnancy are higher:

-In those older than 35.
-When carrying multiples.
-If you have had previous miscarriages.
-When you have hormonal conditions or symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as PCOS, fibroids, very long/short cycles, etc.
-If you have uterine abnormalities.
-In those with diabetes.
-With vaginal infections.

Studies on Bleeding During Pregnancy

Below is a list of studies done on bleeding during pregnancy with quick summaries of the rate of bleeding that was found and any other note-worthy points, such as when the bleeding occurred, whether it was light or heavy, how long it lasted, risk factors, etc.

Note: A University Library login was used to read many of these studies. Some may not offer full access for free without a login. I only included studies here I was able to read. If you find others, and would like them included, please contact me. The percentage shown in bold is the rate of pregnancy bleeding.

1983: Study of 16,305 women found a rate of bleeding of 14.6 percent. 91 percent experienced spotting only, and 8 percent heavy bleeding.
Berkowitz GS, Harlap S, Beck GJ, Freeman DH, Baras M. Early gestational bleeding and pregnancy outcome: a multivariable analysis. Int J Epidemiol. 1983;12:165–73

1984: Retroactive study of 7,486 women. 7 percent.
Batzofin JH, Fielding WL, Friedman EA. Effect of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy on outcome. Obstet Gynecol. 1984;63:515–8.

1991: Study of 14,458 women. 17.6 percent. 55 percent of bleeding occurred in the first trimester. 6.82 percent light bleeding only.
Williams MA, Mittendorf R, Lieberman E, Monson RR. Adverse infant outcomes associated with first-trimester vaginal bleeding. Obstet Gynecol. 1991;78:14–8.

1992: Study of 8,718 women.  9.3 percent. 6.89 percent in the first trimester.
Sipila P, Hartikainen-Sorri AL, Oja H, Von Wendt L. Perinatal outcome of pregnancies complicated by vaginal bleeding. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1992;99:959–63.

1994: Meta-analysis of 28 studies from 1950-1992.  12.9 percent.
Ananth CV, Savitz DA. Vaginal bleeding and adverse reproductive outcomes: a meta-analysis. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1994;8:62–78.

1995: Study of 5,868 women. 19 percent. Bleeding was most common at 8 weeks, lasted no more than 2 days, and was a single occurrence.
Axelsen SM, Henriksen TB, Hedegaard M, Secher NJ. Characteristics of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1995;63:131–4.

1997: Study of 550 women.  21 percent.
Everett C. Incidence and outcome of bleeding before the 20th week of pregnancy: prospective study from general practice. BMJ. 1997;315:32–4.

1999: Study of 1,100 women.  11 percent. Vaginal infection found to be a risk factor.
French JI, McGregor JA, Draper D, Parker R, McFee J. Gestational bleeding, bacterial vaginosis, and common reproductive tract infections: risk for preterm birth and benefit of treatment. Obstet Gynecol. 1999;93:715–24.

2001: Study of 7,658 women.  14.4 percent. Preterm birth was more common in those with early pregnancy bleeding.
Yang J, Savitz D. The effect of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy on preterm and small-for-gestational-age births: US National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, 1988. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2001;15:34–9

2003: Study of 221 women before pregnancy. 68.3 percent (151) became pregnant. 9 percent had bleeding before 8 weeks.  Data was not continued beyond 8 weeks.
Harville EW, Wilcox AJ, Baird DD, Weinberg CR. Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy. Hum Reprod. 2003;18:1944–7.

2004: Screening of 16,506 women.  14.38 percent. Light bleeding accounted for 12.86 percent, heavy bleeding 1.52 percent.
Weiss JL, Malone FD, Vidaver J, et al. Threatened abortion: A risk factor for poor pregnancy outcome, a population-based screening study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;190:745–50.

2005: Study of 2,806 women.  24.48 percent. 77.4 percent occurred in the first trimester. 69.9 percent had only one episode of bleeding. 79.3 percent light bleeding only. Risk factors including older maternal age and previous miscarriage.
Yang J, Savitz DA, Dole N, et al. Predictors of vaginal bleeding during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2005;19:276–83.

2007: Study of 2,678 women. 26 percent. 83.6 percent of which occurred in the first trimester.
Hossain R, Harris T, Lohsoonthorn V, Williams MA. Risk of preterm delivery in relation to vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007;135:158–63.

2009: Study of 4,510 women. 27 percent. 42.9 percent of those with bleeding miscarried. Only 8 percent saw heavy bleeding. Episodes of heavy bleeding correlated with a three times higher chance of miscarriage, while episodes of light spotting showed no difference in comparison to those who experienced no bleeding.
Hasan R, Baird DD, Herring AH, Olshan AF, Jonsson Funk ML, Hartmann KE. Association between first-trimester vaginal bleeding and miscarriage. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:860–7

2010:  Study of 4,539 women. 12 percent ended in miscarriage with about 2 in 3 experiencing bleeding prior to their loss. These losses were excluded from the rate of bleeding in pregnancy given, which was 25 percent. 75.6 percent of bleeding was light.  71 percent of bleeding occurred only once. Risk factors included prior miscarriage, advanced maternal age, fibroids, blood sugar issues, and signs of hormonal imbalance. The rate of loss was higher in those with heavy bleeding.
Hasan R, Baird DD, Herring AH, Olshan AF, Jonsson Funk ML, Hartmann KE. Patterns and predictors of vaginal bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. Annals of epidemiology. 2010;20(7):524-531.

2010: Study of 2,054 women. 23.9 percent. Most episodes were light bleeding in the first 20 weeks.
Skorokhod, Veronika. Vaginal Bleeding during the First 20 Weeks of Pregnancy and the Risk of Preterm Delivery, Michigan State University, Ann Arbor, 2010, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

2011: Study of 3,431 women. 23 percent. 72 percent of bleeding occurred in the first trimester with week 6 being most common. 73 percent occurred only once. 90 percent of bleeding was light.
Smits LJM, North RA, Kenny LC, Myers J, Dekker GA, Mccowan LME. Patterns of vaginal bleeding during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and risk of pre-eclampsia in nulliparous women: results from the SCOPE study. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2012.

2017: Study of 11,835 women. 8.5 percent. 84 percent of those later miscarried. Bleeding prior to 6 weeks was more likely to lead to loss. Bleeding was also most common prior to 6 weeks. 83.2 percent experienced only spotting, 16.8 percent heavy bleeding, and the miscarriage rate was higher in those with heavy bleeding.
Kamble PD, Bava A, Shukla M, Nandanvar YS. First trimester bleeding and pregnancy outcome. Int J Reprod Contracept Obstet Gynecol 2017;6:1 48-7.

Note:

The extensive comment base on this page led to the writing of 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 (includes a quiz)” 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 48 hours. All comments are moderated. Please remember though, I am not a doctor nor a replacement for medical care. I can’t tell you if you are pregnant over the Internet or tell you what’s causing your spotting. I do have a medical background (medical assisting) and am a mother of four who struggled with infertility as well as multiple miscarriages. However, I am not a doctor nor claim to be one.

You may also find helpful:

Period While Pregnant
Early Signs of Pregnancy Quiz
When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
Period Blood Colors and Textures Explained

Missed Period, Negative Pregnancy Test? Causes Other Than Pregnancy

Missed period? Negative pregnancy test? Yeah, that can be pretty confusing—mostly because basic health class failed us all. It may be common knowledge that pregnancy can cause a missed period or periods, but there are other lesser known causes as well. You can miss a period without being pregnant. So, assuming you have the missed period negative pregnancy test situation, what else could it be?missed period negative pregnancy test

It was a false negative pregnancy test.

You can read about the possible failure of pregnancy tests in-depth here, but basically, home tests are not error-proof. You could have tested too early, gotten an expired test, misread your result, or even be one of those women that just never get a positive home test (I have known a few and their children).

Now a blood test is far more definitive. Excluding lab error,  false negative blood tests don’t happen. If you have a missed period and a negative pregnancy test along with pregnancy symptoms, most doctors will still just do a urine test unless you’ve missed more than one period. So, to save you some cash, it’s recommended you forgo alcohol and other not-pregnancy-safe stuff, and wait to see what happens when your next period is due. 90 percent of the time women who have the missed period negative pregnancy situation end up getting their period—just a bit late. If you miss another period, you might speak with a care provider for a blood test. It should also be noted, it is possible to have bleeding and be pregnant, you can read about that here.

You have some level of hormonal imbalance.

OK, with that out of the way, what are those other causes of a missed period with a negative test? Several hormonal imbalances can mimic pregnancy, the most common of which being high progesterone.

Progesterone is a hormone that maintains your uterine lining during pregnancy. Its rise is triggered by ovulation, and it remains high until either the egg begins to die, so to speak, or you become pregnant. If you become pregnant, implantation signals progesterone secretion to continue and increase. If you don’t become pregnant, once levels drop low enough, you’ll get a period. It’s the high levels of progesterone in early pregnancy that cause many  common pregnancy symptoms including sore breasts, gas, bloating, and even nausea. This is why some women experience some or all of these issues as PMS. If you have a high-progesterone cycle (levels naturally can vary by cycle), you may have a longer than usual cycle (late) along with pregnancy-like symptoms.

Low estrogen can also have this effect as it delays ovulation. When you ovulate late, the second phase of your cycle dominated by progesterone remains the same length in most cases. This makes for a longer cycle as well. Low estrogen is less likely to cause pregnancy-like symptoms, but you may experience vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and dry skin.

You can learn more about other signs of hormonal imbalance that can affect your cycle in situations such as short periods, irregular bleeding, and spotting here. If you experience more than one cycle indicative of hormonal imbalance, you might try Vitex, a slow-acting herb often effective in hormone balancing. If you aren’t trying to conceive, birth control is also commonly prescribed.

You didn’t ovulate.

Next, if you fail to ovulate, you may experience repeated seemingly missed periods. You can think of your menstrual cycle as being like dominoes. Each phase triggers the next by altering your hormone balance. Ovulation is the key piece to switching from high estrogen to build the uterine lining and high progesterone to maintain it. If you don’t ovulate for one reason or another nothing prompts progesterone to rise. Depending on your natural hormone balance, estrogen may just continue to build your lining for some time, and you won’t get a period. Some women also experience frequent or irregular periods when not ovulating, but excessively long cycles that appear to be missed periods are more common. Note that these periods are not technically missed, they simply haven’t started yet. Many women will eventually ovulate during a super-long cycle, and either this, or an inability of estrogen to keep the lining up, leads to bleeding.

Failure to ovulate often has an underlying health cause such as ovarian cysts or low egg reserve. You can read more about the causes and risk factors for anovulatory cycles here. The exclusion to this is while breastfeeding, when wonky or absent periods are expected.

Hopefully this has shed some light on how you ended up with need to Google, “missed period negative pregnancy test.” If you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment, I do my best to help.

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