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Am I Pregnant?
Q. I'm concerned about light vaginal bleeding and continued spotting I’ve been experiencing after intercourse. According to my ovulation chart I had intercourse on a very, very fertile day. After intercourse, I noticed light bleeding (not enough to fill a pad) and spotting. Is there any way you can ovulate in 28 days and not have your period for another 5 days? Should I be worried? And when should I take a HPT?
A. Light bleeding after intercourse can be an indicator of pregnancy because the cervix becomes very tender and swollen while pregnant. Most women ovulate 12 to 14 days after the first day of a period and don't have the next period for another two weeks, but everyone's cycle varies.
If you think you are pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test (HPT) the first day after a missed period.
Q. Does a missed period necessarily mean pregnancy?
A. No, but it usually is one of the first signs of pregnancy. A period can be missed for a number of reasons, including emotional and physical stresses. If you have other symptoms of pregnancy or just feel you may be pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test or visit a doctor to be sure.
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Q. I am 27 years old. I have discontinued taking my birth control pills in order to become pregnant. For the last three months I got my period on the 18th of every month. This month it came at the beginning of the month. I have also been more tired and sleepy and I am able to sleep all day without going out. I am urinating more frequently and I have back pain. Are these symptoms of being pregnant?
-Tiera, New York
A. Fatigue, frequent urination and back pain could be symptoms of pregnancy, but this is not probable since you've had a period. It's not unusual for your period to be a little out of whack if you've been on birth control pills for an extended period of time and then discontinue taking them. It sometimes takes six months or so for menstruation to become regular. If you miss a period, that's your best indicator of pregnancy. However, if you feel strongly that you really may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test or see your doctor to be sure.
Q. My husband and I are trying to conceive. I am at day 19 of my cycle so do I not know whether I am pregnant yet, but I am experiencing an odd constellation of physical sensations and wondering whether they are early signs of pregnancy. These include: increased sensitivity to certain smells (e.g. coffee); nausea off and on throughout the day; aversion to food I normally like (cheesecake of all things); mental fuzziness; and now the really weird one– a really distorted internal thermostat (feeling freezing cold while indoors with the heat on and three layers of clothes, while my skin is warm to the touch). I know this is way early, but I am just wondering if you have heard of anyone else with these symptoms this early in (a potential) pregnancy.
A. It is possible that you are experiencing symptoms of pregnancy this early on, but it's not all that common. Most of the symptoms you listed usually occur several weeks into a pregnancy. For most women, the first sign of pregnancy (sometimes just days after conception) is tingling, tender, swollen breasts. This can also be mistaken for PMS boobs.
I guess you'll just have to wait and see! The first day after your missed period is the earliest you can take a home pregnancy test.
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Q. My husband and I had intercourse while I was ovulating (end of August) and I went on to have my period the next month, on time (mid-September). It is now mid-October and I am late for this month’s period. Is it still possible for me to be pregnant from the time we had intercourse at the end of August? We have not had intercourse since the end of August.
A. It's highly unlikely you're pregnant if you've had a period, but it’s still slightly possible. Most newly-implanted embryos cannot survive the shedding of the uterine lining. However, there's always that one-in-a-million shot. If your period is more than a week late, try taking a pregnancy test to be sure.
Q. Is it possible to become pregnant during the menstrual cycle? I only had two full days of my menstrual cycle and then it stopped. My boyfriend and I had sex on the day before my cycle and the day after it started. I always have had six full days of my cycle. I am now worried that I may be pregnant.
A. Most women are receptive to pregnancy during ovulation (usually about 12 - 14 days after the first day of a period). Of course, cycles vary from woman to woman, but I think it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant. Your menstrual cycle could have ended early due to illness, stress or simple luck.
If you miss your period next month, take a pregnancy test or consult your doctor to find out for sure.
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Q. I am not late, I just feel pregnant I have taken two tests and they both have been negative. Could there be some reason (other than I am testing too early) that they could be wrong? I have also gained a lot of fluid—not pounds, just getting larger in the middle. Thank you for your help :)
A. If you are not late with your period, it is probably too early for a home pregnancy test to show a decent level of progesterone to create a "positive" result. I know it's hard to resist using that pregnancy test stashed away in the medicine cabinet! You should wait until after the first day of a missed period. Otherwise you could get a false "negative" result, which happened to me once.
I had miscalculated my period due date by a week, took the test and it was negative. I was so sure that I was pregnant! How could this be? I used another test. Still negative.
A week later I still didn't have my period. "That's strange," I thought and used another test. I was in such a rush to get to work that day that I almost forgot about it. While quickly cleaning up the bathroom before leaving the house, I almost swept the pee stick into the wastebasket. That's when I noticed there was more than one line. Positive? What?! I was pregnant!
As for the fluid you are retaining in the middle, it could be a result of pregnancy, it could be PMS, or it could be too many salty potato chips.
If you take another pregnancy test after a missed period and you still feel you might be pregnant, visit your doctor for a check-up and blood test. That’s the only way to be truly positive (no pun intended!).
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Q. I recently took a home pregnancy test and three days later it showed a light pink line on the positive side. Does this mean I am pregnant?
A. If the pregnancy test you are looking at is the already-used, three day old one, I would not count on those results. The test is only valid for a certain amount of time.
If you are using a new test and getting a light pink line, you probably are pregnant and are just beginning to show pregnancy hormones in your urine. If you take another test in a day or two, it should turn to a very bright, pink, positive line.
Q. I believe I am pregnant. I was on Ortho Evra (the patch) for about four months, but it wasn't used correctly. I have seen the doctor for about three weeks straight because I have leukocytes or traces of blood in my urine. The doctor asked if there was a chance of pregnancy and then ruled it out because of my birth control use. I've had periods for the past two months, but they have been very abnormal with light bleeding that doesn't last long. What can I do to find out if I am really pregnant without my parents finding out?
A. You can use an over-the-counter home pregnancy test to check for pregnancy. You are probably not pregnant, but if the urine test shows that you are, you must tell your doctor immediately. She needs to know if you are pregnant because certain medications and treatments could be harmful to a developing fetus - if you plan on keeping the pregnancy. Most medical professionals will honor doctor-patient confidentiality and she may give you advice and/or counseling on what your next steps may be.
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Q. My husband and I had a wonderful weekend January 24-25. My last period started Jan. 9. I have always been regular, 28 days or less to my cycle. I am 43 years old. My period is now 10 days late, and I have used three pregnancy tests of different brands, all of which were negative. I still have sore nipples, backache, and tiredness. At what point should I make a doctor's appointment to see if something is wrong, or should I still suspect pregnancy? We were not sexually active for a while, and it just seems so coincidental that when we were, my period is missing. (We have three children, 15, 8, & 7) I would really appreciate any advice! Thanks so much.
A. If your period is 10 days late and the HPTs (home pregnancy tests) are negative, you are probably not pregnant. They would be showing some signs of hormonal change by now.
Perimenopause, or pre-menopause, is a transitional stage of two to ten years before complete cessation of your period. Its average duration is six years, and typically appears in women from 35 to 50 years of age. Woman can find themselves experiencing puzzling changes, and not know why. What is actually going on is a gradual decrease of estrogen. The manifestations of perimenopause can vary. Here are some of the most common symptoms: Menstrual cycles become shorter, longer or unpredictable; flow becomes heavier or lighter; low blood sugar; fatigue several days before menstruation; weight gain; decreased sex drive (You, obviously, are not experiencing this one!); headaches - from mild to migraines; dry and/or itchy vulva or clitoris; and increased incidence of yeast infections.
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