Facts You Should Know About Pregnancy Tests
*Facts you should know about pregnancy tests medically edited by: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
- Pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone in a woman’s blood or urine: hCG is produced when an egg implanted in the uterus.
- There are two types of pregnancy tests, one uses blood and the other uses urine a quantitative blood test detects hCG earlier than a qualitative blood or urine test.
- Most home pregnancy tests detect hCG in a urine stream when, after a few minutes, a line or symbol appears if the test is positive most urine pregnancy test instructions urge a second test in a few days no matter what were the first results follow package instructions if a control indicator does not appear, the test result should not be trusted.
- Home tests are accurate, some better than others.
- Home pregnancy tests may test positive on the first day of a missed period, but almost all detect pregnancy 1 week after a missed period.
- It is possible to be pregnant and have a negative home pregnancy test that is why you should wait about a week to repeat the test. Most medicines and other compounds do not interfere with pregnancy tests however, any drug containing hCG may give false test results.
- Any questions or problems with pregnancy tests should be discussed with your doctor.
Can I Use My Menstrual Cycle To Predict My Due Date
Yes. You can work out how far along your pregnancy is by counting from the first day of your last period.
This can be confusing because you probably didnt get pregnant until around 2 weeks later, after you ovulated. Even if do you know the date you got pregnant, this is counted as day 14 of your pregnancy , not day 1.
Your pregnancy is calculated from your last menstrual period because every time you have a period this is the bodys way of getting ready for pregnancy. It also gives healthcare professionals a standard to follow because its very difficult to know exactly when the sperm fertilised the egg.
If your period is irregular or if youve recently been on the pill it will be harder to try and work out your due date.
The most accurate way to work out your due date is to have an ultrasound scan when youre around 11 to 14 weeks pregnant. This is used to see how for along you are and check your babys development.
Reasons For A Late Period That Don’t Mean You’re Pregnant
A menstrual cycle that’s off schedule doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. Here are seven other reasons your period could be late.
If you’re waiting for a late period, there’s one thought that’s likely going through your mind: Am I pregnant? “Everybody thinks they’re pregnant when their period is late,” says Wendy Goodall McDonald, M.D., aka Dr. Every Woman of Women’s Health Consulting in Chicago and the author of It Smells Just Like Popcorn: The Modern Woman’s A to V Guide to Her Vagina and Beyond.
But mensuration could be late for a variety of reasons, and it doesn’t always point to pregnancy. This could be disappointing to learn if you’re TTC or a huge sigh of relief if you’re not ready for a baby. Before you run to the local pharmacy to pick up an at-home pregnancy test, read about these external factors and conditions that could cause delayed periods.
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No Period Not Pregnant
In a regular and healthy menstrual cycle a female generally has anywhere between 11 to 13 periods/ menstrual cycles each year. In a similar fashion, the average length of the period varies from three days to five days but sometimes can exceed to seven to ten days. A missed period is generally considered as an indicative of pregnancy but it does not always mean that pregnancy has taken place. There are some other conditions in which the notion of no period, not pregnant holds true i.e. there is absence of periods without pregnancy.
Things That Delay Your Period
A missed period is often the first sign of pregnancy, but there are other reasons for lateness, too. Here are some other factors that can delay your monthly flow:
Extreme diet and exercise
A healthy diet and regular exercise can do wonders for your health. But if you overdo it, you might say bye-bye to your periods, at least temporarily.
Athletes who train really hard or who dont get enough calories may stop menstruating, Dr. Higgins says. Its the bodys way of telling you that it doesnt have enough resources to support a pregnancy.
When your periods stop due to weight loss, diet or exercise, youre experiencing secondary amenorrhea. This means you previously had periods, but they have stopped. Secondary amenorrhea might happen to you if you:
- Eat an extreme, calorie-restricted diet.
- Have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
- Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
- Undergo hardcore exercise training, such as for a .
Polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that interferes with the release of an egg . When you dont ovulate, you usually dont have a period. Many people with PCOS have irregular, late or missing periods. Other symptoms of PCOS include:
- Excess facial or body hair.
- Thinning hair.
- Weight gain or trouble losing weight.
Doctors diagnose PCOS by checking your symptoms and performing medical tests when needed. Medication and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms.
Some examples of major stress include:
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No Period For Three Months: Is This Normal
Not having your period for three months or more is known as secondary amenorrhea. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Natural causes of an absence of menstruation for three months include perimenopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Certain lifestyle factors like stress and excessive exercise may also cause it. Furthermore, having either excessive or low body fat can also cause a missed period. Tumors on the pituitary gland or a hypoactive/hyperactive thyroid gland can also lead to hormonal imbalances and trigger secondary amenorrhea. Low levels of estrogen or high levels of testosterone can also result in a missed period.
Genetic disorders such as Swyer syndrome and Turner syndrome result in a lack of menstruation without proper hormone replacement therapy. Some people experience a missed period because of medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or chemotherapy drugs. You could also notice no period for three months or more if you have just stopped taking birth control pills.
Physical issues like problems in your reproductive organs could also cause delayed or missed periods.
Reasons For Missed Periods
There are many reasons why you may have missed your period. Some women miss periods regularly because they don’t ovulate regularly. You might also miss a period if you have a change in your sleep patterns, for example, or if you start working night shifts which can throw your cycles out of whack as your body learns to adjust to it.
You can also miss your period if your weight is too low. After a certain amount of body fat, you may not have the hormone production to sustain your periods. This is often true if you’re a very competitive athlete or suffer from disordered eating like anorexia or even bulimia.
Sometimes stress can be a reason that your period is missing. This can usually be determined easily by a discussion with your doctor.
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When You Don’t Ovulate
Even women with the most consistent menstrual cycles can suddenly skip their period, which most likely means they didn’t ovulate. The reason is usually something simple like experiencing higher than normal stress, but a missed period could also have a medical reason. The most obvious medical reason is pregnancy, and testing for it is quick and easy. Women who recently had babies and are still breastfeeding also don’t usually ovulate although they could, so birth control is still important.
If you are nearing 50 years of age, you could be experiencing perimenopause symptoms, which include irregular ovulation and periods. Certain types of birth control, such as intrauterine devices , can also affect ovulation and periods, as can low body weight, particularly low body weight related to an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa. Serious medical conditions are less likely but possible and could include polycystic ovary syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease and premature ovarian failure.
How Many Days Delay In Periods Confirms Pregnancy
If you don’t want to wait until you’ve missed your period, you should wait at least one to two weeks after you had sex. If you are pregnant, your body needs time to develop detectable levels of HCG. This typically takes seven to 12 days after successful implantation of an egg.
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What Are Irregular Periods
Even though girls get their periods on a cycle, that cycle can take different amounts of time each month. For example, a girl might get her period after 24 days one month and after 42 days the next. These are called irregular periods.
Irregular periods are very common, especially in a girl’s first few years of getting her period.
Missed Periods And Pregnancy
If youve had unprotected sex, you may have missed your period because youre pregnant. You may want to rule out pregnancy first by taking a pregnancy test, or you can see if you need to take a test with our Am I pregnant quiz.
Keep an eye out for any early pregnancy symptoms, like:
- tender breasts
These symptoms coupled with a missed period could mean you are pregnant
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Can A Girl Get Pregnant If Her Periods Are Irregular
I have irregular periods. Can I still get pregnant if I don’t get my period all the time? Kim*
Yes! Any time a girl has unprotected sex, she could get pregnant.
Getting pregnant is related to ovulation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. It is the time when a girl is most likely to get pregnant. A girl with irregular periods usually still ovulates, just not on a regular, predictable schedule.
All girls, especially girls with irregular periods, can ovulate at different points from cycle to cycle. That makes it impossible for a girl to know when she is most fertile. Irregular periods also can make it hard for a girl to know if she is pregnant, since she doesn’t know when to expect her period.
Having unprotected sex at any time is risky. Along with the risk of getting pregnant, you could also get an STD, such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only way to completely prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence .
If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STDs. For added protection, many couples use condoms along with another method of birth control, like birth control pills or an IUD. Talk to your doctor about the best type of birth control for you.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Reasons For A Missed Period
Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical and lifestyle factors that can affect your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if you’re not pregnant.
You may miss a period for one or two months, or you may experience complete amenorrheathat is, no period for three or more months in a row. This article explores 10 common reasons your period may be delayed.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
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You Get Inexplicably Tired
Any of us would expect to be exhausted after a long and difficult day. This is totally normal, and, when considered by itself, is probably not a sign youâre pregnant. However, pregnancy causes women to experience fatigue, even when theyâre taking things easy and slow. The hormone responsible for making you tired goes off the charts when youâre expecting a baby, so your significantly lower energy levels may be something to look into. This intense fatigue can begin as early as one week after conception.
Does A Missed Period Mean You’re Pregnant
When you don’t get your period as expected, you might start to worry. The absence of your normal menstrual cycle can be concerning since it can indicate a pregnancy or it may be related to an illness or stress. It is considered one of the major possible signs of early pregnancy.
People have different names for it such as a late period, skipping a cycle, or a missed period. In essence, it simply means that your normal menstrual cycle or period didn’t happen when it should have happened. Throughout your lifetime, you may have a missed period for a variety of reasons. It may also just be delayed.
Many women will go through various cycle abnormalities in their life due to various factors. This is not necessarily a problem for all women, but can also indicate a larger health concern for some. A missed cycle can also make trying to get pregnant or confirming early pregnancy more difficult for others.
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Signs You Are Ovulating
Counting off days to estimate ovulation is a process that works well for women who have regular menstrual cycles, but the process is much more challenging if their periods are irregular. For women who can’t rely on predictability in their monthly cycles, the frustration begins with trying to pinpoint when they will have their period and ends with calculating when they are likely to ovulate all while knowing the estimates could end up being meaningless if their period falls at a dramatically different time than the previous month.
Fortunately, other physical signs of ovulation are often present to help you pinpoint when your body is preparing to release an egg. Vaginal discharge or mucus around this time is thinner, clearer and more slippery to help sperm move more efficiently through the reproductive tract. You may experience cramping on one side around the time you ovulate, but this is not true for every woman.
Your basal temperature body temperature when you first wake up but before you get out of bed and start moving around may be slightly elevated around the time of ovulation. You may need to track this reading for a few months to confirm your pattern. Over-the-counter ovulation predictors have also helped many women determine their estimated ovulation dates. If you’re working with a doctor, he or she may test for LH levels, which start climbing about 36 hours before ovulation and peak at about 12 hours before.