Great question. I think anyone that is sexually active has wondered this. PMS signs (signs that your period is about to start) and the signs that you may be pregnant can be similar. I looked up signs of pregnancy and several of them are things I have experienced right before my period is about to start: tender breasts, mood swings and cravings for certain foods. Unfortunately the best way to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are due to pregnancy or your period is just to wait. Once you actually start your period and are bleeding, that is usually a good indicator that you are not pregnant. If your period is unusually late and you are sexually active, take a pregnancy test and see your healthcare provider. If you are not sexually active and you notice a big change in your cycle, it is still important to see your health care provider to find out why. There are many causes to a late period, including stress (sometimes caused by worrying about your period being late!) so don’t jump to conclusions right away.
Having a full-fledged period is an obvious sign that you are not pregnant. However, there is some overlap between pregnancy and PMS symptoms. Both can present with symptoms such as breast tenderness, feeling more tired than usual, being a bit moody or having headaches. Also, some women experience something called “implantation bleeding” after they become pregnant. Implantation bleeding can involve some minor cramping and light bleeding.
A missed period is usually a woman’s first sign that she might be pregnant. That’s one reason why it’s important to keep track of your cycle. If you think there is any chance you might be pregnant, you can take an over-the-counter pregnancy test. And even though you might be scared, it’s really important that you talk to an adult if you may be pregnant.
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