Is It Pregnancy or Menstruation?

The first symptoms of pregnancy may be very unspecific, resembling quite a bit with premenstrual symptoms. It is possible, even, that the pregnant woman in the first days of pregnancy presents vaginal bleeding, causing her to think that she menstruated.

Pregnant woman
Pregnant woman

It is not uncommon to find cases of women who only discover they are pregnant after 3 or 4 months of gestation simply because they have confused the early symptoms of pregnancy and small vaginal bleeding with their premenstrual symptoms and actual menstruation.

In this article we will try to show the differences between the symptoms of pregnancy and menstruation. To facilitate reading, we will write the text in the form of questions and answers.

Is it possible to menstruate while pregnant?

No, the pregnant woman may have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but technically she does not menstruate.

Why can not the bleeding of the pregnant woman be considered menstruation?

During the menstrual cycle, cells from the endometrium (wall of the uterus) proliferate, making the uterus thicker and with highly vascularized layers. The endometrium expands to become a suitable place to receive a fertilized ovum and initiate a pregnancy.

If the woman ovulates and this ovum is not fertilized, the stimulus for the expansion and maintenance of this thick uterine wall disappears, causing all this tissue that has grown throughout the first half of the menstrual cycle to stop receiving blood supplies and eventually collapse.

Menstruation, therefore, is not exactly a blood loss, but rather the elimination of uterine tissue along with blood vessels and coagulated blood.

During pregnancy, the wall of the uterus does not collapse, otherwise the fetus would be carried along, characterizing an abortion. Therefore, any bleeding that occurs during pregnancy can not be considered menstruation. Menstruation and pregnancy are incompatible events.

What are the causes of bleeding in early pregnancy that can be confused with menstruation?

Between 20 and 40% of pregnant women have at least one episode of vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy. The causes are several, including implantation of the egg (fertilized ovum) in the uterus, hormonal variations, lesions or wounds in the vulva, vagina or uterus, abortion, threat of abortion, ectopic pregnancy, etc.

The main tip is a change in the usual characteristics and time of menstrual bleeding. If you are of childbearing age, have recently had sex without proper contraceptive protection (ie condoms, pills, or any other contraceptive methods) and have had vaginal bleeding different from the one you are used to seeing, this may be a sign of pregnancy.

Pregnancy bleeds are usually bright red, except for causes such as ectopic pregnancy and full miscarriage when bleeding is darker. In any case, the characteristics of blood are often very different from menstruation.

So, is it easy to distinguish a menstruation from a vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?

Not always, especially if the woman does not yet know that she is pregnant. The characteristics of menstrual bleeding are different from woman to woman. There are those who have a small, short-lived menstrual flow that may look like bleeding that occurs during the early stage of pregnancy.

It is therefore not uncommon to find cases of women who bleed during the first few months of gestation and think they are menstruating normally.

Three issues should be taken into account when distinguishing vaginal bleeding:
  • 1. Is bleeding coming on the expected date of menstruation?
  • 2. Does the bleeding have the same usual length and volume of menstruation?
  • 3. Are the blood characteristics similar to menstruation?

If you answered yes to at least 2 of the 3 questions, the chance of being just menstruating is pretty great.

What are the other pregnancy symptoms that look like the symptoms of menstruation?

Some premenstrual symptoms, such as cramps, fluid retention, breast enlargement, mood swings, and others, may occur both in an early pregnancy and in the pre-menstrual period. The tip here is the same one used to distinguish bleedings: compare the characteristics of the symptoms.

Usually, the symptoms of pregnancy may be similar, but not the same as in the pre-menstrual period.

The feminine "feeling" or "sixth sense" is something that must always be taken into account. When a woman feels that there is something different about her menstrual pattern or premenstrual symptoms, unless she has not had sex recently, it is always a good idea to take a pregnancy test to rule out the doubt, especially if menstruation delayed.

Obviously, if the woman has not had intercourse in the past 6 months, there is no way she is having an early pregnancy. In this case, changes in menstrual pattern should be evaluated by a gynecologist.

Is delayed menstruation always a sign of pregnancy?

Of course not. If, on the other hand, every pregnancy necessarily causes menstrual delay, the opposite is not true. Not every menstrual delay is synonymous with ongoing gestation. There are several causes for menstrual delay, including emotional stress.

Therefore, if your menstruation has delayed for some days, there may be other explanations than a pregnancy. However, every sexually active woman with a menstrual delay greater than one week should take a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy.

Try to know only by the symptoms if you are pregnant or not usually very efficient. He had seen a guessing game. The diagnosis of pregnancy is done with exams and not with crystal ball.

The most correct thing to do is to do the following: If your menstruation is late, and you suspect that you may be pregnant (even if the suspicion is very slight), take the pregnancy test. With at least one week of menstrual delay, the vast majority of tests have a very high hit rate, close to 100%.

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