Spotting makes me worry.
September 11, 2008 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Spotting/cycle question. I looked at the other threads, but all of those women were on the pill so my situation might be slightly different.

It's been 7 days since my last period ended, and my boyfriend and I had sex the day after, but not since.

Last night (about 6 days after) I had a very, very short bit of spotting-- the blood was light in color and was a tiny amount.

I realize I could have been pregnant and still had one last period, but chances of the are low (but not nonexistent, I know) because we were apart and had sex twice last month.

I am planning on waiting to see if I miss the next period, but that is a while off, and I am looking for any type of explanation / chance I could be pregnant. Help me please?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have all of these encounters been unprotected (sans BC or condom)? Because, yes you could be pregnant.
posted by greta simone at 8:49 AM on September 11, 2008

Spotting is fairly common and can be related to all sorts of things (diet, lifestyle changes, etc.). Since you're past 6 days after having sex, you're too late for emergency contraception even if you had a reason to believe you might be pregnant (condom breaking, whatever) or wanted the peace of mind. You're best off taking a deep breath, being super careful about contraceptives for the next month (ever), and waiting for your next period. You have time; relax.
posted by lunit at 8:51 AM on September 11, 2008

If its 7 days since your last period ended, then i am guessing it must have started about 5 days before that. Meaning your last period starting 12 days ago. You could easily be ovulating early (instead of 14 days) this month, which can sometimes produce spotting.

Either way, I would go visit your gynecologist. They could give you a blood test and put your mind to rest, and also make sure that nothing is going wrong that could cause irregular bleeding.
posted by metamush at 9:10 AM on September 11, 2008

My guess is spotting due to ovulation, which is very common. But yeah, see your gynaecologist.
posted by tiny crocodile at 9:16 AM on September 11, 2008

If your periods are about 5 days long, then last night was day 11 and today is day 12. I doubt very much that spotting on day 11 is a sign of pregnancy. Spotting at mid-cycle (say, anywhere from day 13-15) is typically a sign of ovulation; spotting about 7-10 days after ovulation (that is, around days 20-25) could be implantation spotting.

Your spotting is too early to be classic implantation spotting from a pregnancy started this cycle, so it just may be a sign that you're ovulating, although you would have to have pretty short cycles for this to happen. It just may be a holdover from your period, too.

While it's possible that what you considered your last period was really just heavy implantation spotting, and you got pregnant last cycle, it's not likely if your period seemed to be normally heavy.

So buy a two-pack pregnancy test from the drugstore. Testing negative now means you almost certainly didn't get pregnant last month. If your period is late this month, take the second test, even though I think that day 6 sex (one day after a 5 day period finished) is unlikely to have made you pregnant because you probably just ovulated early this month. Sperm die after about 48 hours, so the sex you had on day 6 wouldn't have left anything to meet the egg on day 11. But if your period this month is delayed even after your pregnancy tests are negative, see your doctor for a proper blood test.

If you are not using the pill for birth control, you should be tracking your cycles so you don't have to go through a lot of worry about what's normal for your body. Taking Charge of Your Fertility should be available at your local library. Or you can learn more online and even track yourself online here.
posted by rosebuddy at 9:18 AM on September 11, 2008

Second rosebuddy: take a pregnancy test. They're remarkably accurate (almost no chance of false positives, and very small chance of false negatives), and pretty cheap. Women with whom I have been close have reported times varying by up to more than a month in terms of regularity of their cycles, so I don't think 7 days is necessarily grounds for alarm.

But yeah, get one of those tests. Only takes a few minutes, and it should resolve your ambiguity, even if you don't like the answer you get.
posted by valkyryn at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2008

I second the ultra-light ovulation spotting. I get it often, although not every month. I suspect that the months where I don't it's just a case of me not noticing.

Definitely treat your body good until you're sure you're not pregnant though.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:58 AM on September 11, 2008

re: rosebuddy's advice - unless it's VERY close to your next period (within 5 days), a pregnancy test will be useless.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:29 AM on September 11, 2008

Spotting is almost never a sign of pregnancy.

unless it's VERY close to your next period (within 5 days), a pregnancy test will be useless.

This is not correct. Pregnancy tests are accurate 10 to 14 days after the risk. You might get a false negative 10 days after a risk, but by 14 days after a risk, the likelihood of a false negative is very, very low.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2008

Also, this:

I realize I could have been pregnant and still had one last period

is false.

You cannot have your period and be pregnant. Now, you may have other vaginal bleeding that you think is a period (implantation bleeding, etc.) and be pregnant, but if you had your regular period in terms of flow, duration, and symptoms, you were not pregnant.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2008

roomthreeseventeen: "re: rosebuddy's advice - unless it's VERY close to your next period (within 5 days), a pregnancy test will be useless."

You're misunderstanding my advice. The poster is concerned that she could have gotten pregnant over her last cycle. She thinks that she could have had one period after her pregnancy started, but as Sidhedevil and I have said, if it looked like a normal, heavy period, it probably was a normal period.

But she's not here to clarify the details of her last period, so IF this was a light or short period of vaginal bleeding, it is possible that it was actually implantation bleeding. So that's why I told her to take a pregnancy test NOW: that's to check if she got pregnant in her previous cycle. Then she should take a pregnancy test when she expects her next period if it hasn't shown up. Her next period will probably arrive on schedule if she has regular periods. Cycles sometimes last longer than expected because of emotional stress, but this is because ovulation itself is delayed. If she has ovulated already -- which is possible, as I think her current light spotting is ovulatory -- then her luteal phase should be the usual 14 days or so.

So she tests NOW to check that she didn't get pregnant last cycle, and she tests AGAIN in 2 weeks or so if her period doesn't show up on schedule.
posted by rosebuddy at 11:19 AM on September 11, 2008

I had heavy spotting after I got pregnant with my first child, and bleeding with the second one, also when a period would have been due.

With the first, had I not already had a pregnancy test and known I was pregnant, I would not have realized it wasn't a real period. In other words, your mileage on this can most definitely vary.
posted by konolia at 12:25 PM on September 11, 2008

I can't really add anything that hasn't been said other than that I also recommend the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". It has a lot of very useful information about understanding what is going on with your body. Even if you decide not to track your temperature, as described in the book, it is a very good general women's health reference.

Another place to track your cycles -- for free -- is . It is geared to women who are trying to get pregnant, but I use it and am avoiding pregnancy.
posted by apricot at 1:12 PM on September 11, 2008

With the first, had I not already had a pregnancy test and known I was pregnant, I would not have realized it wasn't a real period.

Yes. I think that this is where the idea that "you can be pregnant and still have your period" comes from: some women get pregnant and have vaginal bleeding that looks, to them, like their menstrual period. It is not, but people who generally have sparse menstrual bleeding, or who have unusually profuse early-pregnancy bleeding, can confuse the two for quite understandable reasons.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:32 PM on September 11, 2008

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