Or am I just extra not pregnant?
January 2, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Can an "extra" period be a sign of pregnancy?

20-year-old female here, not on birth control. I got an "extra" period this month - one the second week of December when I was supposed to get it, one two and a half weeks later.

Usually I am pretty regular and when I'm not it's always late, and I also typically miss one or two a year, so getting an extra one is kind of weird. But, I've been pretty busy/stressed lately so I'm not too concerned health wise, I'm just curious of this could be pregnancy spotting or something? They looked like normal periods to me.

The last time I had sex was a week before the first period, it was once and with a condom and the last time before that was a year ago, so my chances aren't really high. But, I've also been having a few other "possibly pregnant" symptoms like fatigue and sore muscles, though they may also be related to my stress, and Google is giving me mixed answers.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you think about it too hard, anything can seem like a sign of pregnancy. Why not just go get a test or two and put your mind at rest?
posted by greta simone at 9:22 PM on January 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's more likely you ovulated an extra time or had breakthrough bleeding, but it IS possible to have implantation bleeding and then some first trimester bleeding which could, in theory, occur around those two times you mention -- although it seems very unlikely, and early pregnancy bleeding isn't usually very much like menstrual bleeding (for most women) ... it's usually much, much lighter, and often browner.

But there's an easy solution to this: Go to the drugstore, buy a pregnancy test, and pee on it. The magic stick will set your mind at ease.

(And if you are pregnant and having first trimester bleeding, that's the kind of thing OBs always want to hear about right away.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:26 PM on January 2, 2011

When I was pregnant, I ended up getting what I thought was my period about a week/week and a half early. It was probably implantation bleeding; it was super-light and brown-ish, not bloody. It was off enough that I thought something was amiss, and obsessed about it for awhile before taking a pregnancy test.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 9:45 PM on January 2, 2011

I'm usually a 28-days-exactly kind of girl, always have been most of the time. But randomly I've been early, and I've been late. and the only thing that put my mind at ease was to pee on a stick. Just do it! It won't be the last time you have a scare, believe me. Just one of the pratfalls of being sexually active, condoms or no.
posted by custard heart at 10:09 PM on January 2, 2011

You're in extra need of a stick to pee on, basically. Happens to everyone. Buy the two-pack and hang onto the other one for the next time you're anxious about it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:46 PM on January 2, 2011

Also: pregnancy tests are more expensive than they need to be. Ask your pharmacist if they have any of the strip kind that you dip into a cup of pee. They're a lot cheaper and it's easier to pee into a cup than onto a stick.

I suggest using a disposable cup.
posted by teraspawn at 3:41 AM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

I agree with teraspawn about recommending the strip/dip cup type. And if the cost is really getting you, dollar stores (dollar tree, if you're in the us) has pregnancy tests that have been tested to be the same as the $10-$15 versions.
posted by lemniskate at 4:34 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

pregnancy tests are more expensive than they need to be.

True, as are condoms. However, when I visit FPA (the Australian version of Planned Parenthood), they give both of 'em away for free if you ask. Maybe ask your doc the next time you go for a check-up?
posted by jaynewould at 5:12 AM on January 3, 2011

Just came in to mention target has a 3 pack test for about $10. Put your mind at ease.
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:13 AM on January 3, 2011

Your level of physical activity can impact your menstrual cycle. I am very physically active, and my bleeding nearly goes away if I am active; if I have an interval of less activity, I get an extra period. Some foods like lavender or sage will cause an extra period since they influence the hormones. So, it could that you have been relatively inactive or ingesting some substance that influences your hormones, or your body is seasonally sensitive to light.
posted by effluvia at 8:25 AM on January 3, 2011

FWIW, pregnancy spotting is usually much lighter than a normal period. This doesn't sound like a sign of pregnancy to me, but yeah - as with everyone else - I'm going to chime in on the "Just pee on a stick already" chorus.
posted by sonika at 8:58 AM on January 3, 2011

Throwing this out on a limb possibility out there: did you by any chance spend the holidays somewhere where another female was staying too? Because I have a thing with my sister where whenever we're both visiting my parents we mess each other's cycles up, and lo, it happened this year too. I got my period about a week or two before visiting them, and then I got my period again this week which is way sooner than normal. We've always done this to each other, I was half expecting it even though it's been years since we were last under the same roof for it to happen. There's been papers/scientific stuff to back it up too, but I'm lazy...something something pheromones something something synchronized ovulation and whatnot.
posted by ifjuly at 8:59 AM on January 3, 2011

And yeah, abrupt changes in diet, activity level, and stress (holidays can be stressful for sure) or physical trauma will jack your cycle up too. Any time I've been in the hospital I immediately get my period regardless of how recent my last period was, ditto initial major changes in eating or exercise patterns.
posted by ifjuly at 9:01 AM on January 3, 2011

Implantation bleeding is rare, though perhaps as many as one-quarter of pregnant women do experience it. Any unscheduled bleeding is far more likely to be from other causes.

Take a pregnancy test. It has been long enough since the potential risk to be determinative. I am quite sure you're not pregnant, but taking the test will reassure you.

What they used to tell us in peer counselor training was "The only reliable symptoms of pregnancy are a positive pregnancy test or a baby." Everything else is more likely to be a symptom of a million other things, from sore breasts to nausea to fatigue to unscheduled vaginal bleeding.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:19 AM on January 3, 2011

just recently i bled twice in one month after not doing that since the very first month i got my period. i'm still blessedly unknocked up. i do keep an extra pee stick around so that if i'm ever stressing i can just take the test and calm down (because whatever cycle weirdness i'm having, stress will never, ever help).
posted by nadawi at 10:13 AM on January 3, 2011

Implantation bleeding is rare, though perhaps as many as one-quarter of pregnant women do experience it.

FWIW, I had implantation bleeding. It lasted one day and was both darker in color and lighter in flow than my normal period and showed up 9 days after my period *should* have. This is, from what I understand, what implantation normally looks like. It rarely is heavy enough to mimic an actual period.
posted by sonika at 11:34 AM on January 3, 2011

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