YANMG, but could I be pregnant?
March 22, 2011 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Are my baby fears warranted?

I had (protected, with a condom) sex 19 days ago. Three days ago (16 days after sex) I started spotting. It was enough to reach my underwear, and looked exactly like the start of my period, at the right time. This was on Sunday, and I haven't bled since then... enough to show up a TINY bit on a tampon but nothing more. It's basically stopped now.

I am terrified I could be pregnant. Last year I had elevated prolactin levels that were stopping my period (it was very irregular for about two years after going off BC) but I haven't skipped a period since last May. A few months ago I had a really painful period where I was vomiting, stuck in bed all day, felt faint and sweaty from the pain etc. My mom had endometriosis so I guess that's a possibility. Usually my periods start off light for one day, then get semi-heavy for two or three days, then light at the end. They last for four or five days.

Has anyone here had endometriosis and premenstrual spotting? What is implantation bleeding like? Some websites say it's not enough to reach your underwear and should happen 6 to 12 days after you have sex, is this true?

I have never spotted before in my life and I am terrified. I know I need to go to a gyno or at least get a pregnany test, but I just want some reassurance that something besides pregnancy could be the cause. I am freaking out thinking that maybe the man I slept with didn't even really use a condom or that it broke without my noticing.. I was sort of drunk. Is it obvious when condoms break? I could call and ask but I don't want to freak him out.

I am living in a country where abortion is illegal and I have no support system. A pregnancy would devastate me, and I have no clue how I would practically deal with it. I am going to call a gyno tomorrow, but can anyone reassure me tonight?
posted by queens86 to Health & Fitness (23 answers total)
19 days is enough time for a home pregnancy test to give a valid result. Are they not available over the counter where you are?
posted by slow graffiti at 7:19 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Implantation bleeding would usually occur less than 16 days after sex. But I think you know that there are no absolutes. Is your period regular now? When was it due this month?
posted by amro at 7:19 PM on March 22, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, it's pretty regular now. There was a month when it came maybe a week later than it should have a little bit ago. My last one started Feb 23, and this one was due right about when I started spotting.
posted by queens86 at 7:22 PM on March 22, 2011

I think, given the fact that you're pretty sure you used a condom combined with the timing of the bleeding combined with the fact that your periods aren't always regular, it's unlikely that you're pregnant. But if you can, I recommend that you take a home pregnancy test now rather than obsessing over this until your period decides to show up.
posted by amro at 7:25 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the only way you are going to know for sure is the test. That sounds exactly like the spotting I had when I was pregnant (reaching my underwear, but barely anything on a tampon), but as you noted it is late and your periods are not normal and could be affected by other conditions even if they've been normal recently.

However, if a pregnancy would devaste you as much as you say and abortions are not an option, then you need to have a back up plan along with a condom to prevent future scares like this. Hormonal birth controls are great for this, talk to you gyno about finding something that will work for you.

For now though, get to a store and buy a test as soon as you can to put your mind at ease.
posted by katers890 at 7:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Take a pregnancy test, but every couple months I get a cycle that sounds like this--usually my furrealz period starts a day or two after the spotting stops completely. I am also usually a neurotic, hormonal mess by then (awesome!).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:30 PM on March 22, 2011

I had a scare once from a super-light period due to stress. I'm not usually consciously aware of stress but as soon as I found out that stress COULD cause light periods, it was like a light bulb came on - ooh, yeah, final exams were that week... So if you've been stressed lately - which means physically stressed, so changes to diet, changes to sleep patterns, etc. not just 'too much work' - it could definitely have an effect on your cycle.
posted by Lady Li at 7:34 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and consider picking up a copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves"--it really helped me understand my cycle better and how, say, traveling when you're ovulating can cause you to ovulate later, for example.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:38 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buy 2 or 3 pregnancy tests. Take one ASAP, the next ones over the next few days. It's not really necessary, but will give you peace of mind (if you're neurotic like some of us out there).
posted by elpea at 7:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have had several pregnancy "scares" exactly like that, a bit of spotting at the normal time, then nothing. Each time it was because I was so stressed I might be pregnant that it inhibited my period. Getting the test brought on my period.
posted by saucysault at 7:43 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: well, I just took a test... result "invalid." No line either way... great. It's too late at night to buy another test, and I am too nervous to concentrate on anything now.
posted by queens86 at 8:06 PM on March 22, 2011

Your last period started on February 23rd. You say you had sex 19 days ago. That would be on March 3, yes? So, that was 8 days after the start of your last period. It's pretty unlikely you ovulated 8 days into your cycle; your most fertile time is generally 12 to 15 days from the start of your period. To be sure you're not pregnant, though, you need a pregnancy test. Call up a very good friend, let them know you're freaking out, and ask them to go with you to buy/take one.

Take a breath, get the test, and go forward with the facts. Oh, and stop reading all the pregnancy web sites! They're just going to make you more insane than you already feel, and they're only going to succeed in convincing you you have every pregnancy symptom under the sun.

On preview, there's nothing you can do about your invalid result tonight. Nothing. Not. A. Thing. It could be that the test was a dud. It could be that the test got contaminated somehow. It could be any number of things. You cannot do a thing about this until morning. I suggest you pour a glass of whiskey, hunker down under your covers, put on some soothing music, and try to get some sleep until you can get another test tomorrow. Breathe, woman.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 8:19 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Frig, when I made the book suggestion upthread, I actually meant "Taking Charge of Your Fertility." Sorry--complete brain fart! They're both good books about things like birth control--but TCOYF will help you understand your cycle, specifically, better.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:14 PM on March 22, 2011

I don't disagree with everyone's advice to relax and take a breath. Given the timing of the bleeding, it sounds like you had a really light period this month. OTC pregnancy tests are always most reliable first thing in the morning with your first morning urine. Even if you don't have a stick on hand for the morning (always buy multiples!), try to hold it until you can dash to the store.

I also have to say, though, that TryTheTilapia is absolutely wrong. It sounds like your cycle is shorter than the normal 28 days. My cycle is about 24 days, and after my adventures with charting, day 8 is absolutely the beginning of the danger zone. (3 days prior to ovulation - some methods say to try to conceive 3 days before ovulation to increase your probability of having a girl by about 15%, silly but useful to know. My luteal phase is 14 days on the dot.)

If you're not ready to be pregnant, I can't recommend TCOYF (see above) enough! It is super useful and helpful. I've been charting for about 2 years since I decided that I was done with hormonal BC. I have an app on my iPhone to plug in my numbers/measurements daily. And I wish I had read that book when I was 16. The knowledge will always serve as a highly useful supplement to whichever BC you use.
posted by Kronur at 1:47 AM on March 23, 2011

Always buy the three-pack; also, the first morning urine is the most concentrated in terms of pregnancy testing. Go have a glass of water and get some sleep, buy the three-pack in the morning, try it all again the next morning.

(Spotted for three days prior to last period. Mr. F has a vasectomy and I was still flipped out. Totally normal to be flipped out.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:58 AM on March 23, 2011

Response by poster: I can't buy one this morning because I have to be at work before any store opens. Is it totally crazy to be late to work for this?
posted by queens86 at 3:38 AM on March 23, 2011

I'm not absolutely wrong.

Go ahead and read the facts. Calculate your approximate ovulation date yourself. Also, click the Menstrual Cycle tab to read the general overview about how ovulation works, which you've no doubt already done all over the web. Once you've done that, take another breath and reassure yourself that ovulating on March 3 - 8 days into your cycle - after your last period started on February 23, would be atypical. Not impossible, but atypical. Only a pregnancy test can tell you for sure.

Take the morning off from work and go get another test. Your not going to be able to concentrate anyway. Keep breathing. You're going to get through this.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 4:20 AM on March 23, 2011

Response by poster: Okay, so I skipped the first hour or so at work and went to the closest 24 hr pharmacy and took one--NEGATIVE! Thank God. When would be the best time to take a second test, just in case? Because I am totally neurotic about this ...

TryTheTilapia, that calender is pretty cool. I had never seen that .... but it says that my most fertile period is assuming my next period starts March 29. Since I started early (if what is happening is indeed my period) wouldn't it throw the dates out of whack and put my most fertile time earlier, around when I had sex?

Thanks guys. I am going to make an appointment with a gyno to make sure nothing weird is going on.
posted by queens86 at 4:42 AM on March 23, 2011


I'm glad to hear this. I've been watching this thread and hoping the best for you.

I wholeheartedly support your plan to schedule a gynecologist appointment to get a pregnancy test (if you really, really, really want to be sure) and talk to them about your menstrual irregularities. Getting all of the facts about pregnancy and ovulation and a routine physical exam to make sure everything's in order is the best course.

Best of luck. I'm glad you can breathe a little easier today.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 5:37 AM on March 23, 2011

So glad for you, queens86. Something you might consider is tracking your cycle. I use mymonthlycycles.com--you enter the dates of your period (as well as your side effects, etc), and based on past data, it estimates the date when you're ovulating, as well as predicting when your next cycle starts. I just got an email telling me I'd be getting my period, went to the bathroom, and there it was! Pretty awesome. It's helped mea lot when I was spazzing about issues like this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:26 AM on March 23, 2011

Okay, since now you are not pregnant, I can also say that as far as the endometriosis goes, it doesn't sound like that is your issue to me. With endometriosis, you usually have breakthrough bleeding or spotting every month or so in addition to really heavy periods and abdominal pain. You periods don't last longer than average and they don't sound terribly heavy, you've only had this slight spotting this month--I think you are okay on that score.
posted by misha at 10:35 AM on March 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the support you guys! I feel so much better.

I usually just track mine using my Google calender, but it would be useful to know when I'm ovulating, even though it might not be accurate since I can be irregular. I'm going to check out that calender though.
posted by queens86 at 3:12 PM on March 23, 2011

There is also such a thing as an ovulation test, that works pretty much like a pregnancy test you take at home. They aren't that expensive bought in bulk online, and usually people use them to know when to have sex to get pregnant, but of course if you just want to know when you typically ovulate you can get a pack and track at home for a few months.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2011

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