Is my girlfriend pregnant?
August 22, 2006 4:30 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's period is overdue, by 5 days. We had unprotected sex but I did not ejaculate inside her. Pregnant? more inside....

I live in the States & she in Mexico. 2 days after my last visit, about a month ago she's noticed her body changing (feeling tender & generally weird) and recently (4 days ago) her breasts started lactating.

She's had a prenancy test (store bought) that came back negative, but we are worried that it just hasn't registered yet?. To top it off, a good friend of hers that she has been hanging out with alot, became pregnant around the time she started noticing her own body change.

I'm going to visit her this weekend and we intend to go to the doctors to find out for sure.

What do you think about the chances of her been pregnant? Is it normal/unusual for women to lactate without been pregnant? Could these be phantom symptoms due to her friends pregnancy? Any similar experiences?

We'll know for sure at the w/end, just hoped to learn more in the meantime.

Thanks.
posted by leftfooter to Health & Fitness (24 answers total)
 
Unprotected sex can result in a pregnancy despite not ejaculating inside her.

Get it checked out.
posted by knapah at 4:36 PM on August 22, 2006


Women's bodies do strange things. Especially when pregnant or stressed, either of which could be the reason for the lactation.
posted by sian at 4:43 PM on August 22, 2006


Is it normal/unusual for women to lactate without been pregnant?

It's unusual, but it's also unusual to lactate so early in a pregnancy. Or during the pregnancy at all, for that matter.

To top it off, a good friend of hers that she has been hanging out with alot, became pregnant around the time she started noticing her own body change.

Pregnancy isn't contagious. But is it possible that your girlfriend is a bit suggestible, and thinks she might be pregnant because her friend is? Maybe her friend is discussing her symptoms with her, and your girlfriend thinks she's experiencing them, too.

At any rate, it's certainly possible that she's pregnant.
posted by amro at 4:44 PM on August 22, 2006


As others have noted, yes, it's possible she's pregnant. But also, as amro noted, if she is pregnant, it would be unusual to be lactating at this point. Is she sure she's lactating? For example, an intraductal papilloma (a noncancerous growth on a milk duct) can cause nipple discharge.
posted by scody at 4:55 PM on August 22, 2006


Could her friend's hormonal changes be affecting her, too? Do they live together or hang out a lot? Women's periods will harmonize if they're living together - maybe some extreme version of the same process is happening.

How reliable are the store-bought tests in Mexico? It would seem odd that her body is experiencing such drastic symptoms but that it wouldn't register on a test - maybe that's a good indication that she's not pregnant. It's a good idea to check it out, in any event. Guys can, ahem, leak without ejaculating - if this turns out to be just a scare, maybe take it as a warning. (Or if she is pregnant, and you didn't ejaculate, well...are you sure it's yours? Sorry, don't mean to imply anything, just a thought in case.)

Finally, the fact that her period is late could itself be the reason she's lactating - she's got a lot of hormones built up and her body is for some reason just waiting to get them out. It will all clear up in a day or two. I'm just guessing at this, my point is women's bodies are odd things and there's no need to panic.
posted by Dasein at 4:56 PM on August 22, 2006


If used correctly, retail pregnancy-test kits yield a very low rate of false-negative results (at the expense of a higher rate of false-positives). And they're pretty fool proof -- just about the only mistakes you could make are a) using it too soon after suspected impregnation, b) aiming wide when you try to pee on it.

While it's possible that she's pregnant, it's somewhat improbable.
posted by randomstriker at 5:07 PM on August 22, 2006


How reliable are the store-bought tests in Mexico?

Oh please, drop that scaremongering about conditions in the third-world. Unless you go to a blantantly unreputable source, pharmaceuticals sold in Mexico are of the same quality (and usually manufactured by the same companies) as those sold in the US.

Assume the pregnancy-test kit is correct for now, don't stress yourself out, and go to the doctor for the final word.
posted by randomstriker at 5:12 PM on August 22, 2006


Lactation is very strange that early in a pregnancy. However, cessation of menstruation along with lactation can be symptoms of hyperprolactinemia. She should see a doctor, one way or the other.
posted by headspace at 5:14 PM on August 22, 2006


There are slight chances for false negatives with OTC pregnancy tests, even slighter (almost to nil) for false positive. Odds are, she's not pregnant, but have her take another OTC test later this week to double-check.

Check the brand versus the chart here. If it's one of the "15-25 mIU" dipsticks, they're the most sensitive, but honestly, all of these sticks should show a positive result one month after conception (which is in-line with your indicated last visit, and assumes that her cycle is normally regular and that you didn't have sex while she was menstruating -- basically, the assumption here is that she is actually "late" and regular enough to know when "late" is). In fact, the test the doc's likely to do (if they do a urine test) is of the same sensitivity as the more sensitive sticks on the chart above.

Could she be pregnant? Yes, she could. Is she likely to be pregnant? No.

I know you're not here for the lecture, but if you're going to have unprotected sex, she should be on birth control. Unless, of course, you both want and can handle kids. :)
posted by Merdryn at 5:23 PM on August 22, 2006


Of course it's possible that she's pregnant, but it's also possible that the stress of thinking she may be pregnant could itself be delaying her period.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:30 PM on August 22, 2006


Oh please, drop that scaremongering about conditions in the third-world. Unless you go to a blantantly unreputable source, pharmaceuticals sold in Mexico are of the same quality (and usually manufactured by the same companies) as those sold in the US.

Who's scaremongering? It was a legitimate question, which, after being an asshole, you managed to answer perfectly well.
posted by Dasein at 5:32 PM on August 22, 2006


Dasein, do you have a concrete, specific reason for questioning the quality of pharmaceuticals sold in Mexico? If not, you are introducing unnecessary further doubt for someone who is already stressed out, which (whether your intention or not) plays on flawed stereotypes about Mexico. I don't know what you mean by "legitimate question", but I wouldn't categorize it as helpful.
posted by randomstriker at 5:52 PM on August 22, 2006


While it is in the realm of possibility if you did not ejaculate inside of her (and I mean didn't start and pull out but pulled out and ejaculated), then it is almost near impossible for her to get pregnant. Seriously coitus interruptus is not as dangerous as people say it is as the sperm counts in pre-ejaculate fluid are incredibly low and largely immobile. I'm going to bet on your girlfriend freaking out and thinking she's pregnant. Withdrawal gets a bad wrap because it is often used by 15 year olds who have no idea what they are doing. I am probably going to get shouted down for this but there are several PubMed articles which agree with me.
posted by geoff. at 6:42 PM on August 22, 2006


Not to scare you, but FWIW I lactated and got a negative test. The next week the test came back positive, and my ten-month-old daughter is now bouncing on my lap, helping me type.
posted by rdc at 6:53 PM on August 22, 2006


RDC, I also took a drugstore test when I was late. Negative. Another test after a week had a different result. My now nine-month-old son is another fairly strong indicator that the first test's negative was false.
posted by ROTFL at 7:12 PM on August 22, 2006


Guys can, ahem, leak without ejaculating

My 10th grade science teacher on this topic: "Guys dribble before they shoot."
posted by Famous at 7:47 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm going to bet on your girlfriend freaking out and thinking she's pregnant.

I've never heard of anyone "freaking" themselves into lactation. Women's moods and hormones are not really that powerful guys.

If she's only taken one test, she should at the very least take another one a few days later. If it's still negative she should go see the doctor anyway just because lactating is not normal.
posted by fshgrl at 8:03 PM on August 22, 2006


Dasein, do you have a concrete, specific reason for questioning the quality of pharmaceuticals sold in Mexico?

Mostly it had to do with the fact that in poor countries, governments don't regulate the production of pharmaceuticals as closely. It's like asking, "Do you have any concrete, specific reason to question the quality of a Russian-made car?" Well, depends on how you define specific.

But since you ask: "Pharmaceuticals produced in Guatemala by local manufacturers are not considered high quality products. Mexican produced pharmaceuticals are also considered inferior."

I'm not saying the pregnancy test was necessarily innaccurate, but it's not unreasonable to think that it might well be less accurate than what you'd get in the U.S.
posted by Dasein at 9:13 PM on August 22, 2006


I would say she should wait a bit and then take another pregnancy test. I know that there is a danger of a false negative if she takes the test too soon after possible impregnation. However, I think that danger decreases to almost nothing after the first couple weeks.

Meanwhile, try your best not to worry. Worrying never helps anything.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:28 PM on August 22, 2006


A period can come late due to pregnancy worries. Also, geoff is right that there is hardly any viable sperm in pre-ejaculate.
posted by teleskiving at 3:24 AM on August 23, 2006


I've never heard of anyone "freaking" themselves into lactation. Women's moods and hormones are not really that powerful guys.

Well, except they are.

I'm loath to link to only wikipedia about this, but false pregnancy is a viable condition in which a woman who believes she is pregnant produces symptoms aligned with pregnancy. This ties in with your suspicions about her pregnant friend.
posted by hugsnkisses at 7:41 AM on August 23, 2006


From the wiki article: Mostly the cause of the enlarged stomach is because of backup of urine or feces.

I'm not disputing the existence of false pregnancy as a phenomenon, but...WTF?
posted by scody at 7:49 AM on August 23, 2006


Premature withdrawal lowers pregnancy rates to about one-fifth of what they would be using no birth control strategy. The rating is 0.19. That is about 19% of couples with average fertility having sex an average number of times will become pregnant over the course of a year - versus 85% using no birth control.
As testified to above, the test kits are not as accurate early after conception. Most conception takes place during ovulation which is roughly during a week in the middle of her cycle. If she is five days late for her period, she is most likely three weeks pregnant (if she is pregnant). Within another week the test should be positive or else something else is going on.
If she is not pregnant, maybe she is somehow being exposed to hormones in her environment (she and her friend) or else I would have her checked for a hormone secreting growth (I'm avoiding the word tumor here, because it is more likely otherwise benign.)
Some drugs cause premature lactation as a potential side effect and could be disrupting her periods.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:06 AM on August 23, 2006


I would second Dasein's comment about reliability. But more for the reason of not knowing the shelf life of these tests and therefore whether it was out of date but kept on the shelf for sale. I guess that means I'm a non-PC Third-world mexi-hater.

Spend a few bucks on a clinic visit and get a serum (blood) pregnancy test, for starters.
posted by docpops at 8:45 AM on August 23, 2006


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