Why Do I Feel Pregnant on My Period?

It is possible that normal hormonal fluctuations that occur during menstruation are the cause of feeling pregnant while you are on your period. a different illness, possibly the flu. Symptoms of fatigue or nausea that are not related to pregnancy, for example

Feeling pregnant? If you have been trying to conceive, this is definitely something to get excited about. You feel pregnant. You are experiencing fatigue, cravings, and possibly even nausea, which are all signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Then, however, you either get your period or the pregnancy test turns out to be negative. What exactly does it all signify?

It is not unusual to experience pregnancy symptoms even in the absence of a positive test result for pregnancy. If you spend any amount of time on fertility message boards or social media sites, you will eventually come across members who talk about “imaginary pregnancy symptoms.” Are you sure you’re not just making up these sensations? Maybe not.

1. You’re pregnant, but you’re testing too early 

You know how pregnancy tests say you can “test 5 days sooner!” on the package? That refers to how many days before your expected period you can test yourself and get an accurate result.

But if you read the fine print, the likelihood of accurate results starts out kinda small at the 5-day mark, increasing as you get closer to your period.

If it’s way too far from your expected period date, you won’t have enough pregnancy hormone in your urine yet to trigger a positive result on the test.

The easiest solution here is to simply wait a few days, or even all the way until you’re past due for your period (hard to do, we know!). Even re-testing again in 72 hours, though, could land you a different result.

2. You’re pregnant, but your hormone levels are too low for an at-home test 

OK, so you waited until you actually missed your period and the test still came up negative?

Time to consider the time of day you peed on the stick. If you’re very newly pregnant, your hCG levels (that’s human chorionic gonadotropin, for the uninitiated, a hormone produced by a growing placenta) could still be on the lower side, especially later in the day when your urine is more diluted by what you’ve had to drink.

For more accurate results, test yourself first thing in the morning so you’re using your most potent urine. Icky, but effective!

3. You’re pregnant, but you’re overly hydrated 

The more diluted your urine is, the less hCG will be present — and the less likely you are to get a positive result. What dilutes your urine? Good ol’ H20.

If you’re a committed hydrator (we see you with your half-gallon HydroJug), it’s possible you’re too good at flushing out your system. Who knew?

Don’t cut back entirely on water, just don’t drink too much the night before or the morning of taking your test.

4. You’re pregnant, but you misused the test 

Even though they’re pretty straightforward, reputable pregnancy tests always include instructions.

And while most pregnancy tests are designed to work the same basic way (and it’s not rocket science anymore, thankfully), you still need to perform your specific brand of test accordingly.

If you didn’t pee on the right part of the testing strip, didn’t lay the test down flat and faceup, or if you let it sit for too long on your bathroom vanity before checking, it can mess up your results.

5. You’re pregnant, but you bought a faulty test 

Just like any other mass-manufactured product, pregnancy tests can arrive at the store damaged, expire on the shelves or in the back of your bathroom cabinet, get exposed to too-high or too-low temperatures during transit, or just… not work. Nothing’s perfect!

We don’t want to give you the kind of false hope that sends you running out for duplicate and triplicate tests every time you get a negative result, but it is possible for tests to malfunction.

If you have a legit reason to think something may have been wrong (looking at you, tests from the Dollar Store checkout line), by all means buy a fresh test from a different store and try again.

But maybe take a break after that — it’s unlikely you’ll get two faulty tests in a row.

6. You’re pregnant, but you have a rare situation on your hands 

Because we like to keep you in-the-know, there are some less-common scenarios that can lead to a false negative on a pregnancy test:

  • Ectopic pregnancy. When a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy and, sadly, it’s not viable. Because your placenta won’t grow like it should, your hCG levels won’t always rise to detectable amounts (although in many cases they will, and you’ll get a positive test) — but you may have pregnancy symptoms. These types of pregnancies are rare but can turn serious if left untreated, so if you also have severe pain or vaginal bleeding, seek medical care ASAP.
  • Cryptic pregnancy. It’s super rare, and often the stuff sensational news stories are made of, but it’s possible to have a cryptic pregnancy that conventional pregnancy tests never detect. There are varying reasons for this, including certain conditions that cause fluctuating hormone levels that may give you period-like bleeding — thus preventing you from taking a test until a later stage of pregnancy. (See next bullet point.)
  • Later-state pregnancy. Most OTC pregnancy tests are designed to recognize hCG levels within a certain range, so if your hCG levels are lower or higher than what the test is able to detect, you’ll get a negative result. When hCG levels are so high that the test misses them completely, it’s called the “hook effect,” and it can happen when you’re further along in your pregnancy than just a few weeks. Hormones rise continually throughout pregnancy; if you have irregular periods or lost track of when you were last supposed to get one, you could be far enough along in your pregnancy that an OTC test won’t read your higher levels of hCG.

In these cases, a blood test or ultrasound performed at your doctor’s office is the best way to confirm if you are, in fact, pregnant.

7. You’re not pregnant — you’re about to get your period 

You know what medical condition feels a lot like pregnancy? Menstruation.

The same body system and hormones are involved, so it makes sense. Rising levels of progesterone during PMS can cause symptoms that mimic pregnancy to a T, whether it’s tender breasts, a ravenous appetite, mild cramping, moodiness and fatigue, spotting, or even nausea.

When you’re newly pregnant, your progesterone levels also rise, so these two events can, unfortunately, cause some confusing overlap in how they make you feel.

The solution here is just to wait a few days: If you’re PMSing, you’ll get your period, and if you’re pregnant, you won’t (and another pregnancy test in a few days may let you know).

8. You’re not pregnant — you’re ovulating 

Ovulation — which happens about midway through a typical cycle — doesn’t have as many symptoms in common with pregnancy as menstruation does, but you could still experience breast tenderness, mild cramping, and occasionally nausea during the time when your uterus releases its monthly egg.

If you’re not tracking your periods and don’t know exactly where you are in your cycle, you could be forgiven for mistaking ovulation for early signs of pregnancy… but you may have to wait around 12–15 daysTrusted Source before finding out if your fertile window was fruitful.

9. You’re not pregnant — you’re having psychosomatic symptoms 

Here’s the tricky thing many of us have found about wanting to be pregnant really badly: Sometimes, that desire is so intense that your brain has a hard time thinking of anything else.

We get it — once you decide you’re ready for a baby, getting a negative test result can be crushing.

Your very real desire can lead to symptom spotting, and to be honest, Dr. Google doesn’t help.

Put in any symptom + pregnant and you’re bound to get some hits. Your nausea isn’t because you skipped breakfast, it’s because you’re pregnant. Your fatigue isn’t because you started a new diet, it’s because you’re pregnant.

When you put on pregnancy-tinted glasses, it’s hard to think objectively.

If you can, try to avoid the symptom spotting trap. If you are pregnant, you’ll know soon… but if it turns out you’re not, you may end up feeling even more disappointed.

10. You’re not pregnant — you’re having drug side effects 

If you’ve been having trouble conceiving and are undergoing fertility treatments, remember that those drugs are designed, in part, to elevate your hormone levels.

Therapies that increase progesterone or block estrogen can cause symptoms that mimic both PMS and pregnancy, including nausea, bloating, tender breasts, and changes in mood.

If you’re not sure whether your pregnancy-like symptoms are due to actual pregnancy or just a side effect of whatever fertility treatments you’re on, give your OB-GYN or reproductive medicine doctor a call. They should know where you are in your cycle and whether it’s possible you could be pregnant (or not).

How to deal with the roller coaster of trying to conceive

Almost everything having to do with pregnancy involves waiting: waiting until your period is due to take a pregnancy test, waiting those looooooong 3 minutes to check the results, waiting until the next month to try again, waiting 9 whole months for your baby to be born once you actually get pregnant.

In other words, nothing is instantaneous and there are a lot of unknowns.

This can make the journey to having a baby more than a little rocky. To cope, try these tips:

  • Stay in the present. You can’t change the past or predict the future, right? Take it one day at a time.
  • Maintain a mutual hobby or activity with your spouse or partner that doesn’t involve baby making. You’re still a couple, and it’s important to protect the health of your relationship.
  • Find your inner peace. When you feel yourself getting stressed about conceiving, have a go-to activity that calms you down. Make it something you look forward to, so it’s more of a positive experience and less of a consolation prize.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re hoping to conceive naturally, know where you’ll go for fertility treatments if necessary. If you’re hoping to conceive biologically, think about whether you would also be open to adoption or fostering. Sometimes, remembering that you have other options — and that a negative test result isn’t a dead end — can help you stay optimistic from one month to the next.

Symptoms of Pregnancy During Periods

You’re not sleeping well, your breasts are swollen, and your period is five days later than it should be… And could that slight queasy feeling be the beginning of morning sickness? Could you be pregnant?

We would say that there is only one way to tell, and that is to take a pregnancy test, but in reality, that is not entirely accurate: The use of pregnancy tests that can be purchased over-the-counter is a fast and easy way to determine whether or not you are pregnant; however, these tests are not even close to being 100 percent accurate.

There is a possibility of a false negative result, a false positive result, or any result in between. “Hands up if you’ve ever been caught holding that pee-soaked stick under a light while you tried to decode symbols that look like Egyptian hieroglyphics… yeah, us too,” the question asks.

Why is it so difficult to find out at home if you are pregnant, especially when you have the sore boobs and queasy stomach to back it up? Especially when you have the sore boobs and queasy stomach to back it up. Here are ten of the possible explanations for why you might feel pregnant but end up with a negative pregnancy test result: it turns out there are a lot of reasons why you might feel pregnant.

Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms

Imaginary pregnancy symptoms (IPS) are exactly what they sound like: symptoms women experience that make them think that they may be pregnant. Don’t expect to hear your doctor mention IPS. It’s not a technical term. The phrase was invented by the fertility-challenged as a loving way to refer to those obnoxious “symptoms” that haunt you during the two-week wait.

The time between ovulation and your expected period is when you’re most likely to be anxious about whether or not this month will be the month. This is also the time when you may be more likely to experience tender breasts, fatigue, bloating, emotional sensitivity, light cramping, and even food cravings. These could be signs of early pregnancy, yes, but also fluctuating premenstrual hormones.

 Can You Spot the Early Symptoms of Pregnancy?

PMS vs. Pregnancy

Sometimes, sensations that seem like pregnancy are actually hormones in your body that are preparing for a possible, if not actual, baby. Women’s bodies are optimistic when it comes to pregnancy potential. As soon as ovulation occurs, the body starts preparing for a new life. This occurs even if conception did not take place.

One of the hormones responsible for maintaining a healthy early pregnancy is progesterone. Progesterone levels rise after ovulation, about midway through your menstrual cycle (or halfway between periods).1 If you become pregnant, progesterone levels will continue to rise as your body gets ready to support a developing baby. If you don’t conceive, your progesterone levels will dip back down when your period arrives.

Surging progesterone can make you feel tired and emotional. This hormone is also responsible for tender breasts, constipation, and fluid retention. These symptoms may be quite prominent even if you aren’t pregnant, especially if you are sensitive to progesterone.2 If you have conceived, these symptoms are likely to progress, since progesterone levels climb steadily throughout pregnancy.

Fertility Drug Side Effects

If you are working with a doctor to improve your chances of conceiving, it’s important to know that fertility drug side effects can sometimes be mistaken for early pregnancy symptoms. Progesterone supplements can cause nausea and a frequent urination.3 Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) treatments like oral clomiphine citrate drugs or injectable gonadotropin may lead to moodiness, sore breasts, and bloating.4

Be sure to keep in close touch with your fertility specialist to understand all possible side effects of any medications you are taking. This is a good idea to not only ensure you are in good health throughout treatments, but to also help temper expectations month to month.

False Pregnancy (Pseudocyesis)

Rarely, someone can have very real physiological manifestations of pregnancy and not be pregnant at all. This psychiatric condition is known as pseudocyesis.

In pseudocyesis, people may have observable symptoms of pregnancy, including missed periods, nausea, breast and belly growth, sensations of baby kicks, and even labor pains. Now rare in developed countries due to wide access to prenatal care, pseudocyesis is still not fully understood by doctors. Recent research suggests that people with pseudocyesis may experience hormonal fluctuations that stem from stress related to pressure to conceive.5

Don’t pin your hopes on a result of an online pregnancy quiz. By asking a series of questions on pregnancy symptoms, these tools purport to tell you how likely it is that you are pregnant. But no quiz can verify if you really are pregnant. If you are experiencing symptoms and looking for clarity, your best bet is to make an appointment with your ob-gyn.

Lasting Symptoms with a Negative Test

So, you’re feeling pregnant, and maybe you have even missed your period. But your over-the-counter pregnancy test is still negative. Are you or are you not pregnant?

The answer is it depends. Feeling pregnant doesn’t mean you are, but a negative pregnancy test can be wrong. A recent study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine revealed that up to 5% of pregnancy tests return results indicating a person is not pregnant when, in reality, they are.6

There are a few reasons you receive a false-negative test result. You may have tested too early, so the pregnancy hormones aren’t high enough to be detected by the test.7

  • There isn’t enough pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine yet.
  • The test has malfunctioned.
  • You’re not pregnant.
  • You are pregnant, but something is wrong.

There are other rare reasons you may get a negative test but actually may be pregnant.

 Reasons Your Test Is Negative But Your Period Is Late

Symptoms With a Period

It is possible to be pregnant and get your period. This leads some women to hold onto hope that they may still be pregnant, even after Aunt Flo knocks at the door. Odds are, if you got your period, you’re not pregnant. Feeling pregnant on your period could happen due to:

  • Normal hormonal fluctuations during menstruation
  • The flu or another illness
  • Fatigue or queasiness for other non-pregnancy reasons

Just like feeling pregnant before your period doesn’t mean you’re pregnant, feeling pregnant on your period also doesn’t indicate you’re expecting.

If your period is very different than your usual, then you may want to take a pregnancy test or call your doctor.

For example, you might consider taking a pregnancy test if your period is:

  • Abnormally light for you
  • More like spotting than a period
  • Much shorter than it usually is

There are non-pregnancy reasons to have an off period. Anything from stress to illness can cause one irregular menstrual cycle.

Symptoms With Spotting

Pregnancy symptoms plus spotting can lead many trying-to-conceive women to worry about early miscarriage. Spotting is a possible early pregnancy symptom. It’s also possible to spot and have a healthy pregnancy. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have an early miscarriage.

Spotting that occurs about 6 to 12 days post ovulation is sometimes called implantation spotting.8 Whether it’s actually caused by an embryo implanting into the uterine lining is questionable.

Spotting can also be caused by things other than pregnancy. It’s possible you are spotting, having “pregnancy symptoms,” but not pregnant.

 Spotting or Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

A Word From Verywell

You probably know at least one person with a “feeling pregnant” story that came true. She just knew that month was different. Maybe one particular symptom was stronger, or she was extra tired, or she was craving some food she never eats otherwise. Or she had a strange cramp or twinge. She may claim women’s intuition let her know she was with child before the pregnancy test came back positive.

Here’s the thing with these kinds of tales: these women are putting much more weight on the one time they felt pregnant and actually were pregnant over the dozens of times those same feelings didn’t indicate pregnancy.

If we could just feel whether we’re pregnant or not, it sure would cut down the anxiety of the two-week wait! However, the symptoms of early pregnancy are practically indistinguishable from any normal premenstrual symptoms. 

While your “pregnant feelings” aren’t 100% imagined, focusing on these “symptoms” can cause emotional distress. Remind yourself that whether you feel pregnant or not, it doesn’t mean anything.

Some women are sure they are pregnant, complete with throwing up in the morning, and then find out they’re not. Some women feel absolutely nothing and find out they’re pregnant after all.

The only way to know if you’re pregnant is to wait until your period is late and take a pregnancy test. If an at-home pregnancy test still leaves you with questions, see your doctor.

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