A missed period usually calls for two very contrasting reactions: one of ecstacy and hope and the other of worry and fear. This is because a temporary pause in your period is one of the first and most evident signs of pregnancy. However, there are exceptions in both cases. Women may experience a late period (by 3 – 7 days) due to change in factors like stress levels, exercise routines, dietary habits, and illnesses. Similarly, pregnant women may experience spotting or bleeding due to several reasons: implantation bleeds, fluctuations in hormones, complications with your placenta, cervical bleeding, or a miscarriage.
Vaginal bleeding is a component of your menstrual cycle, it isn’t your menstrual cycle. Every month our body prepares for a potential pregnancy whether we plan for it or not. Our cycle is a culmination of three main phases: follicular phase, ovulatory phase (ovulation) and the luteal phase.
Additionally it results in the fall and rise of four hormone levels in our body: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone. While most pregnant women do not experience vaginal bleeding, some may.
Hence, it is important to not jump to a conclusion when you experience symptoms that may hint at pregnancy. The following are symptoms a woman may perceives before or during, pregnancy and periods.
Often intense cramps without vaginal bleeding, can scare/excite you into believing that something is a miss. However, being a couple days late on your period is a very normal, and intensified PMS symptom (premenstrual stress) that includes cramping, could often be a painful announcement of periods and not pregnancy. However, women have also noticed experiencing similar discomfort during their pregnancy, especially in the first few months. Hence, if cramping doesn’t subside after a few days (4-5) one should get themselves tested to rule out period or pregnancy.
A Dip in Energy Levels
Our body experiences changes while we are on our period and also when it is preparing
to birth a baby. Changes occur in the form of organ functions, hormone levels etc., which
tire the body out resulting in a sharp decline in energy levels. A sharp decline in energy levels while you are late on your period, is not reason enough to jump into a pregnancy conclusion. It is very normal for both: a pregnant woman, and one who is not, to experience a dip in energy levels entirely due to fast-changing hormone levels.
While most of us know that 80% of women who are pregnant suffer from “morning sickness,” not many of us know that several women also experience tummy bloating and nausea before or while they are on their period. However, nausea due to period-related tummy bloating can be treated, and hence it is wise to consult a doctor when you experience it.
It is natural for a woman to perceive tender breasts when she is on her period as well as
when she is pregnant. Accepting that this is an extremely natural phenomenon and is due to the increase in progesterone levels during both phenomenons, brings relief and also prevents stress levels from rising if a woman is trying to avoid pregnancy.
All in all, the simplest way of differentiating between the cause of the aforementioned symptoms is to track your menstrual cycle. A frequently asked question is “how to track menstrual cycle?” In addition to writing down your period dates in a diary, there are several user-friendly apps that remind you to fill in all the details in regards to your menstrual cycle. I track my period using Clue – a period and ovulation digital tracker. The other commendable apps recommended by the team at Heyday are Flo, Period Diary, Period Tracker and Fitbit.
In addition to tracking our menstrual cycle, we must regulate other aspects of our life which improves our holistic physical and mental health. Wearing organic sanitary pads, sleeping eight-hours a day, exercising regularly and including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet are all key ingredients for a healthy and happy female body. Heyday is committed to helping you ease into your periods by tracking your period for you, and providing you with biodegradable and skin-friendly sanitary pads online and at your doorstep once you subscribe to a yearly package.