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Irregular Periods, How Do I Know Pregnant

“If I have an irregular period, how do I know if I’m pregnant?” For most women, a first indication of pregnancy is a missed period. But if you’re one of those whose periods are irregular, how can you tell if you are pregnant? In this article we’ll share some basic info about irregular periods and pregnancy.

Whether your periods are as dependable as clockwork or always irregular, the surest way to find out for certain if you are pregnant is with a reliable pregnancy test. At Avenue Women’s Center, you can receive a medical-grade pregnancy test, accurate as long as it’s been ten days since the possible time of conception. Even better than that, the pregnancy test is FREE! If you have a positive test, we are here to assist with your next steps, through a confidential pregnancy consultation with one of our experienced client advocates. Please contact us today for your appointment.

What is a normal menstrual cycle?

A menstrual cycle is defined by the number of days counting from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. It’s not the same for every woman. For most, a period comes about every 21 to 35 days and may last 2 to 8 days. If your pattern is fairly consistent, it would be considered regular. Even if it is somewhat irregular, it may still be “normal” for you. Other menstrual differences from one woman to another might be whether a period is light or heavy, painful or without pain, long or short. Few women have a cycle that is exactly 28 days every time; there’s a broad range of what is still considered “normal.”

What is an irregular period?

An irregular period is not that uncommon. About thirty percent of women in their reproductive years (the time when they are having menstrual periods and are capable of becoming pregnant) have irregular cycles. In an article posted on tampax.com, Dr. Michelle P. Warren describes an irregular period as one when bleeding comes at unexpected times, bleeding seems too much, or perhaps there is no bleeding. She notes: “if cycles continue to be shorter than 25 days or longer than 42 days, or are associated with other symptoms, such as pain or heavy bleeding, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.”

What might cause an irregular period?

Possible causes of an irregular period include:

  • Either low body weight or obesity; excessive weight loss or gain
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive or increased exercise
  • Stress
  • Travel
  • Some types of contraception (IUDs, extended-cycle birth control pills, changing birth control pills)

If I tend to be irregular, what can I do to track my cycle?

To help identify what your “normal” is, observe and write down these things on a calendar:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Heaviness of flow
  • Abnormal bleeding; any bleeding between periods?
  • Pain levels
  • Other changes (mood or behavior)

Keep a record of these things for several months in a row. Watch for patterns, or for anything that falls outside the pattern. If there are changes in your period, did something new or different happen at about the same time?

If I have an irregular period, how do I know if I’m pregnant?”

Aside from a missed period, there are other signs which may point to pregnancy:

  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Fatigue, excessive tiredness
  • Changes in breasts – swelling, soreness or sensitivity, darkening of the skin around the areola
  • Increased urination
  • Cramping or light spotting
  • Moodiness
  • Food aversion or craving

These indications are not 100% comprehensive, consistent or predictive of pregnancy. If, however, you’ve missed a period, or if your periods tend to be irregular, and you have experienced these symptoms, it would be a good idea to take a pregnancy test. (Remember, we are a free source for an accurate, reliable test.)

An important P.S.

Do remember this: Even if your periods are irregular or it seems you are not menstruating, if you are sexually active it’s possible you can still become pregnant.

Whether or not you have an irregular period, “How do I know if I’m pregnant?” is a question too important to be left to chance. If you are wondering and looking for the answer, please reach out to us by call, text, email or chat. Our Avenue Women’s Center offices are comfortable and confidential, with locations in Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois. Same day appointments are often available. We will be honored to serve you.


References:

  • Mayo Clinic. (2016, May0. Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186?pg=1
  • Mayo Clinic. (2017, January). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first?. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
  • WebMD. (2017, March). Why Is My Period So Random? Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/why-is-my-period-so-random#1
  • WebMD. Missed or Irregular Periods – Check Your Symptoms. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/tc/missed-or-irregular-periods-check-your-symptoms

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.

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