Period or Pregnancy Symptoms: Am I pregnant or period is coming?

 Similar symptoms of pregnancy and period as well as different signs of pregnancy and period

Last Updated: March 28,2017

1. Period or Pregnancy Introduction

2. Similar Symptoms of Period and Pregnancy

3. Possible Similar Symptoms of Period and Pregnancy

4. Difference in Symptoms of Period and Pregnancy

5. Readers' Questions about Period and Pregnancy

Period or Pregnancy Introduction

One of the most frequent questions in parenting forum is about the differences between signs of pregnancy and period. It is in fact very difficult for many of us, even for experienced mothers, to tell the difference between early signs of pregnancy and signs which indicates that period is coming as symptoms of both period and pregnancy are very similar.

In summary, similar symptoms of pregnancy and period are tender breast, headache, bloating, constipation, fatigue, morning sickness or cramp. Different signs include backache which is a sign of period. Spotting and frequent urination are symptoms of pregnancy.

Similar Symptoms of Period and Pregnancy

Before your period is coming, you may have tender or swollen breasts, you may experience headache, fatigue, constipation, acne. All these signs happen to be same or similar to those early pregnancy symptoms.

Table below shows the similar symptoms of the period and pregnancy.

Table 1: Similar Symptoms of Pregnancy and Period
Similar Signs
Tender or swollen breast
Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
Fatigue or tiredness

Others Symptoms that may be similar for period and pregnancy

Morning Sickness

Almost every pregnant women will experience morning sickness during pregnancy. Therefore morning sickness is quite a reliable sign that a women is pregnant. However, this is not 100% sure as a small percentage of women will also experience vomiting or nausea during their periods.


Signs that indicate the arrival of the period include abdominal or pelvic pain or cramp. Some pregnant women will also experience cramping in early pregnancy which may then need medical attention.

Difference in Signs of Period and Pregnancy

Table below shows the differences in signs of period and pregnancy

Table 2: Different Symptoms of Pregnancy and Period
Signs of Period Symptoms of Pregnancy
Backache ---
--- Missed Period
--- Darkening of Skin
--- Increased Urination

Backache - Symptom of Period

Many will experience backache before or during period. Backache is not an EARLY sign of pregnancy. Pregnant women will only experience backache in the second and third trimester due to the growing uterus.

Missed Period or Spotting - Symptom of Pregnancy

If you have regular menstrual cycles in the past and do not experience any major change in the regular life routine such as sudden increase in your stress level, long-distance travel or consumption of large unhealthy food, then a missed period is very likely to be an unmistakable sign that you are pregnant.

Spotting or very light bleeding is also an important Symptom of pregnancy. Women are advised to confirm whether they are pregnant immediately if they see spotting. Once pregnancy is confirmed, pregnant women should seek doctors' help immediately as spotting or very light bleeding may be a sign of miscarriage and it is therefore important to seek professional help immediately.

Increased Urination - Symptom of Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there is a considerable increase in blood volume so a lot of fluid is processed through kidney which is eventually sent to the bladder. This may cause pregnant women to urinate more than often. In the early pregnancy, this symptom may not be obvious to many pregnant women.

In summary, a missed period is probably the only reliable pregnancy sign, provided that the women had regular period in the past do not experience any sudden weight gain or loss, long-distance travel. To confirm pregnancy, it is recommended that readers use pregnancy test kits or papers. Pregnancy test should also be carried out in the morning after waking up. Do not take any fluid before the test in order to avoid diluting the level of HCG in the urine.

If pregnant women see spotting and is confirmed pregnant through home pregnant test, they should call the doctors immediately for help.

Period or Pregnancy - Reader's Questions

Question 1: I have been having all the pregnancy symptoms and I have carried out three pregnancy tests and all comes out negative, could I still be pregnant or is just my period delayed? Symptoms that I have experienced are: missed period, spotting, frequent urination, tender breasts, darker and bigger areolas, light cramping, food aversion, morning sickness, head aches, fatigue, exhaustion, bloating, mood swings, and discharge. The first day of my last menstrual cycle or period was 9th February and I have even done a blood test on last Tuesday (5th March) and the result shows that I am not pregnant. So is there any chance that I could still be pregnant?

Answer: There is still a chance that you may be pregnant. Given the fact that February is a short month and your blood test on 5th March may be considered as too early. Suggest you to take a home pregnancy test again in these few days. Try to do it in the morning and do not take any fluid before that to ensure accuracy.

Question 2:My last period was January 21st, based on ovulation kit, I ovulated on February 4th. I also had unprotected sex that day (more than once) I was suppose to start my period again February 18th, my period is now 25 days late. I have taken 3 pregnancy test but all comes out negative. But I have been very sleepy all day and feel nauseous. My stomach has been hurting I have had milky white discharge. I think that is all about the symptoms. I really do think I am pregnant, but this morning at 7 I woke up cramping (lasted about 10 minutes) like I was on my period, so I went to the bathroom. When I wiped there was light pink blood. I have not bled or cramped since then. Anyone can suggest me what to do next?

Answer: Your period has been delayed by so many days, this can be a symptom that you are pregnant. Your cramp that lasted about 10 minutes and spotting are all reliable symptoms that you may be pregnant. For others symptoms you mean like fatigue, they can be symptoms of both pregnancy and period.

I suggest you to visit a doctor to do a ultrasound scan first, this may be followed by a blood test. These two should be able to tell you whether you are pregnant or your period has just been irregular.

Question 3:I am about 3 days late for my period. I stopped taking the birth control pill about 3 months ago as we decide to have a baby. Since then we have tried to conceive. So far I do not any cramping at all, and I always get cramps the week before period starts. Also I had a lot of white milky discharge a few days, it is so much that I had to change and shower. I also have felt sick late and feel hungry very easily. I do not experience any stress in my life recently.

Answer: As you do not experience any stress, a missed period can be a sign that you are pregnant. White milky discharge is another reliable sign that you are pregnant. When you are pregnant, more blood will flow to your vaginal area, leading to more vaginal discharge.

I suggest you to take a pregnancy test in the coming morning after you wake up. Pregnancy test is only available method you have to confirm pregnancy at home.

Question 4:So lately I've been nauseous and can't eat like any kind of meat or being around it because it makes me sick. I'm extremely emotional and tired all the time. I am a girl and I have a boyfriend and we are active sexually. Also I started getting this little fluttering in my lower abdomen. I don't know if I'm sick or could be pregnant. I'm freaking out. Is just my period coming or I am pregnant?

Answer: It is really hard to tell based on your symptoms as symptoms of pregnancy are also signs that your period may be coming.

Hence, the best way to confirm is to carry out a pregnancy test when your period is due. Try to do it in the morning after you wake up and do not take any fluid before that to ensure accuracy.

Meanwhile, try to relax as much as possible as stress could delay your period and this could make you even feel worse.

Question 5: My period didn't come today? Why? My boyfriend and I had sex while i was fertile but he pulled out. Today is my period deadline and it has always come on time. i am getting very afraid and don't know what to do. I haven't taken a pregnancy test yet and cannot do it until 3 days later. I am a bit stressed but not so much to cause my periods to be miss?? I am freaking out here!

Answer: Other than stress, other things also can delay your period such as sudden weight gain or loss, travel and over-exercising. Your stress may just cause the period to be delayed by a few days although it is possible that you may be pregnant.

Many people notice the pregnancy symptom such as light cramp, spotting when their periods are supposed to come, but the only way to confirm pregnancy at home is do a pregnancy test when period is due. At the moment, there is nothing you can do other than waiting for a pregnancy test. Meanwhile, try to relax as much as possible so as to not cause period to delay further.

Question 6: I had one pregnancy test one week before period is due and the result is negative. Should I carry out another pregnancy test or trust the early one?

Answer: It is suggested that you should take your pregnancy test only when your period is due. Even you are pregnant, the body will need to take time to produce enough hormone to be detected by pregnancy test kit.

Last Updated on 16th December 2016

Question 7: Please help. Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex at the peak of my ovulation days and i was wondering if i can still get pregnant from that? I took the morning after pillaround 11 hours after having the sex. Will i still get pregnant?

Answer: When you had unprotected sex during ovulation, chance of pregnancy is high. However, you have taken the pill, ,most pills will be effective if you take it within 72 hours after unprotected sex.Hence, chance of pregnancy is very small.

If you still worry, you can take a pregnancy test when your period is due.

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