Am I Pregnant?

Q. I took five home pregnancy tests, all positive. However, my doctor could not detect a pregnancy with a urine test, and did a blood test. Do I have a reason to be concerned?

A. Possibly. Urine pregnancy tests are typically accurate, even very early in pregnancy. Usually, a urine pregnancy test will show reliably the pregnancy hormone HCG, around the time of your missed period or even a few days before, about 10 to 14 days after conception. One reason that a previously positive urine pregnancy test might turn negative could be related to drinking a lot of fluids.

The best time to do an early urine pregnancy test is your first morning urine, which is usually the most concentrated. If you are very early in pregnancy, and you drink a lot of fluid, the test might turn negative because your urine pregnancy hormone level gets diluted, even though all is still well. In this case, the blood pregnancy test would remain positive.

Another reason a pregnancy test might go from positive to negative, though, is a chemical pregnancy. This is a very early pregnancy that develops far enough to make the pregnancy hormone, and then miscarries. You will ultimately have vaginal bleeding from this, but many women mistake this bleeding for a normal, or slightly late period. In this case, your blood pregnancy test would also be negative.

Q. I took a couple of positive pregnancy tests, but am now spotting a week later. What does that mean?

A. In most cases, it doesn’t mean anything other than some leakage from a small broken blood vessel. If it does not resolve in the next couple of days, it would be reasonable to consider an ultrasound and/or blood tests to measure HCG (pregnancy hormone).

Q. I’ve been getting heartburn, which I never get. Also, a burning sensation in my stomach, wetness in my underwear, hair loss, white bumps around my areola, and a couple of white pimples on my nipple area. I’ve been very emotional, crying at anything, irritable, very moody and hungry a lot. I have cramps. Could I be pregnant? My period isn’t due for a few days, yet I’ve been like this for two to three weeks.

A. None of the symptoms you describe is indicative of pregnancy, although that cannot be ruled out until your period is late. This sounds more like a hormonal imbalance, which will usually resolve once the menses begins, so just give it a few days and the situation should become clear.

Q. I just saw some blood on my underwear today at school and I’m 19 years old and I missed my period 12 days ago and I ovulate in two days so I’m confused about the bleeding and I think it’s implantation bleeding.

A. It is a major precept of gynecology that any woman from menarche to menopause who misses a period is pregnant until proven otherwise. However, if you are now 12 days late for menses already, then this is far too late for implantation, an event which occurs before a menses is even due (an average of seven days post conception). In the event that you do prove to be pregnant, a small amount of spotting requires only that it be watched and reported in the event it becomes heavy or painful. Be sure you run a pregnancy test right away.

Q. I had my daughter in Oct 09 and got an IUD put in in Nov 09. About two months ago I started to feel what seems like fetal movement in my lower abdomen. My last normal period was about three to four months ago and since then I’ve only had a couple days of spotting each month. I’ve taken two pregnancy tests both a month apart and both negative. I’ve been lightheaded, have heart burn, a few pains that feel like ligament stretching, shortness of breath, and sharp pain inside my ribs on the right side back and front, sometimes shooting over to the left. Other than that I have no symptoms. I’m not showing like I’m pregnant. Could I be pregnant?

A. Not at all likely. Your absence of menses suggests to me that you have a Mirena device (in which this is a common and harmless side effect). There are some generally minor hormonal effects of the Mirena, and these probably account for what you’re experiencing. The failure rate for this device is well under 1%, so you may feel secure it is doing its job.

Q. I’m 24 and I just had my first baby in March via C-section. About two months later I started feeling a slight flutter in my lower abdomen. I have taken two home pregnancy tests, both negative. Now six months later I’m still feeling this flutter stronger than before. I have had normal periods. Is there a chance I could be pregnant again? Or could it be from the surgery?

A. The greatest likelihood is that what you’re experiencing is intestinal movement which is of a different nature than it was before because of scar tissue which inevitably forms in any surgical site, including C-sections. There is no cause for concern unless additional painful symptoms develop.

Q. I’m 15 years old and had sex for the first time Friday night. It was unprotected, so I took the morning-after pill 43 hours later, as soon as I could. I have what feels like bruises on each side of my hips and don’t know if that is a symptom of pregnancy. Can you help?

A. What you are experiencing is not a symptom of pregnancy. Also it is much too early for the typical symptoms of breast soreness, fatigue, and frequent urination to develop. If you are late for your next period, be sure to have a pregnancy test done as early as possible.

Q. I am 36 years old and have always had a normal menstrual cycle. Now I have noticed my periods are lighter and shorter than in previous years. This month I am one week late and have taken four pregnancy tests, starting on the first missed day of my cycle. All tests read negative. I did have a small amount of red blood last night mixed with a mucus-like discharge. This morning the blood and discharge were random and by this afternoon gone. Is there a chance I could be pregnant? Or is something else going on? Was that my period?

A. Pregnancy is highly unlikely, but hormonal imbalances do start to occur fairly often once women reach about age 35. This is the most likely explanation, and is a temporary, non-worrisome situation.

Q. I took two pregnancy tests about a week ago and both were positive. Now I am experiencing some bleeding, not as heavy as my period, but not too light either. I have no cramping or clots. I did bleed around this time with my first child. Do you think everything is fine? What could this be?

A. What you’re experiencing is considered a “threatened abortion.” It is not unusual. In most cases, pregnancies proceed normally from this point. Your doctor can measure your hormone production over a couple of days so as to determine if this is likely to be a normal pregnancy or a miscarriage.

Q. I am 31 and have had four children. I had pomeroy tubal ligation six years ago. A couple weeks ago I started feeling fluttering in my lower abdomen, which has gotten stronger in the last two weeks and feels only like a baby moving. I know the feeling. I haven’t missed a period, and am not sure if this period is a little late. My periods have gotten shorter and lighter. I have had sweats and nausea, and my lower abdomen looks slightly bigger. I took two pregnancy tests, which were negative, but the kicking continues, just like a baby, and it is the only thing I can describe it as, I can also sit and watch the movement. Please tell me what you think!

A. The first thing you can be assured of is that this is not a pregnancy. Negative tests and continuing menses are very adequate evidence for that conclusion. There are a couple of other things which can be causing a sensation of abdominal movement. These include increased intestinal activity which can be associated with your diet or changes in your hormonal levels, as well as spasms of the muscles of the abdominal wall. It is most unlikely that any of these are likely to be related to any serious health conditions, but should be brought to your doctor’s attention if they don’t disappear within the next couple of weeks.

Q. I have been pregnant two times, once at 18, and then at 19. I’m 31 and one month late. HPT is negative. Is it possible to be pregnant with negative HPT?

A. It’s possible, but very unlikely. Today’s pregnancy tests are extremely sensitive. Far more likely is that you’ve failed to ovulate this month, which is not unusual in stressful circumstances. This situation should resolve itself within a couple of weeks. If not, see your ob/gyn.

Q. I had some brown discharge four days before my cycle was supposed to begin. I had very light cramping on the left side of my lower stomach area, which moved to the direct center at random times. The discharge lasted for three days: first day, dark brown with a thick, pasty-like texture; second day, lighter in color mixed with a pale pinkish tone; third day, pink spots when I wiped on three occasions throughout the day. The total discharge phase was never a flow. My cycle was set to begin the next day and nothing has happened so far. Could I be pregnant?

A. That’s an excellent possibility as what you saw could have been what we call “implantation,” a process by which a fertilized egg works its way into the wall of the uterus, often releasing a small amount of blood. A pregnancy test should be positive by now if that’s the case.

Q. At 11 dpo I had a doctor’s visit. A pregnancy test was done and it was negative. The doctor did a pelvic/vaginal exam and said she could not feel anything. Is it too early to feel anything at 11 dpo? I still/have been feeling symptoms of pregnancy: fatigue, heavy/tender breasts, nausea, mild cramping, rise in bbt,lower backaches, headache, dizzyness/lightheadedness, constipation, hungry and cravings. I’m not late yet. My period comes this week. I tested at 7 dpo, 9 dpo and 11 dpo all negative. Please help.

A. Assuming that “dpo” means days post-ovulation, then it is much too early to be testing for pregnancy as you are not even late for menses. You may expect a positive test by another 7 or 8 days. At 11 dpo, it is not possible to detect any changes on exam.

Q. My period lasted five days, then I missed my period. I have no cramping. Could I be pregnant?

A. Absence of a menstrual period is always pregnancy until proven otherwise. By now, a pregnancy test should show positive.

Q. I miscarried a year ago, and have been on birth control to regulate my periods. It worked. I had normal periods for four months, then three two-day light periods. Seven pregnancy tests were negative. Could I still be pregnant?

A. That’s not at all likely. It often takes several months to resume ovulating on a regular basis after a miscarriage, especially if you took the pill for a while thereafter.

Q. My period is due and I have had swollen breasts for over a week, with mild cramping. I took a home pregnancy test today and it was negative. I normally do not get sore breasts prior to my period. I have also had clear discharge last week for a couple of days and now today. Would a blood test be more accurate?

A. Yes, a blood test is more accurate, buy why not just wait until you miss a period? If you go a few days past, a urine pregnancy test will be accurate.

Q. For the past week I have had pressure, not painful, in my uterus area. I also noticed weight gain. Every now and then there is a gassy kind of pain. I also have been experiencing more headaches than usual. I feel sick in the mornings, throughout the day, and sometimes feel like vomiting. My mood swings are worse. I cry over the littlest things. And for the past few days I have been feeling very tired. Could I be pregnant? My period isn’t due for about a little over a week. I have a three-year-old and a LONG history of miscarriages, and don’t want these symptoms to be from a miscarriage.

A. The obvious advice under this condition is to run a pregnancy test. If it’s negative, then just wait and see if your period comes. If it does not, re-run the test. If it’s still negative, your doctor can run some tests to see if the matter is the result of hormonal imbalance, which can often cause these symptoms.

Q. I was on Implanon but took it out because of movement in my belly. I had a baby six months ago and know what it feels like to be pregnant. But recently I’ve been dropping eggs and feeling like I’m pregnant. The pregnancy test came back negative on the Implanon but positive after I took it out. Am I pregnant?

A. If I’m understanding your question, you have had your Implanon removed even though your pregnancy test was negative, which is a decision which I do not understand. Now your test is positive. That indeed does indicate that you are pregnant.

Q. I was supposed to get my period last Thursday but did not. Friday I had brown spotting just once. I took a pregnancy test that was positive, then went to the clinic Monday. They said it was negative, but that I should come back Friday if I still don’t get my period. I have also been having cramping off and on, but no period. What could be going on?

A. If pregnancy turns out not to be the case, then the most likely scenario is failure of ovulation, which is not at all uncommon. In most cases, it resolves itself. Most important at this point is to be sure about the pregnancy possibility, as spotting and cramping can reflect miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Q. Will I get a positive pregnancy test if I am injecting HCG for weight loss?

A. Yes, you will, as pregnancy tests measure HCG levels.

Q. I had an irregular period last month, and about three or four days ago I took two pregnancy tests and they both had faint lines. For the last month I’ve had off and on nausea, irritability, weight gain and extreme fatigue. I know it could be something else, but it all seems right. Yesterday I started bleeding. At first it looked like old blood but then the color became brighter. I only had very mild cramps last night. I passed a blood clot about the size of a quarter and they’re getting smaller. I had no PMS signs. I’m not sure if it is my period or what.

A. It sounds to me like the only thing you can say for sure at this point is that if this is a period, it certainly isn’t a normal one. It’s a fundamental tenet of gynecology that when a woman has periods which she doesn’t consider normal, she is pregnant until proven otherwise. Your doctor can resolve this situation by runningblood tests for the pregnancy hormone, HCG, possible is a serial fashion so as to evaluate the changes going on.

Q. I got my period twice this month, and feel dizzy and lightheaded. Could I be pregnant?

A. Irregular flow is more often due to hormonal imbalance than pregnancy. That imbalance can readily cause lightheadedness and dizziness, but these are not dangerous and normally correct themselves.

Q. My stomach is extremely sore. I am 7 DPO and was wondering if this could be a sign of pregnancy. I also have been lightheaded, nauseated and I have been urinating frequently.

A. While you may have conceived 7 days ago, there are no symptoms which would occur this early. Be aware, however, that ovulation is often hard to pinpoint, so you might be further along. Pregnancy tests these days are accurate and show pregnancy before a period is missed, so you should know in the next few days.

Q. If you have sex every night that you are ovulating, is it possible to conceive more than one child?

A. Theoretically, it is possible to conceive more than one embryo if more than one ovum has been released from the ovary. If this were to happen, however, it would not be from having frequent intercourse.

Q. I’m 18 years old and not allowed to get pregnant. My parents will abandon me, and I never want that to happen. I’ve had unprotected sex for one month, two days after my period. Now, I feel constantly bloated, I urinate more frequently, I have light bleeding (the blood is red), continuous abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and sometimes I feel so sleepy, dizzy, or my head aches. I have also noticed increased vaginal discharge for a week. I took three pregnancy tests, which were all negative. I am totally lost and very confused and seriously depressed. Please help me. Am I pregnant?

A. It is very unlikely that you are pregnant, but you definitely do need a gynecologic evaluation. Most likely, your high level of anxiety is causing some hormonal disturbances, which are causing the symptoms you describe. From this point onward, be sure to use reliable protection against pregnancy.

Q. I went to the hospital for stomach pain, they took blood and urine and told me that I was pregnant. I went to the clinic the next day and took a urine test, which was negative. I’m confused.

A. Clearly, there needs to be more follow-up here, as you are showing mutually exclusive results. This may represent a very early miscarriage in which the hormone level has remained too low to turn the less sensitive urine test reliably positive. A repeat of the blood test should clarify things.

Q. I have been feeling movement in my belly for a few weeks. I can physically see my belly move. I took a pregnancy test a couple of days ago, which was negative. Would a pregnancy test be accurate if I were far enough along to feel and see movement? If I am not pregnant, what could it be?

A. Pregnancy tests are extremely reliable nowadays, so you may be assured that you are not pregnant. Abdominal muscle spasms as well as intestinal movements are likely causes of what you are noticing.

Q. I missed my period and took a pregnancy test, which was negative, but I have a light brown line under my belly button. What is this?

A. When women miss periods but are not pregnant, it usually means that they have failed to ovulate, which is not unusual or worrisome. What happens then is that the ovary releases estrogen, but not progesterone. That imbalance may stimulate skin cells to produce melanin, which is a brown pigment. That is likely the explanation.

Q. I am having the usual period symptoms since in-vitro three days ago. Now it has been 12 days. Does it mean there’s no pregnancy?

A. Not necessarily. Premenstrual-type symptoms often occur during the early days of a pregnancy as a result of hormonal patterns which are quite similar for a brief while. Wait a few more days, then begin testing for pregnancy.

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