Am I Pregnant? – Answered by David Priver, MD, FACOG

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.

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 took a pregnancy test, which was positive, but also had an ultrasound that showed a cyst on my left ovary. Can I still be pregnant?

A. Yes, you can. A relatively small ovarian cyst accompanies all pregnancies during the first trimester. This is what keeps the pregnancy going until the placenta takes over later on.

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 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’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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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.

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