The first symptoms of pregnancy can be very similar to premenstrual symptoms; so many women take some time to discover they are pregnant.
The first symptoms of pregnancy may be unspecific, much like pre-menstrual symptoms. It is possible, even, that the pregnant woman in the first days of pregnancy present vaginal bleeding, believing that she has menstruated. It is not uncommon to find cases of women who only discover being pregnant after 3 or 4 months of gestation simply because they confused the early symptoms of pregnancy and small vaginal bleeding with pre-menstrual symptoms and menstruation itself.
In this article, we will try to show the differences between the symptoms of pregnancy and menstruation. To facilitate reading, we will write the text in the form of questions and answers.
Is it possible to menstruate during pregnancy?
No, the pregnant woman may have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but technically she does not menstruate.
Why can pregnancy bleeding not be considered menstruation?
During the menstrual cycle, cells in the wall of the uterus (called the endometrium) proliferate, making the uterus thicker and with highly vascularized layers. The endometrium expands to become a propitious place to receive a fertilized ovum and initiate a pregnancy. If the woman ovulates and this ovum is not fertilized, the stimulus for the expansion and maintenance of this thick uterine wall disappears, causing all this tissue that grew throughout the first half of the menstrual cycle to stop receiving blood supplies and end up To be removed. Menstruation, therefore, is not exactly a loss of blood, but the elimination of uterine tissue together with blood vessels and clots.
During pregnancy, the wall of the uterus is not removed; Otherwise, the fetus would be carried along, characterizing an abortion. Then, any bleeding that occurs in pregnancy can not be considered menstruation.
What are the causes of bleeding in early pregnancy that can be confused with menstruation?
Between 20 and 40% of pregnant women have at least one episode of vaginal bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy. The causes are several, including implantation of the egg (fertilized ovum) in the uterus, hormonal variations, injuries or wounds in the vulva, vagina or uterus, abortion, threat of abortion, ectopic pregnancy, etc.
The main clue is an alteration of the usual characteristics and time of menstrual bleeding. If you are of childbearing age, have recently had sex without proper contraceptive protection (be it a condom, pill, or any other contraceptive method) and you have had vaginal bleeding different from the one you are used to seeing, this can be a sign of pregnancy.
Pregnancy bleeds are usually bright red, except in situations such as ectopic pregnancy and complete abortion, when the bleeding is darker. Either way, the characteristics of the blood are usually quite different from menstruation.
If so, is it easy to distinguish a menstruation from vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?
Not always, especially if the woman does not yet know she is pregnant. The characteristics of menstrual bleeding are different from woman to woman. There are those who have a small, short-lasting menstrual flow that may resemble bleeding that occurs during the early pregnancy phase. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find cases of women who bleed during the first few months of gestation and believe that they are menstruating normally.
Three aspects should be considered when distinguishing vaginal bleeding:
- Does the bleeding occur on the expected date of menstruation?
- Does the bleeding have the same duration and the usual volume of menstruation?
- Are the blood characteristics similar to menstruation?
If you answered YES to at least 2 of the 3 questions, the possibility of being simply menstruating is very large.
What are the other symptoms of pregnancy that resemble the symptoms of menstruation?
Some pre-menstrual symptoms, such as colic, fluid retention, breast augmentation, mood swings, and others, can occur in both an initial gestation and during the pre-menstrual period. The clue here is the same one used to distinguish bleedings: compare the characteristics of the symptoms. Usually, the symptoms of pregnancy may be similar, but not the same as in the pre-menstrual period.
Physicians, get used to joking by saying that one of the symptoms of pregnancy is the sixth female sense tell the woman that she may be pregnant. This is an important clue. When the woman believes that she does something different in her menstrual pattern or in pre-menstrual symptoms, unless she has not had intercourse recently, the idea is to always do a pregnancy test to remove the doubt, especially if menstruation Is delayed.
Is delay in menstruation always a sign of pregnancy?
Of course not. If on the one hand, every pregnancy obligatorily causes menstrual delay, the opposite is not true. Not every menstrual delay is synonymous with ongoing gestation. There are several causes for menstrual delay, including emotional stress. Therefore, if your menstruation was delayed for some days, there may be other explanations than a pregnancy. However, all sexually active women with menstrual delay greater than one rule out gestation.
Try to know only by the symptoms if you are pregnant or not usually very inefficient. It becomes a guessing game. The diagnosis of pregnancy is done with tests and not with a glass sphere.
The correct thing to do is: if your menstruation delayed and you suspect that you can be pregnant (although the suspicion is very slight), do the test of pregnancy. With at least one week of menstrual delay, most tests have a very high hit rate.