When a woman experiences certain physical and emotional changes, it's natural to wonder if it could be related to pregnancy or just the period. The symptoms associated with menstruation and early pregnancy may indeed be similar, but there are some differences.
Premenstrual signs and symptoms of pregnancy
Generally speaking, the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and those of pregnancy are influenced by the hormonal changes that affect the woman's body. Thus, we often observe a series of similarities in the manifestations of these two states. However, each of them also has specific characteristics that help distinguish them.
Symptoms related to hormonal activity
Both PMS and pregnancy have in common theintervention of hormones. Indeed, before the onset of periods, estrogen and progesterone levels increase, which causes a series of physiological and psychological reactions in women of childbearing age. Likewise, when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus, hormone levels vary to support the developing fetus.
- Common symptoms: fatigue, irritability, mood fluctuations, bloating, breast tenderness, headache
- Period-specific symptoms: abdominal pain, menstrual bleeding, diarrhea or constipation
- Symptoms specific to pregnancy: nausea and vomiting (often called "motion sickness"), missed periods, increased frequency of needing to urinate, increased tenderness in the chest
Period symptoms: how to recognize them?
If you think your period is coming, there are some things you can pay attention to. Indices which can help you make the difference with a possible pregnancy state.
One of the most characteristic signs of menstruation is undoubtedly the presence of bleeding. Blood loss generated during periods is generally abundant and lasts several days. In the case of pregnancy, on the contrary, the woman may notice some small spots, similar to very light bleeding, when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine wall.
Regular or irregular cycles
Women with a regular menstrual cycle can also monitor the dates of their last period to assess whether these new manifestations are due to the upcoming arrival of them. If your cycle is irregular, it may be more difficult to distinguish the signs of possible pregnancy from those of menstruation.
Pregnancy symptoms: how to identify them?
Although some symptoms may overlap with those of PMS, pregnancy presents distinctive signs which you can take into account to assess whether you are pregnant or not.
Lack of rules
One of the first things women notice when they are pregnant is theabsence of menstruation. Although some women may experience very light bleeding early in their pregnancy, usually periods stop completely once an egg has been fertilized and implanted in the uterus.
Another fairly characteristic symptom associated with pregnancy is the famous "travel sickness", which manifests itself as nausea and vomiting in some pregnant women. Although these inconveniences can occur at any time of the day, they are generally characterized by nausea in the morning without a direct link to menstruation.
Faced with uncertainty as to whether your symptoms are linked to menstruation or pregnancy, the ideal remains to carry out a pregnancy test. Urine tests are available at pharmacies and measure the level of chorionic gonadotropic hormone (hCG) in the urine. If in doubt, it is also possible to consult a doctor to take a blood test.
In summary, although many of the symptoms are common to PMS and pregnancy, there are usually distinctive signs that can help differentiate them. However, in the face of any uncertainty, it is advisable to consult a health professional or take a pregnancy test to avoid any confusion.