Pregnant or PMS?

My girlfriend and I are pretty much worrying ourselves to death here. Her period is supposed to start any time now. She has been complaining of symptoms that, as far as I can tell, could be either early pregnancy symptoms or PMS symptoms. She’s been nauseous off and on, having headaches, lower back ache, fatigue, and period-like abdominal cramps. This has been going on for about a week or so.

She took a home pregnancy test (FirstResponse) this morning which was negative. It has been about 3 weeks since we last had sex, and her last period came and went normally. She is on birth control pills. She’s never had any of this before a period, except for the headaches, which are her signal that the period is coming soon. She’s had a pretty stressful month due to the crazy happenings I went through. I was hospitalized after a panic attack, then had some weird anxiety symptoms for a couple more days. I documented this in a different thread. I see that high stress can make PMS worse than normal so I’m hoping that is all this is.

I’m wondering if its just PMS for the first time (it seems that it is common in women starting in their late 20’s and she is about mid-20’s) or if these are the beginning symptoms of pregnancy. Or even worse, something else entirely that would warrant a visit to the doctor. What say you?

(YANAD, MMMV, etc.)

So was the last time you had sex before her last period? If so, I would say between that, being on the pill, and the negative test, the chances of being pregnant are extremely small.

Yep, IA definitely NAD, but I think there’s a lot of things it could be besides PMS and pregnancy, such as, off the top of my head: UTI or other kidney/bladder issues, ovarian cyst, endometriosis, fibroid tumor, or irritable bowel.

Personally, it sounds a lot more like PMS than pregnancy (or anything else) to me (and stress definitely can increase symptoms, and can also delay your period, so don’t freak out if she’s a little late but still getting a negative on the pee-test). And if she’s very diligent about her pill schedule, pregnancy is fairly unlikely.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. That said, if she’s in serious discomfort, and has insurance, she should go to a doctor, even if it is “just” PMS.

And on preview: Baracus, if her period’s due any day now, then she probably last had it about four weeks ago. But still, that means pregnancy’s pretty unlikely. Most women ovulate about halfway through their cycle, and there’s only a small window of a day or two during which fertilization can happen, so that was probably well after you last had sex.

Right on. She’s pretty diligent about taking the pill every day, but I see that it is supposed to be taken at the same time every day. She has apparently been taking it in about a 4-hour window of time every day (example: between 1:00-5:00). I see my wording of “just PMS” was probably not so wise. I guess I meant it was preferable to her being pregnant. She doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal discomfort-wise, but she does have insurance so if it becomes bad enough for her, I’m sure she will go see the doctor. Either way, this is some relieving news (except for the possibility of those other issues you listed, of course), so maybe we can stop worrying about it. Thank you.

To clarify, the last time we had sex was a few days after her last period ended.

Another clue that it’s not pregnancy is that if she was pregnant, she’d only be about two or three weeks along right now. That’s *really *early to show symptoms, much less so many so strongly.

Oh, no sweat. I didn’t take your wording badly at all. I was actually thinking of myself; in the past, I’ve let a few serious problems (ovarian cysts, kidney infection) get a lot worse because I assumed they were “just” PMS. And I also dealt with abnormally severe cramps for years because they were “just” PMS, and I figured they were normal. So what I meant was, if she’s really hurting, she should see a doctor and not dismiss it, even if it does in fact turn out to be PMS.

Yeah, it’s highly unlikely that she would have ovulated then. Not impossible, but really unlikely.

True. Again, it’s possible - the first time I was pregnant, I did have symptoms before my first missed period - but very unlikely.


I always ovulate just a few days after my period. I have a 28-day cycle, my period lasts 5 days. If I ovulate 14 days after the first day of my period, that’s only 8 or 9 days to ovulation after the last day of my period. Considering that sperm can hang around for 2 or 3 days to fertilize the egg, that means it’s likely I’d get pregnant just a few days after my period. And I have.

Speaking only from personal experience, I always thought of my boobs as the pregnancy-o-meter. If they hurt and I had all the PMS symptoms, it was pregnancy. If they didn’t and I had all the symptoms your girlfriend described, I wasn’t. Then again, many women also have breast tenderness during PMS, so really all you can do is wait. Stress can also affect menstruation, so it’s possible that she’s late, but not pregnant because of that.

I will say it sounds extremely unlikely that she’s pregnant, but unlikely doesn’t = impossible.

The mini-pill must be taken at the same time every day; the more common combination Pill must be taken every day and it’s suggested to be at the same time simply so you make it a part of a routine you’re unlikely to forget and miss a day. If she missed too much time (2 days, maybe) her period would start or she’d get bad PMS symptoms out of nowhere.
It sounds to me like she’s stressed, not pregnant. No shock you’re worried, though, if you already have an anxiety issue. If you’re not ready to deal w/ an unwanted pregnancy right now you might abstain until your plate’s less full. Or use condoms and spermicidal foam in conjunction w/ the Pill and interruptus.

Just thought I would update. I just got a call from my GF and it appears that A.F. has finally showed up. Better late than never I suppose. Until then, Nawth Chucka’s suggestion to abstain seems to be a good choice. Neither one of us really want to go through this crap again, at least not until we are actually ready for a baby. Not that we did it very often to begin with, seeing as how there are other ways to scratch that “itch” without the risk of making babies. I told her about the issues raised by Heart of Dorkness, so I suspect she will get it checked out if this happens again. Thanks for your help everyone!

Congrats, BuickGNX1987. Or I guess, congrats on not needing any congrats. Nawth Chucka has the right idea. Babies are a ton of fun, but only if you want them.

No, that makes total sense. I guess it depends on how you define “a few”. I was thinking no more than 3, so their situation would go something like:

Day 1 - period starts
Day 5 - period ends
Day 8 - they have sex (three days later)
Day 12 - sperm are goners (four days later)
Day 14 - ovulation

But yeah, a day or two difference in those dates, and BuickGNX1987 is a daddy. So watch it, man!

Good on you for dodging that bullet. I came into the thread to say that my earliest pregnancy symptom was a complete lack of any symptoms–especially my usual PMS.

Further clarification: by a few, I meant 3-4 days so yeah, we cut it pretty close. Assuming that she ovulated that is. This pill supposedly prevents ovulation, but I bet it doesn’t always work. All I know is we’re ahead of the game here, so it’s time to cash out the chips while that is still the case, metaphorically speaking of course.

Because we are fighting ignorance here, is it true that it’s only possible to fertilize an egg during ovulation? I’ve been told that pregnancy is possible at any time in the reproductive cycle, including during periods.

The deal is that you only really know what your cycle will be after it happens.

For most women they have a very regular pattern that is something like above

Day 1 period starts
Day 5 period ends
Day 13 ovulation
Day 28 period starts

Sperm last for a bit, the egg loses fertility as it travels down the tube. So ideally, to get pregnant, it would be nice to actually have sperm almost waiting when you ovulate. So your window to get pregnant is probably day 11-15 or so.

Now, for some reason, the woman’s body decides to ovulate on Day five. And the man’s sperm managed to hang around longer in the tube and remain fertile. And now you have a pregnancy even if she was having her period.

It is possible to become pregnant at any time in the cycle, because ovulation can happen at any point in the cycle, even during the period. Seeing as how ovulation is the release of an egg cell from the ovary, I’d have to say it is necessary for a pregnancy to occur, since if no ovulation, no egg to fertilize. As pointed out earlier, having sex a few days before ovulation can result in pregnancy, because the sperm cells can live for a few days and “wait” for the egg to be released.

Forgot to add: The egg disintegrates after a couple days or so if it isn’t fertilized, so it’s not like it can hang around until the next cycle.

I’m glad things worked out. I remember going through a pregnancy scare 20 years ago (holy fuck I’m old) and even today my palms get sweaty thinking about it.

Oh, wait, it was 19 years ago. I’m not old at all!

But – you shouldn’t sweat it. If she’s diligent with the Pill, the chances of pregnancy are exceedingly low. If she’s less than perfectly diligent, but still takes it seriously, the chances of pregnancy are still very low. And if pregnancy occurs, it’s not the end of the world. Abortions are safe, effective, legal procedures which are generally available in most metropolitan areas. Sure, it’s not the most enjoyable activity in which to spend an afternoon, but if you two are so paralyzed by pregnancy fear that you stop engaging in sex, you’re already not going to be doing the most enjoyable activity.


Minor TMI ahead:

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t really enjoyable to begin with. It doesn’t “fit.” I’m not a freak of nature or anything, but she appears to be very uncomfortable during the act. Hell, it even hurts me a little because it feels like Little Buick is being crushed in there. Add in the fact that I feel a little like a rapist since it hurts her. Several years ago, we were doing it enough that this wasn’t a problem, but for whatever reason (probably another pregnancy scare) we stopped. She and I both agree that head is much better anyway.

Obviously she sees a gynecologist regularly since she gets the BC pills. Has she never discussed this issue with the doctor? There can be very simple and readily-addressed reasons for such problems.