I am a 21-year-old girl working as an Intern in an MNC company. I recently had unprotected sex with my boyfriend.I did not take any emergency pills as I was scared that it can give side effects. But now I am worried as it has been more than a week that I have crossed my period date. I usually get them on time.
Does it by any chance mean I am pregnant?
Is missed periods a sign of pregnancy?
How do I know if I am pregnant?
Do I need to consult a doctor?
These are some of the most common question that haunts a woman after she had an unprotected sex.
There is no doubt that missed periods are one of the key signs of pregnancy. However, missed periods can be a sign of numerous health problems. So the best thing to do is to consult your doctor to know the right cause of it and get it treated. If you experience heavy bleeding, pain, vomiting, fever or have longer than normal periods, then meet your gynaecologist immediately.
Some of the health conditions that can cause missed periods include
– Being Underweight
– Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
– Birth control pills
– Chronic diseases like diabetes and thyroid
– Early Menopause
Well, we are not divulging into the details of the health problems, but are here to tell you more about periods and answer the common queries related to missed periods and pregnancy.
What Causes Missed periods?
Ideally, the menstrual cycle ranges from 21 days to 35 days. However, due to changes in the hormonal level there are chances that your periods might get delayed. But if your menstrual cycle is shorter than 15 days or if it is longer than 35 days, it means you suffer from irregular periods. There are numerous causes of missed periods right from the use of birth control pills and pregnancy to obesity and stress. To know the exact cause of missed periods it is important to consult a doctor.
Does Missed Periods Indicate Pregnancy?
Yes, there are high chances that missed periods could be a sign of pregnancy but only if you have been sexually active. This is because, every month, the body prepares the uterus for the pregnancy. If fertilization doesn’t occur, it causes the uterus lining to shed leading to menstrual bleeding. This is regulated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The hormone estrogen stimulates the growth of the uterine lining whereas the hormone progesterone aids in the growth of the uterus lining. So when the level of progesterone decreases, the uterine lining sheds, leading to periods.
But when you get pregnant, the secretion of progesterone hormone is triggered which causes the uterine lining to thicken and restrict its shedding, thus not leading to periods. This is the reason why missed periods indicate pregnancy.
Missed periods. How do I know if I am pregnant?
There are certain changes that happen in the body during pregnancy. These signs usually start after a week of conception and include:
-Breast soreness and tenderness
If you experience any of these signs or suspect being pregnant, then it is wise to consult a doctor to know the exact cause of missed periods. Your gynaecologist might ask your personal history and do a physical examination. If she suspects pregnancy, then she may order a blood test to confirm pregnancy.
If you are reluctant to visit a doctor personally, you can even go for online consultation. Another simple way to know if you are pregnant is to use a home pregnancy test kit.
What is a home pregnancy test kit?
A home pregnancy test kit as the name suggests, helps you to know if you are pregnant or not. It is one of the best and widely used methods to know if you are pregnant or not. It is not only reliable, safe and easy-to-use but also readily available in the market. This kit detects the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the urine, which is produced during pregnancy. Here’s more on why, when and how to use home pregnancy test kits?
There are many causes of missed menses and pregnancy is one of the key conditions. So if you missed your periods and suspect pregnancy, it is wise to get a test done. If you do not want to consult a doctor in the first place, then you can get a home pregnancy test to know if you are pregnant at the comfort of your place. Always remember, using protection while having sex not only prevents unwanted pregnancy but also lowers your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)