3 days late for your period. Could you be pregnant?

If you're trying to conceive, a missed period can be an exciting time. However, it's important to remember that a late period doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a delayed period, including stress, travel, and changes in your exercise routine.

If you're used to having a normal cycle, it can be worrying or exciting when you suddenly find yourself 3 days late with a possible missed period. While there are many potential reasons for a missed period, one possibility is that you're pregnant. But how can you tell for sure?

What are the causes of a late or missed period?

Answer: If you have been sexually active, and more than a week has passed since the day your period was expected to start, it's very possible you're pregnant.

If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, have recently experienced significant weight loss or weight gain, or stopped taking your birth control pills, a missed period could also be the result of this.

Many pregnant women experience some bleeding around two weeks after fertilization and mistake it for a light period if pregnancy has occurred. But it can also be very normal because women's periods can develop at unpredictable intervals.

Why are some periods late or missed, and others are not?

Periods can be late for all kinds of reasons, like weight changes, an increase in exercise, hormones, and stress. It's also really common for periods to change in timing and flow during the first few years of your menstrual cycle, while your body develops and settles into a pattern.

This is probably what's causing your period to be tardy for the party. It is possible to be pregnant and have light bleeding that seems kind of like a period, but it's not the same as a period.

If you really feel like something is wrong, check with your healthcare professional who might offer an early pregnancy test or blood tests to be sure.

Are there early signs of pregnancy, even 3 days late?

Answer: There are some early signs of pregnancy that can start as early as 3 days past ovulation. Just because you're feeling a little off and have a late period doesn't mean you're pregnant necessarily.

Also, a late or missed period can be common in some cycles, especially if you have irregular periods or polycystic ovary syndrome.

There are some early pregnancy signs to watch out for as we will go on to talk about in our blog below that can help you better navigate your next move.

Here are some symptoms of early pregnancy

  • changes in mood or energy level
  • cramps or spotting
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea or vomiting/morning sickness
  • increased urination

Mood swings and early pregnancy symptoms

Some women experience no mood swings or other symptoms at all in the early weeks of pregnancy. Others have symptoms that are very similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome). 

For the reasons around implantation explained above, some women may not experience any pregnancy symptoms during the earliest part of the luteal phase. 

Not everyone is the same

If you're trying to conceive, it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of early pregnancy and understand that not everyone is the same. What might be severe symptoms for some women might go unnoticed by you.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone experiences every symptom, and some people experience different symptoms at different stages of pregnancy. No two pregnancies are alike!

Menstrual cycle - what exactly is it and how does it work?

Answer: The menstrual cycle is the process by which your body prepares for the release of an egg, and for successful fertilization and implantation of the egg, or for the next cycle to begin if the egg is not fertilized successfully. 

It's often referred to as a "monthly cycle," and although 28 days is an average menstrual cycle length, regular cycles can range from about 24 days to 34 days in length; and some women experience much longer cycles if their periods are more irregular.   It's also important to know that although you may have regular cycles, your ovulation may vary in timing from cycle to cycle.   That's why it's so useful to track cycles with an accurate tool like OvuSense.

What about irregular periods?

Answer: What are irregular periods? You have irregular periods if the length of your menstrual cycle (the gap between your periods starting) changes more frequently than for a woman with regular cycles.

Your periods may come early or late, sometimes alternating short with long cycles, and you may experience more spotting during your cycles.  Don't forget your cycle pattern is as individual as you are.  If you have irregular cycles then OvuSense is ideal for tracking your ovulation because it's able to predict ovulation using your current cycle data - meaning you don't have to worry about that variability.

What is PCOS?

Answer: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that can often cause irregular cycles, because the way in which the hormones that help egg growth and release, and the onset of periods don't behave as expected.

The condition occurs in approximately 10 percent of women, but around half of women with PCOS go undiagnosed.  There are outward signs of PCOS such excessive facial hair growth, acne, and/or male-pattern scalp hair thinning all caused by elevated androgen levels, but many women show no obvious outward signs of PCOS.  

It's really important to screen for PCOS if you're struggling to conceive because managing PCOS early in your reproductive life can really help both with getting pregnant but also reduce the risks of developing issues like diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. 

There's four bits of good news though:

1. Progesterone rise during ovulation is the same for all women whether or not they have PCOS.  Other hormones like LH don't behave the same when indicating ovulation for women with PCOS.

2. OvuSense measures this progesterone rise extremely accurately, and can predict when you are about to ovulate as a result - regardless of whether you have regular or irregular cycles

3. If you don't know whether you have PCOS, OvuSense Pro can be used to screen for it

4. You and your medical professional can use OvuSense Pro to track any medications or treatments you're given to manage your PCOS

Hormonal birth control

There are lots of causes for a late period that aren't for pregnancy reasons. One of the most common causes of late periods is hormonal birth control.

One of the ways that hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy is by thinning the uterine lining. This lining, or endometrium, is where an embryo would implant itself if you got pregnant. It's also the layer that sheds from your uterus during menstruation each month.

Birth control pills contain a progesterone-like hormone, which makes the lining of the uterus thinner and causes lighter bleeding episodes.

Should I take a pregnancy test?

We know the waiting is agony BUT.....the advice is to wait until 14 DPO (day post-ovulation) so that the test is as accurate as possible. However, if you are concerned, please seek advice from your healthcare professional.

How does a home pregnancy test work?

A pregnancy test works by detecting the presence of a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. hCG is produced by the body after implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.

Advice from us

If you are trying to conceive, it's useful to track your cycle and get accurate information. You might not realize that you are ovulating at the time you thought (many of us don't ovulate bang-on in the middle of the month!).

A fertility monitor like OvuSense or OvuFirst can give you the confidence and information you need about your menstrual cycles so that you can make the most of your time trying.

Wishing you the very best of luck on your fertility journey!