Can You Have Pregnancy Symptoms and Your Period at the Same Time?

Julie Kirk
Confused woman listens to doctor

You may be concerned if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms while you have your period. However, if you are truly having early signs of pregnancy, the bleeding is most likely from a different source and not your period.

Similar Symptoms You May Experience

There are symptoms that may overlap when it comes to pregnancy and PMS. The most common symptoms you may experience for early pregnancy that are similar to symptoms you may experience at the beginning of your period include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings and irritability

What Causes Periods With Pregnancy Symptoms?

There are a number of reasons why you may have a period (or period-like bleeding) with pregnancy symptoms. This includes:

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

It is not easy to differentiate PMS and early pregnancy symptoms since they are so similar. This is due to the progesterone hormone that is released after ovulation that typically causes the symptoms. If your are truly experiencing PMS symptoms, the hormone will eventually stop releasing, your PMS symptoms will ease up and you will get your period.

Implantation Bleeding

If you are experiencing spotting or light bleeding with pregnancy symptoms, this is likely due to implantation bleeding. This happens when a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining of the uterus. This also may cause mild cramping. While this type of bleeding and cramping is typically not associated with your menstrual period, it could be easily mistaken for it.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. This is when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is most commonly found in one of the fallopian tubes. Initially, the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy could be similar to a normal pregnancy and bleeding and pain could occur as well. Even though the bleeding is different from a menstrual period, it still may initially be confused with period bleeding. It is important to be diagnosed early if you have an ectopic pregnancy to prevent a rupture, internal bleeding and other complications. If you suspect an ectopic pregnancy, get to a doctor immediately.

What to Do if You're Experiencing Symptoms

Keeping track of your menstrual cycles is key to knowing what may be going on with your body. Unfortunately, if your cycles are irregular, this may be difficult. If you are trying for pregnancy or realize that the timing of intercourse may have led to pregnancy, this can also help determine if you are truly having pregnancy symptoms or not. Ultimately, if you are having pregnancy symptoms and are bleeding or may have your period, you should take a pregnancy test. It also is a good idea to discuss these issues with your doctor.

Symptoms of a False Pregnancy

While it is rare, a woman can experience a false pregnancy, also known as a phantom pregnancy or by the medical name pseudocyesis. Even though it's a false pregnancy, the symptoms are real. This is when a woman believes she's pregnant and even has typical signs of early pregnancy such as belly distention, breast tenderness and a missed period; however, there is no pregnancy. Depending on the circumstances, this condition may occur due to physical issues such as an ovarian tumor or psychological reasons such a previous pregnancy loss and the strong desire to have a baby.

Best to Be Cautious

Since the symptoms of early pregnancy and PMS can often be similar, it may difficult to determine what may be going on until you take a pregnancy test or start an obvious period. If you are not sure if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms or PMS symptoms and are bleeding or think you have your period, you should talk with your doctor. It is important to let your doctor know, especially if your cycles are typically regular and these symptoms are unusual for you, because there is a chance that these symptoms could be indicative of a more serious matter.

Can You Have Pregnancy Symptoms and Your Period at the Same Time?