One of the most frequently asked questions online is, “I [have this symptom]. Am I pregnant?” Just looking at the symptoms themselves, it would be very hard to know. That’s because the signs of pregnancy could also be related to many other conditions.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions and what – other than pregnancy – might be the cause.

  • My period came late – Very few women have periods that run like clockwork. It is extremely common for the length of your cycle to increase or decrease over time. In fact, teens and women in their 40s tend to have cycles that are longer and that change a lot. While “normal” is considered 28 days, having your period come a few days late is not necessarily a sign that you’re pregnant.

Your hormones control your menstrual cycle, so small changes that take place in your body can throw things off from time to time. Also, stress, excessive exercise, certain prescription drugs, the amount of time you’ve been off your birth control, the type of birth control you are using, and even living in close quarters with other women can throw your cycle out of whack and cause your period to be late.

  • I have nausea after sex – Many things can cause nausea after sex (intercourse) including endometriosis, the position of your ovaries during sex, the pressure on your abdomen during sex, depth of penetration and several others.
  • I’m so sleepy – Yes, being tired is a very common pregnancy symptom, but it alone doesn’t mean that you’re expecting. If you’re experiencing a lot of stress, taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines such as antihistamines for allergies, filling your day with too many commitments, or not getting enough sleep, then you’re likely to be tired.
  • I have weird stomach pains – Stomach pain is extremely common for all sorts of reasons. In addition to pregnancy, you might experience stomach pains caused by something you ate (a type of food you aren’t used to or leftovers from the fridge that were a bit too old), a stomach virus, constipation or any number of other issues.
  • I see spotting/discharge after sex – Anytime there is a lot of “activity” around your uterus, you run the risk of spotting or discharge. Possible culprits are a yeast or bacterial infection, sexually transmitted disease (STD), PAP smear or being too rough during intercourse. Many women also have spotting (also known as breakthrough bleeding) when they start a new type of birth control or the dose is inadequate.
  • My period only lasted one day (or some other short amount of time) – As we mentioned earlier, teens and women in their 40s tend to have a lot of changes in their cycles. It’s not uncommon to skip a period every now and then (occurs more often if you’re over 40) or to occasionally have a very short period.

With all of this being said, it is possible that you are pregnant. The only way to know for certain is to take a pregnancy test.

Gateway provides free, lab-certified pregnancy tests administered by skilled professionals. Call Gateway, your local Raleigh pregnancy center, at 919.833.0096, to set up an appointment. We have nurses on hand to answer your questions.