pms vs pregnancy

The signs of pregnancy and period often easy to confuse. As a matter of fact, it can become quite difficult for even the seasoned mothers to differentiate between the symptoms of early pregnancy or signs that a period is coming. So how do you tell the PMS vs pregnancy symptoms?

Similar signs of pregnancy and period include soft breasts, headache, swelling, constipation, tiredness, morning sickness or spasm. The different signs include backache which is a symptom of period. On the other hand, spotting and frequent urge to urinate are symptoms of pregnancy.

Similar symptoms of pregnancy and period

As discussed above, before a period, a woman may have soft or inflated breasts along with headache, constipation, tiredness, acne etc. All these symptoms are similar to the signs of pregnancy as well.

You can see the similar symptoms of pregnancy and period in the table below.

Other similar symptoms of pregnancy and period

  • Morning sickness: Almost every pregnant woman goes through morning sickness during pregnancy. So, it can be thought of as a reliable symptom of pregnancy. Having said that, it does not always guarantee the fact that a woman is pregnant because there is a small number of women who suffer from vomiting or nausea during their periods.
  • Cramps: Abdominal or pelvic spasm or cramp is typical with women before or during their periods. Some pregnant women also go through cramping during the early days of their pregnancy in which case they must consult their gynecologist.

PMS vs pregnancy – different symptoms

You can see the signs of pregnancy and period that differ in the table below.

  • Backache: A number of women undergo backache before or during their period. Keep in mind that backache is by no means an early symptom of pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to suffer from backache only during the second and third trimesters owing to the growing uterus.
  • Missed period or spotting: Women who tend to have regular periods and do not undergo massive change in their life such as increase in their stress levels, long travels or consumption of unhealthy diet, if they miss their period then it is quite a sure shot sign that they are pregnant.

Similarly, spotting or very little bleeding can also be a sign of pregnancy. Women should always confirm whether they are pregnant as soon as they spot little bleeding. As soon as pregnancy is confirmed, they should consult their gynecologist since spotting or little bleeding can be a symptom of miscarriage.

  • Increased urge to urinate: During pregnancy, the blood volume increases significantly and so plenty of fluid does through the kidneys and then through the bladder. This can cause pregnant women to urinate frequently. In the early days of pregnancy, this sign may not be that obvious to a lot of women.


So, to put it short, a missed menstrual cycle is the only tell-tale sign of pregnancy if the woman has been having her regular period in the past and there has been no sudden weight loss or long travel. For new moms, it’s best to use pregnancy test kits or papers to confirm whether they are pregnant. The pregnancy test should happen in the morning after one gets up. It is advisable not to take in any fluid before the test, so the HCG levels in the urine don’t dilute.

If you know that you’re pregnant and you notice spotting, immediately consult your doctor for assistance.

[amazon box=”B000052XHI,B007VT30C8,B07XD3G1BN,B07XJQSFJM” template=”table”]

Frequently Asked Questions About PMS vs Pregnancy

1 – I believe that I have undergone all the pregnancy symptoms and all the three tests I took came out negative. Is it possible that I am still pregnant or is it just that my menstrual cycle has been delayed? I have been experiencing missed period, little bleeding, frequent urge to urinate, soft breasts, darker and larger areolas, light cramping, aversion from food, morning sickness, headaches, tiredness, inflammation, mood swings and discharge. 9th February was the first day of my last period and I did a blood test on 5th March. The results showed that I was not pregnant. Am I pregnant or not?

Answer: There is a probability that you may be pregnant. Taking into account the fact that February is a short month and the blood test on the 5th of March may be considered a bit too early. We would urge you to take a home pregnancy test in the coming few days. Take the test in the morning and do not take in any fluid to ensure that the HCG levels are not diluted.

2 – I had my last menstrual cycle on 21st January and based on my ovulation kit, I ovulated on 4th February. I had unprotected sexual intercourse the same day. I should have had my next period on 18th February but it has been delayed by 25 days. The three pregnancy tests that I have taken have come out negative. I feel sleepy all day long and nauseous as well. Other symptoms include stomach ache along with a milky white discharge. I think that I am pregnant but this morning I had cramps which lasted for about 10 minutes or so and it really felt as if I were on my period. So, I went to the loo. On wiping, I noticed light pink spotting. There has been no spotting or cramps ever since. Can you suggest me the next course of action?

Answer: Since your period has been delayed by such a large number of days, so it can be a symptom that you are pregnant. The cramps and spotting are tell-tale signs that you are pregnant. Other symptoms such as fatigue can be the signs of both pregnancy and period.

We would suggest you to visit your gynecologist and undergo an ultrasound scan first. Then undertake a blood test. These tests would pretty much confirm whether you are pregnant or not.

3 – My period has been delayed by three days. I have not been taking the birth control pill for the last three months since we decided that it was time to make an attempt to conceive. We have been attempting since then. I always tend to have cramps a week before my period is about to begin. Few days back, I had plenty of white milky discharge and it was so much that I had to change and take shower. Occasionally, I feel sick and sometimes I feel very hungry. I have not experienced any stress lately.

Answer: Since you have not been stressing out, so a missed period can be a symptom of you being pregnant. White milky discharge is another sign that you are pregnant since more blood flows to the vaginal region and hence the vaginal discharge.

We would suggest you to take a home pregnancy test in the morning since it is the only way you can determine whether you are pregnant or not at home.

4 – I have been having nausea and am unable to eat any kind of meat or even being around it makes me feel sick. I have been sentimental and fatigued of-late. Me and my boyfriend are sexually active. I have been experiencing little fluttering in my lower abdomen. Maybe I am pregnant or its just sickness. I am really afraid. Is it just the period or am I pregnant?

Answer: In your case, it is quite hard to determine whether you are pregnant or not since there are certain symptoms of pregnancy that match those of period. So, the best way to find out is to take a home pregnancy test when your period is due. Take the test in the morning without taking any fluids.

Also, make sure to relax as stressing out can further delay your period which in turn can cause more stress.

5 – My period was due today but it did not happen. Why is that so? I had sexual intercourse with my boyfriend when I was fertile but he pulled out on time. Previously, my period always came on time. I have yet to take the pregnancy test, so I’m freaking out. I can only take it three days later. Sure I am tense, but not so much that it would delay my period.

Answer: In addition to stress, weight loss, long travel and over exercising can also delay your period. Your stress can delay the period by a few days but there are chances that you may be pregnant.

A number of people only notice their pregnancy symptoms such as spotting or cramps near their period. But the only way to confirm your condition is by taking a home pregnancy test. Currently, you can only take some rest, relax, and wait to take your test.

6 – I had pregnancy test one week before my period and it came out negative. Is there any need to take another test or the first one is reliable?

Answer: It is recommended that the pregnancy should only be taken when the period is due. Even if you get pregnant, the body takes its time to produce the requisite amount of hormone so that it can be detected by the pregnancy test kit.

7 – I had unprotected sexual intercourse with my boyfriend at the peak of my ovulation days and I am not sure if I am pregnant. I took the birth control pill after about 11 hours of having sex. Is there any possibility that I can still get pregnant?

Answer: The probability of you getting pregnant after having unprotected sexual intercourse during ovulation increases manifolds. Having said that, you have taken the birth control pill. Most of the pills are effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. So, the probability of you getting pregnant are very bleak.

If you still have doubts, you may as well take the home pregnancy test when your period is due.