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PMS Or Pregnancy: Help! What's Happening?

PMS Or Pregnancy: Help! What's Happening?

Written by Yoppie

22 Apr 2022

Am I pregnant... or is it just PMS?

What PMS symptoms are similar to pregnancy?

I’m still not sure if I’m pregnant or if it's just PMS...

My period is late. How long do I wait before I test? 

My PMS has me thinking I’m pregnant every month! What can I do to ease symptoms? 

Period hasn’t shown up? Feeling a little nauseous? Super fatigued? Sometimes figuring out if you’re pregnant or just experiencing PMS symptoms can be difficult, so let’s decipher the signs by looking at the overlapping symptoms of pregnancy and PMS, how you can tell them apart, and what to do if you think you might be pregnant. 

Am I pregnant... or is it just PMS?

Hold the phone! Whether you’re currently trying to get pregnant and you’re excited about the prospect, or you’re actively trying to avoid pregnancy and the thought is more than a little scary, let’s discuss what the actual signs of pregnancy are before we jump in because it’s not always like it is in the movies - we’re looking at you Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up! Common pregnancy symptoms include: 

  • A missed period (usually the earliest sign)
  • A very light period called implantation bleeding in the first few weeks of pregnancy 
  • Nausea or sickness, known as morning sickness, which often starts at around 4-6 weeks. Although it’s known as morning sickness, it can occur at any time
  • Tiredness that makes you feel anything from a little lethargic to full-blown exhausted, particularly in the first 12 weeks
  • Breast tenderness, soreness or changes including getting bigger, tingling, veins becoming more visible, and nipples darkening
  • Frequent urination, constipation or excess vaginal discharge
  • Unusual food cravings, avoiding foods you used to enjoy, having a strange taste in your mouth and a more sensitive sense of smell 
  • Mood changes due to fluctuating hormones  

Some lesser-known symptoms include bloating, cramping, and nasal congestion due to increased blood production causing mucous membranes in the nose to swell. Keep in mind, although many of these symptoms do occur in early pregnancy, you may not experience all of them or any of them. You may also experience these symptoms and not be pregnant, so let’s look at the ones that overlap with PMS symptoms. 

What PMS symptoms are similar to pregnancy?

In short… most of them! Unfortunately, it can be hard to differentiate between early pregnancy and PMS, because during PMS your body is essentially preparing itself for growing a fetus. Whether this does or does not happen doesn’t matter, and the body reacts in a similar way in both cases. Here are some PMS symptoms that imitate early pregnancy:

  • Mood swings such as anxiety, irritability or depression 
  • Changes in appetite, including increased food cravings
  • Changes in sleeping patterns that cause fatigue 
  • Bloating and/or cramping 
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation and changed bathroom habits 

I’m still not sure if I’m pregnant or if it's just PMS...

The easiest way to find out once and for all if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. You can take a test at any time, but keep in mind the result may not show up properly until a few weeks in. If you continue to get a negative result on the test (this is possible, since tests are not always accurate) but you suspect you are pregnant, see your doctor for a blood test which can give an earlier and more accurate result than a home test. 

If you find out you’re pregnant on a home test, book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to get your health checked and find out more. No matter what your decision is regarding the pregnancy, your doctor can talk you through the next steps. 

My period is late. How long do I wait before I test? 

Pregnancy tests measure a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which starts to build up in the body from the moment of conception. It usually takes some time for enough of this hormone to build up in your system before it will show up on a test, so although you can test any time, sometimes it’s more accurate to wait until around 3-4 weeks from the first day of your last period. 

My PMS has me thinking I’m pregnant every month! What can I do to ease symptoms? 

There are a number of things you can try to ease PMS symptoms so they don’t control your life each month. Here are just a few:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Sticking to whole foods and avoiding junk food, caffeine and alcohol can help keep your hormones balanced and your energy levels intact 
  • Stick to an exercise schedule. This doesn’t need to be a rigorous routine, just moving your body can help with symptoms like bloating, cramping and mood swings
  • Try supplements. Certain supplements can help ease PMS symptoms, both physical and emotional. Yoppie’s range is a good place to start!
  • Improve your sleep. This can help with fatigue symptoms but to be honest, better sleep can improve your whole life! 
  • Drink more! Staying hydrated can help with bloating and make cramping less severe
  • Heat pads or a hot water bottle. A warm bath also helps to ease painful cramps 
  • CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or other therapy styles. This helps you manage mental and emotional PMS symptoms and teaches coping strategies 

Got a question about pregnancy, PMS symptoms, or something else? We’d love to help you find the answer! Our team are always on hand to help, and you can reach out in our Full Stop FB group, or get in touch with us directly on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual cycle subscription box can get organic tampons, PMS supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, to give you just a bit more peace of mind each cycle.

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