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Am I Pregnant or is this PMS?

Katlyn Joy |25, July 2014


When it's that time of the month, where the calendar has a red circle, and you're expecting your period, but it doesn't start, you can't help but wonder; "Am I pregnant, or is my period just late?" Without taking a pregnancy test, it's hard to tell because the symptoms of PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome and early pregnancy are very similar. So let's look at some common symptoms of pregnancy and PMS and see if yours fit more in line with pregnancy or period signs.


This one is possible for either condition. However, is this bloating you are experiencing typical of your regular PMS? Is it less obvious or more obvious now? Is your tummy even a bit tender? Some women experience some tenderness or sensitivity along with bloating when in early pregnancy.


Cramps are a definite big symptom of PMS, and not usually associated with early pregnancy. However, some women will experience some discomfort and fullness, perhaps even mild cramps. Painful cramps that are like your usual period cramps are not expected in pregnancy. If cramping does occur in the early weeks, you should see a doctor as it could possibly indicate an impending miscarriage, or if it gets worse, an ectopic pregnancy.


A hallmark of PMS, moodiness ranging from being short-tempered to weepy is also connected to early pregnancy. This typically improves in mid-pregnancy, only to resurface in the final weeks, sometimes with a vengeance.

Back pain or aches.

While back pain is one of the most common complaints of pregnancy, it doesn't usually surface until later in pregnancy when your figure has blossomed, to say it sensitively. The weight gain and the center of gravity being off will cause back pain in the second and almost always in the last trimester. If you have back pain now, it's a better indicator of an impending period.


Do you normally feel tired as your period approaches? If so, is this the same level or intensity of fatigue? If you feel extraordinarily tired, to where you just feel depleted, that would be a stronger indication of pregnancy.

Food aversions.

This is a key element of morning sickness, even if you never experience vomiting. However, some women commonly feel some nausea or queasiness with PMS as well. The way to differentiate is to know your body. If you normally don't feel sick with the smell of garlic or greasy food, but now it sends you running to the restroom, that might mean you're expecting a baby rather than Aunt Flo.


Food cravings are regular features of PMS. What would a trip to the store be without a box of tampons, a pound of chocolate and a bag of chips around that time? When pregnant, food cravings most likely won't start until the tail end of the first, or into the second trimester, when you begin to gain weight.

Breast tenderness.

This is a major symptom for both PMS and pregnancy. How to know the difference? If you usually have some tenderness around menstruation, but now it's much more severe and possibly involving different parts of your breast or different kinds of pain or sensitivity than you are used to, it may be that you are expecting.

General feeling that your period is about to start any moment.

Believe it or not, that could be a sign of either your period or pregnancy. Often women report that they were sure they were about to start, and day after day slipped by with no period.


OK, you're thinking, that has to be a sign of PMS, right? Yes, but it can also occur in early pregnancy. A number of women will spot around the time their period would be due, sometimes more than one month. It's not usually as heavy as a normal period, but rarely it can be. For bleeding that becomes heavier than a usual period, and is accompanied by strong cramping or sharp intense pains, you should see the doctor, in case of a miscarriage or a tubal pregnancy.

A feeling that you are pregnant.

This is highly subjective. Many women swear they just felt different, or had an inkling that they were pregnant. However, if you are hoping to be pregnant, it can be a case of over-thinking combined with wishing, that may make you feel different.

Tell us in the comments area below, what symptoms have you experienced that made you run to get a pregnancy test?

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Pregnant Moms Say, "Oh, My Aching Back!!!"

When a Missed Period Means You're Pregnant


Showing 1 - 10 out of 63 Comments
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Skyblue Sep 3, 2018 08:10:11 PM ET

I always have since I started my period age 12, sore breasts, bloating, nausea, cravings, and back pain, also bad cramps. This month is totally different for me. I have been feeling extremely sleepy and tired, I had no back pain at all, no sore or tender breasts, no painful cramps(rarely got low cramps). It's just totally not the same. My period is due today, still not here and my body feels normal, pain free. I am still waiting on AF but, this month no pms at all.

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Boingotlo Aug 28, 2018 09:04:25 PM ET

I had my period on the 15th to the 19th,had unprotected sex on the 19th until the 28th but, not on the 27th. Could i be pregnant?

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Guest Jun 13, 2018 12:35:39 AM ET

Ok so this is the second time my period is late. last month was over 8 days. I have irregular periods that are always on-time every 21 days except for last month, and this month I have iron deficiency and had hormone testing done which came back normal. I'm not going through menopause yet. I haven't been on contraception for almost 3 years now. I needed to give my body a break and am very good with my ovulation readings so sex with my partner has been fine except for last month which was a bit scary. I have 3 children already and just found out around 3 weeks ago I have endometriosis, but I still worry if I maybe pregnant this time as I never get this emotional with my period. I guess I'll just have to wait to see if it comes in the next few days

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Smw37 Jun 4, 2018 10:15:14 PM ET

My period came on May 21, ovulation day June 4, have sex June 2, started bleeding June 4, still bleeding. Could I be pregnant?

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Unknown May 9, 2018 12:35:22 AM ET

My period was supposed to come 5-3-18. Today is 5-8-18. My boobs are SUPER sore and I've been cramping on and off since 5-1-18. Sometimes i cramp as if my period is coming at any moment, but NOPE! Should i take a pregnancy test now or wait a few more days? HELP PLEASE! I'VE NEVER BEEN PREGNANT and I don't know whats WRONG WITH MY BODY. my periods are ALWAYS on time.

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Candice Evelyn Mar 18, 2018 02:36:52 AM ET

My period isn't due until the last couple of days of the month but, my boobs are KILLING ME and massive. I swear this isn't my norm.

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Tammy Mar 8, 2018 07:30:34 PM ET

I am waiting 37 days as my flo calendar says, but I've been on a injection, only went twice since I've got it, then I've changed to a contraceptive pill. I took an early detective pregnancy test and it came out negative. Should I just wait for my period!? Because of my changes of contraceptives. Need some answers please.

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Ramona Feb 28, 2018 02:46:38 AM ET

I'm a month past my period after tomorrow and I feel all symptoms of my period bloating, craving, and feeling emotional and irritable. I feel extremely tired. I even checked my iron which was 14, good. I took a pregnancy test negative. I think it could be my hormones.

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Crystal Jan 19, 2018 11:07:49 PM ET

Me and my fiance have actively been trying to have a baby. I have two boys from bf before him so this would be our first together. My period is always on the same day, give or take a couple of hours. Well my period is over due by 2 days! I have been extremely tired, to the point I have zero energy to get out of bed. Falling asleep on the couch! (Haha) Super sensitive to everything. My nipples are tingling, but my boobs don't hurt. I lost my appetite, only eat at night now. But I've taken 2 tests, both have come back negative. With both my boys I never got a positive until past 2 months pregnant and I got my period first couple months. Could I be getting a false negative?

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Gracie Dec 16, 2017 06:29:50 AM ET

Husband and I been having unprotected sex for months. AF not due for another 9 days. Been so emotional for the last few days, cramping lightly now and then for a couple days and really tired. Shortness of breath and dizziness come now and again too. Don't usually experience crazy emotions and cramps until a few days before my period. Possibly pregnant?

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