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am very stressed about possibly becoming pregnant...

By July 2, 2009 - 9:04pm
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my boyfriend and i have sex frequently. we have never had unprotected sex and we always use condoms.

tomorrow, my period will be a day late (my last cycle was on june 4). a few days ago i noticed that i had faint dark circles around my areola. i've been searching around on the internet and have discovered that this is usually a sure sign of pregnancy. this is one reason why i have become so paranoid. my breasts were sore for a few days, which happens to me every month right before my period is about to start, but they have since stopped hurting. besides that, no other pms symptoms.

i am normally regular in my cycles, and the latest my period has ever been is 31 days. i realize that the only way for me to know for sure if i am pregnant is to take a test. if i am pregnant, however, i would be very surprised because we're always so careful.

i have been extremely paranoid about this for the last week or so, to the point where i can't sleep at night, and am just looking for some answers or advice. i am NOT looking to become pregnant.

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SU, I'm glad you found EmpowHer, and thank you for your question.

I'm so very sorry that you're living with this anxiety. I know that at times it's probably all you can think about. But breathe for a second and let's look at the facts.

1. You're very careful about birth control, always using a condom.
2. You have had a cycle before that was 31 days long.
3. If this cycle were to be 31 days long, your period wouldn't come until Sunday.

So that's a start. You can absolutely be a couple more days late and it doesn't mean that you're pregnant.

With a last-period start date of June 4, if you're expecting your period July 3, that means you expect it to come 28 days from your last one. With that in mind, your most fertile days would have been 6/14 through 6/24, with your most possible day of ovulation being somewhere around 6/19. Do you remember if you had sex around that day? (I realize, however, you may not keep a calendar of days when you had sex since you always use birth control.)

It is normal to have faint circles around your areola; usually they are just a tad darker than your skin color. Here's an image of the changes in an areola before and during pregnancy. Is this what you're seeing? (And note: This image is of a second trimester, as the body starts getting ready to nurse).


When women talk about darkening areolas during pregnancy, they tend to mean a much darker color in those circles, like brown (if you have light skin). Normally, the earliest signs of pregnancy are tender breasts (and the tenderness doesn't go away), fatigue (much more than usual) and needing to urinate more than normal. There might be some mild implantation spotting. Following that tends to be nausea and/or cravings for certain foods.

This doesn't mean you can't be pregnant. There is a very, very small chance that you could. But it sounds like you are very careful and that you're not having any of the true early pregnancy symptoms.

Can we talk about your stress for a minute? I have to tell you that stress is probably making this worse. Stress affects our hormones, and our hormones are directly responsible for our cycles. Things like stress, changes in activity, changes in medication or diet, heat and lack of sleep can totally affect you. If you can, try to breathe and worry about it less for a couple more days. You could take a home pregnancy test when you are one day late, but here's what I always say to women about that: If the HPT comes up negative, will you believe it? Or will you just think it's wrong because you took it too early? If the latter is the case, then wait a few more days.

However, nothing but a test or your period will tell you for sure. I'm betting that you'll start your period in the next couple of days, especially if you have none of the traditional early signs of pregnancy.

Please come back and update us. We're here for you regardless of which way it goes.

July 3, 2009 - 7:51am
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