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Can you spot bleed days before your actual period starts, or is the spotting considered the start?

By Anonymous October 5, 2009 - 10:49pm
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I am looking to get pregnant but am having trouble figuring out the actual start day of my last period. My periods are usually light on the first day, but sometimes I spot a few days before the actual flow begins. I'm just curious if the spotting is considered the first day to calculate ovulation from.

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Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

So thats it a tiny little bit for 2 or 3 days, do you think it will get heavier, as my Mums did? Its not that bad just a little strange. Thanks for the help

July 4, 2010 - 5:52am
EmpowHER Guest

I'm so glad you've posted this... i'm having the same issues. I've never had irregular periods. I have a son at 11months and before and after him my cycles where PERFECT 28 day, 6day flow cycles. I'm trying to conceive via syringe and home insemination as the acting traditional surrogate for a couple i know, and this is killing me. The spotting i mean. I never used to spot. Ever since our first insem i've started spotting on what should have been CD1 but the flow doesn't really start til three[ish] days later... So should i now, after all these years, adjust my cycle length? I also ovulate two days later than the average. On either CD16 or 17... and 'normally' have a LP of 10/11 days.

June 24, 2010 - 4:57pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Are you using any hormones or other medications, since you are the surrogate?

It is normal for woman's cycles to change through the years, but cycles can also change due to new medications, stress or other life events, recent illnesses, etc.

You are spotting a few days before your period? That is completely normal (as it sounds like you know), but I agree it is frustrating! Your cycle length may be changing slightly by just 2-3 days.

June 24, 2010 - 8:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am 13, and I was wondering if you spot before you get your first period ever? because I haven't had mine yet at all, and I want to know if I should expect to spot? and I have heard the basics, but can someone give me the full out detail od what spotting is? thanx

May 23, 2010 - 6:13pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Great question! Everyone is different, but usually you do not begin a heavy flow on day one of your period. You can, most likely, expect spotting (which can be brown, pink or bright red in color) or light bleeding. Does this help answer your question?

May 23, 2010 - 6:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have been trying since July, but the thing is that my husband is disabled so intercourse is difficult, we have chosen the syringe method ( which actually is quite conveinant when there is a toddler in the house). I have a 2&1/2 year old son who was concieved on the second try. (intercourse method). Anyway that is why I am trying to pinpoint it so exactly. Thanks for the advice. I purchased some ovulation detection strips to help aid me next time, but I was trying to find out if I was pregnant before I bought them. So do you (personally) think your period starts the day the actual flow begins? So I guess if I don't start by oct 22 (32 days) I should probably test again.

October 20, 2009 - 10:10pm

The spotting should indicate the first day of your period. This is how a lot of us get "warned" about our oncoming flow. If you have a 28 day cycle, Count from the first day of spotting to 10-14 days and that should be your window for ovulation.

Good Luck!

October 7, 2009 - 5:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)


I need help? I start my spotting today which is 11-11-11 and i have this spotting every time before my periods for 2 -3 days. i have a cycle which is close to 28 days. I have been trying to conceive but somehow due to this get the dates wrong? Can you help in telling me what dates are good for conceiving in the next month

November 10, 2011 - 9:49pm
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Anonymous (reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

I have a new question now.
I was supposed to start my period on oct 15 according to the 28 day cycle method. Calculating that from my last question you said I should count from the very first sign of spotting (which was sept 17). I really didn't start flowing until sept 20. But now this month I didn't get a "spot" until oct 17 then nothing and then another "spot" oct 19, now nothing again! I took a pregnancy test on oct 16 and oct 19, they both were negative. My periods are usually regular except for the last 2, could I still be pregnant?

October 20, 2009 - 5:43pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I am so glad you asked your question...I had the same thing happen to me! We were trying to conceive also, and I was tracking my menstrual periods. The last month, I spotted lightly on/off for an entire 6 days before my actual regular period began, and of course...this is the month before I conceive and did not know what to tell my doctor regarding the date of my last menstrual period (LMP). The five months prior were very regular...you just never know!

In my case, I kept track in a calendar the days I spotted and had heavier/regular bleeding, and then compared this information to what the doctor saw on the ultrasound (height/weight of fetus), said that the first day of my regular bleeding was the official first day of my last menstrual period (LMP). For me, the 6 days of spotting prior did not "count" as a period. Rosa's answer regarding the counting your spotting days as the first day of bleeding makes sense, too...it probably is very individual and depends on how much spotting there actually is, if it is more like light bleeding or if it is a spot of blood that could be easily missed. Our bodies just aren't perfectly set-up to work like clock-work every month!

I would try to keep track of two scenarios: one with your first day of spotting as the "day 1", and then first day of regular bleeding as your "day 1". I realize that gives you a huge window of possible times you may ovulate, but this is more realistic, anyways. Experts now recommend to have unprotected sex every-other day, regardless of where you are at in your cycle, for the best odds of conceiving.

My point of that long story: even if you are off the actual date by a few days, your doctor can help narrow down or pinpoint your due date via ultrasound, as well as your monthly prenatal visits to monitor the growth of the baby. Don't become to worried about getting the exact date right...few women actually do!

Now, to your last question. Having a few spots and then nothing probably would not count as a period, but it's great you are keeping track. I would suggest tracking both scenarios (first day of spotting and first day of regular bleeding), and calculate when your next period would begin. Spotting on/off would most likely not count as a period, however, unless it was more of a consistent spotting throughout the few days before your period.

Also, most women, even the most regular ones, are not a perfect 28-day cycle each and every time. Give yourself some room to be flexible with dates, and if you are tracking spotting and regular bleeding days, and also including a range of cycle length (say, 26-days to 30-days), you will have a broad range of possible ovulation, as well as possible future periods.

It may be too early for a pregnancy test to reveal a positive if you are pregnant, and I would wait a few days after the last day that you could possibly start your period. For instance...you could pick Sept 17 (spotting) or Sept 20 (flow) as your starting point, and I would choose Sept 20th. Then, instead of being set-in-stone on 28-day cycle, give yourself some room with a 30-day or 32-day cycle. After all of this, and you have not begun your period yet, then you can take a home pregnancy test. I just offer this, so that you save money on tests, and also don't become so overwhelmed and anxious about the exact precise moment.

How long have you been trying to conceive?

October 20, 2009 - 8:47pm
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