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Negative HPTs and Still No Period
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.
Cynthia FlynnQ. I am 21 DPO (days past ovulation) and am a week late with my period. I have NEVER been late in my life. I took two home pregnancy tests, one at 15 DPO and one at 17 DPO. Both tests were negative. I am scared to take another one because I don't want to see another negative!! I have had discomfort in the lower abdominal area (normal PMS symptoms for me) and off and on tingling in my breasts. They seem firmer and more "perky" to me too. My appetite has grown considerably too with a little off an on queasiness. I called an obgyn office today to make an appointment for a test, but they seemed surprised that I was wanting an appointment after only being a week late so I canceled it. I am a healthy person with no stress or excessive exercise and can think of no other reason why my period would be late. I'm sure that I ovulated based on all the normal ovulation symptoms I had. Should I go to the doctor now or wait another week? If I'm not pregnant, I'm surprised that I'm late and want to know if there is something else wrong.

A. It is not uncommon for normal women to miss a period once in a while, or to be really late if they're stressed. It is also not uncommon for a few women to be really slow at making HCG, the hormone a pregnancy test (urine or blood) looks for. In my practice, I tell women in your situation that there are three possibilities:

  1. this is "one of those times" when they just missed a period

  2. they are making the hormone more slowly than usual and to come back in two weeks (or after their next missed period if they can stand to wait that long) for a repeat test

  3. they actually conceived, but the baby did not get off to a good start, so they are in the process of miscarrying so they can try again for a healthy baby. It is very sad when a miscarriage happens, but we are fortunate as a species that our bodies usually detect a problem early so that most of the babies born at term are healthy.

Unfortunately, there is really nothing more that can be done right now to decide which it is but wait . . .

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