A late period is one of the scariest experiences if you're not planning on being a mum anytime soon. But it's actually quite normal for women's periods to be delayed for several reasons, and you shouldn't just assume it's because you're pregnant. Here are a few to keep in mind.
- Your cycle might be irregular from month to month. This means that last month your cycle might have been 24 days long, and this month it could be 32 days long. When your period doesn't show up when it's expected, it could be because your body hasn't finished its cycle yet.
- Stress caused you to ovulate later than usual. Your body releases an egg from your ovary with the intention of becoming pregnant and if you were worried or upset about something at that specific time, your body will wait until it feels you are emotionally ready. That means you could ovulate up to a week or more later than usual or you could even skip your period altogether.
- You are sick or injured. If your body is not well, then you aren't equipped to handle a pregnancy. Your body will ovulate when it feels you are healthy again. This could delay your period or stop it altogether.
- You're not getting enough to eat or are exercising too intensely. This again will affect your overall health. If your body is working too hard to keep you well, then there's no way a pregnancy can occur. Your period may be late, irregular, or it may disappear altogether until your body feels that your health is in order.
- You're taking new medication. Taking certain prescriptions or changing your medication can affect your cycle, so talk to your doctor if you skip your period.
Advice: If your cycle is consistently regular and your period happens to be unusually late, worrying about whether you're pregnant isn't going to make you get it any faster, so take a pregnancy test to help ease your mind. Whatever the results are, you'll be able to decide what step to take from there.
— Additional reporting by Alexis Nordby
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