ZocdocAnswersHow late is late for a menstrual period?

Question

How late is late for a menstrual period?

I'm a few days late on my period. Could I be pregnant? How late should I be before a pregnancy test?

Answer

The answer to this question depends on how regular your periods usually are. If your periods usually come exactly 28 to 30 days apart, and now you are 4 or 5 days late, then it is possible something is going on (such as pregnancy). If you are typically irregular and have you periods at different intervals, then it is tougher to tell if you are really late. If you feel that your are significantly later than you usually are, then you should take a pregnancy test. The home pregnancy tests that you can buy at the grocery store are very sensitive. This means that if you are pregnant, then the pregnancy test will pick it up. These tests are able to detect a pregnancy about 1-2 weeks after conception. Thus, if you are already a few days late, the pregnancy test will tell you whether or not you are pregnant. In addition, you should schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. He or she can take a detailed history of your cycle intervals and any other symptoms you may be having. In addition, the doctor can perform a physical exam. If you do not have access to a home pregnancy test, your doctor can perform one in the office. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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