Is missing periods a definite sign of pregnancy?

Question: Is missing a period a definite sign of pregnancy?

The menstrual cycle is specific to each and every woman. The length of the cycle differs from woman to woman, as do the duration, blood colour and consistency, and other variables. Likewise, some women are regular while others are not. Irregularity might also arise among women who were otherwise regular in the past. Therefore, strictly speaking, missing a period is not a definite sign of pregnancy.

sign of pregnancy

Late periods are the result of a number of factors, apart from pregnancy. The following is a list of reasons that might explain delays:-

Significant weight loss

Conditions relating to nutrition like anorexia and bulimia might lead to missed periods as a way to protect the woman’s body from having to shelter a foetus when it is not ready. Therefore, in such cases, ovulation does not happen and the uterine lining does not break, and the woman misses her menses.

Excessive exercise

Engaging in exercise more than usual will cause a similar effect as is mentioned above. When the body is put under extreme stress, it sometimes reacts by delaying ovulation.


High levels of stress might affect the region of the brain that regulates hormone release, the hypothalamus. The latter is very sensitive to stress. Thus, periods can become irregular as a consequence of imbalance of hormones.

Birth control

Missing a period is one of the effects of some birth control measures. This is not considered to be dangerous by some experts and is even regarded as a desirable side-effect. Also, the effect will remain even when the woman has stopped using the birth control method and will start again after some time. Hormonal IUDs and implants generate the same effect on menses.


As a matter of fact, missing a period is not necessarily a sign of pregnancy. To determine if a woman is really pregnant or not, she should ideally use a pregnancy test.

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