My partner and I have been trying for a baby, and I'm a few days late. This morning I saw small spots of blood when I went to the toilet. Is this my p

It's impossible to say for sure at this stage. If your period is usually right on schedule and you are now late, you might well be pregnant. On the other hand, it's not uncommon for women to get their period a few days late sometimes.

If the suspense is too much for you to bear, consider taking a home pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced around the time the fertilised egg implants in your womb. Your hCG levels rise sharply thereafter.

Home tests are able to detect fairly low levels of hCG. It's best to do them with your first urine of the day because it's more concentrated, so should contain more hCG. Follow the directions carefully, and you might get a result this early. If you get a negative result, but your period still doesn't arrive, you might want to try doing another test after a few days.

Lots of women have pregnancy symptoms early on, though not usually until two weeks after a missed period. Sore, tingly or tender breasts may be your earliest indicator of pregnancy, although some women feel this way before each period. Nausea and fatigue are other common pregnancy symptoms, and so is a need to wee more frequently.

It is thought that implantation (when the embryo attaches itself to the lining of the womb) can sometimes cause spotting. One small prospective study, of 151 pregnant women in the US, found that nine per cent of women had at least one day of bleeding in early pregnancy (Harville et al 2006). The authors of this study concluded that bleeding was associated more strongly with the day when a woman's period was due, rather than implantation.

If you have other symptoms, such as a one-sided pain low down in your tummy, see your midwife or doctor immediately; you could have an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants in the fallopian tube rather than the womb). Bleeding with abdominal pain may also be a sign of an impending miscarriage, but that certainly isn't true in every case.

Finally, it's possible that the blood you saw may have nothing to do with pregnancy. Your cervix could be inflamed and bleed easily, especially after cervical smears, internal examinations or sex. Or you may have an infection. Either way, it's always important to report any bleeding between periods or after sex to your doctor.

If you do get your period and haven't yet scheduled a pre-pregnancy visit to your GP, consider doing so now. She will examine you and take you and your family's medical history to identify any potential problems or genetic risks. She can also check that you are immune to rubella (which can be harmful to newborn babies) with a simple blood test.

Use this time to re-evaluate your lifestyle; smoking, drinking, and drugs are not compatible with pregnancy. On the other hand, exercise and a good diet will help you now and throughout your pregnancy.

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