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HomeAnswersFamily PhysicianpregnancyThere was post-protective pill bleeding. Is pregnancy possible?

Can withdrawal bleeding occur in a woman if she takes a contraceptive pill a week before the expected period date?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Sameer Kumar

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At October 25, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 26, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My partner and I had intercourse on the 32nd day of her menstrual cycle. She took an emergency contraceptive pill 13 to 14 hours after sex. Her expected period was within a week after intercourse. After taking the contraceptive pill, she had bleeding. We also did a serum beta-hCG test, and the report is attached.

My questions are:

  1. Are there any chances of pregnancy?
  2. Can we conclude that withdrawal bleeding occurred because ECP was taken around a week before the expected period date?
Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Her serum beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) report (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity) suggests that she is pregnancy safe. The bleeding that she experienced within five to seven days post taking the emergency contraceptive pill is likely to be her withdrawal bleeding and indicates that there has been adequate endometrial shed. Therefore, she is not pregnant at all. A common myth is that a lady would get withdrawal bleeding and become pregnant.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Is there any chance of pregnancy? I did a serum beta-hCG test after 16 days of intercourse just to be sure. Does withdrawal bleeding itself suggest that the pregnancy has not happened? Also, she had a cold and fever last week and is fine now. Also, since the intercourse was on the 32nd day, do you think an emergency contraceptive pill was needed?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

There is no pregnancy from the attached reports (attachments removed to protect the patient's identity). Also, an emergency contraceptive pill is advised to be taken within 72 hours of intercourse to be safe.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Is the presence of withdrawal bleeding enough to confirm that the pill has worked and that there is no pregnancy?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Do not worry, as there is no pregnancy.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

This was the first time we took it, so we had a lot of confusion, and the more you read on the internet, the more worried and confusing it gets. So if she normally has a 35 to 40-day cycle and withdrawal bleeding, can the next period be expected in the first week of the month? Is she pregnant?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The periods may be delayed by even ten to 15 days. So, the next date could be after a month.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Is that delay due to pregnancy? We have conclusively ruled out pregnancy with the presence of withdrawal bleeding and the serum beta-hCG test.

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, the pregnancy can be ruled out.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Do you think the serum beta-hCG test needs to be taken again for this incident? Also, does withdrawal bleeding at the expected periods mean the endometrium has completely shed?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You shall need an ultrasound pelvis after three days post-stoppage of bleeding to confirm complete endometrial shedding. Serum beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) test can be undertaken eight days post-last intercourse to rule out pregnancy. If the levels are less, then you are surely not pregnant.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

I cannot get an ultrasound done, so I will just trust the beta-hCG serum report.

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Please consult me for further queries.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

I still wanted to consult you to ensure my partner is not pregnant.

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, with serum beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) latest report being negative, she has no pregnancy risk.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Beta-hCG serum report was taken 16 days after intercourse. Is it enough to rule out pregnancy?

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The report (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity) is correct.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Will the LMP affect the beta-hCG report? I am not sure what LMP was mentioned to the laboratory or if they even asked, but I just wanted to clarify if that date has anything to do with the result we receive.

Answered by Dr. Sameer Kumar

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The last menstrual period has nothing to do with the result of beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). Instead, it is the day post intercourse which is important for beta-hCG reliability.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sameer Kumar
Dr. Sameer Kumar

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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