If your period is usually right on schedule and you're now late, you might well be pregnant. Some pregnant women do notice some light spotting around the time their period is due. This bleeding may be caused by the fertilized egg burrowing into the blood-rich lining of your uterus
(a process that starts just 6 days after fertilization) but no one knows for sure. And it's a lot lighter than a typical period — just a little spotting over a day or two. On the other hand, it's not uncommon to get your menses a few days late every once in a while. The best way to find out is to take a home pregnancy
test.Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin
(hCG), a placental hormone that your body starts making more of around the time a fertilized egg implants in your uterus. These home tests are now able to detect fairly low levels of hCG. By the time your period is a few days late, you should be able to get a positive result if you're pregnant. For best results, use your first urine of the morning (which is more concentrated so it should have more hCG) and follow the directions carefully. If you get a negative result but your period still doesn't arrive in the next week, repeat the test.In the meantime, if you spot again or if you feel other symptoms such as pelvic or abdominal pain
, or lightheadedness
, call your practitioner immediately so you can be evaluated to make sure that you don't have an ectopic pregnancy. (You may have an ectopic pregnancy even if you don't get a positive result on a pregnancy test.) A small amount of bleeding or cramping may also be a sign of impending miscarriage
, but some women do spot for no discernable reason in the first trimester with a normal pregnancy.