Does A Late Period Mean You Had A Miscarriage?

Dear Heather,

My friend told me that every time your period is pretty late, that means you had a miscarriage. Can you really have a miscarriage without even realizing it? I’m so freaked out.


Getting your period late is annoying, frustrating, and panic-inducing. Even if it’s just one day late, the absence of blood in your underwear can send you into a whirlwind of paranoid thoughts like, “Did I mess up with my birth control this month?!” and “Am I absolutely sure it’s late or did I just mix the dates up?” and the worst thought of all, “Could I be pregnant?”

All of this worry and stress isn’t pleasant, but should you be adding the question of, “Am I experiencing a miscarriage?” onto that? Does getting your period late really mean you just had a miscarriage? I don’t think so, but as I am not a trained doctor, I brought one in to explain better. My friend, Dr. Sherry Ross from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period care package you need to check out) steps in to give advice.

Dr. Ross explained, “I know we can all agree that irregular periods are frustrating and confusing. In a perfect world, periods come every 28 days, last two to three days, and PMS symptoms like cramps don’t exist… but this may not be your story. Irregular periods are common, especially during teenage years.”

But… do they mean that you were pregnant and lost the baby? Dr. Ross continued, “If your period is late and a home pregnancy test shows you are pregnant, then a late and heavy ‘period’ could be a miscarriage. If your pregnancy test is negative, you could just be having irregular periods due to things like excessive exercising, sudden changes in weight, sexually transmitted infections, emotional stress, thyroid abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and of course, pregnancy. So, if your periods are irregular, this does not necessarily mean you are pregnant… phew!”

Basically, the answer is this: late periods do not automatically mean a miscarriage. I mean, how could they? Every single person with a period out there has experienced lateness at least once. That would be A LOT of miscarriages. And so many of us experience irregular cycles every single month – that would be even more! It just wouldn’t add up.

If your period is pretty late, take a pregnancy test to be safe, but don’t automatically assume that that is the cause. Like Dr. Ross said, there could be so many other reasons. If you experience irregular periods all the time, you should consider going on the birth control pill or think about using an IUD… or another form of birth control. Make an appointment with a gynecologist to discuss your options. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

take care,

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!


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