Birthday rules: origins and meaning

Period anniversary (metrorrhagia) refers to light bleeding that can occur during early pregnancy on the expected date of the period. Around 1 in 4 women experience light bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Birthday periods: a phenomenon that causes discomfort

Period anniversaries represent a particular phenomenon of pregnancy, often a source of confusion and worry. This is bleeding, also called metrorrhagia, which occurs at the beginning of pregnancy , sometimes perceived as normal periods.

Symptoms, duration, color and associated pain vary. But as it involves bleeding, it is in any case important to feel comfortable with suitable French menstrual panties . Note also that a range of postpartum lingerie also exists, including postpartum menstrual panties .

What are birthday rules?

We talk about “birthday periods”, but they are not actually periods since during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle stops and there is no uterine mucosa to evacuate. They are so called because some pregnant women experience what are called “birthday periods”. This is bleeding that occurs on the date when they would have had their period if they were not pregnant.

Unlike menstruation which refers to the gradual elimination of the uterine lining at the end of the cycle (if the egg is not fertilized), anniversary periods can be “artificial” periods following a hormonal upheaval, as is the case with the pill.

If this blood loss is benign, it is important to always consult a doctor to check the cause.

How to explain and recognize birthday rules?

They occur in the first trimester of pregnancy and are less abundant than classic periods.

Birthday periods can have several causes

  1. When the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining also called implantation , some small bleeding may occur. They are caused by the rupture of small blood vessels, and do not look like periods (rather pinkish and/or brown bleeding). They are benign but may be slightly painful (tightening).

  2. Bleeding can come from the cervix if it is weakened by sexual intercourse or vaginal examination.

  3. They can also be caused by a small so-called “decidual” hematoma (which describes anything that has the characteristic of detaching from the body and falling like a hair or a nail). When it comes off, it causes a small loss of blood.

  4. Finally, it happens that no cause is found.

Other blood loss during pregnancy

Bleeding at the start of pregnancy should always be the subject of a medical consultation because it may be a sign of a pregnancy complication. This can be a sign of a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or a molar pregnancy.

The specific case of denial of pregnancy

If a woman is pregnant but is not aware of it, this is called denial of pregnancy. She can continue to take a pill-type contraceptive which will cause artificial periods which will be lighter than real periods but can be considered as such.

To find out more about pregnancy denial, we recommend this Bliss podcast with the testimony of Roxane, a young mother, who experienced pregnancy denial.

Understanding the birthday rules

Birthday periods are therefore a phenomenon that can occur at the beginning of pregnancy, generally on the expected date of normal menstruation. They are due to blood loss which, although similar to usual periods, is not linked to the menstrual cycle . However, they are not a normal manifestation of pregnancy and only occur in rare cases.

It is actually metrorrhagia, blood loss which does not have the same mechanism as periods . Unlike the latter, which are the result of the elimination of the uterine lining in the absence of fertilization, metrorrhagia is not linked to a menstrual cycle.

Despite their name, birthday rules only have “rules” in appearance . They can be confused with menstruation, especially if they occur on the usual period date.

Period birthdays and pregnancy

Associated signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with period anniversaries can vary from woman to woman. However, some are common enough to be noted.

  • Bleeding : Anniversary periods generally appear as light bleeding (pink or brown) compared to normal periods.

  • Abdominal pain : Abdominal cramps or lower abdominal pain may also occur.

  • Pregnancy symptoms : Furthermore, the presence of other signs usually linked to pregnancy (nausea, tightness in the uterus, fatigue, etc.) can accompany this bleeding and create confusion as to the state of pregnancy.

  • Severe pain : Finally, particularly intense pain associated with your period anniversary could be a sign of a complication such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In this case, a medical consultation is necessary.

It is essential to listen to your body and consult a health professional if in doubt.

Difference between normal periods and birthdays

Normal periods and anniversary periods may seem similar, but they have distinct characteristics.

Normal periods result from the shedding of the uterine lining in the absence of fertilization, while anniversary periods are blood losses that usually occur during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Onset : Normal periods occur according to a regular menstrual cycle, while anniversary periods can appear on the theoretical period date, even in the case of pregnancy.
  • Abundance : Normal periods are generally heavier than anniversary periods.
  • Pain : Anniversary periods are often painless, unlike normal periods which can be accompanied by cramps.
  • Color : Birthday periods are a lighter shade, often pink-brown, while normal periods are usually a brighter red.

How do you know if they are true?

To determine if the bleeding is a true period anniversary, several things can be taken into account.

  1. Their timing. Period anniversaries generally appear on the theoretical period date, even during a confirmed pregnancy.
  2. Their characteristics . This bleeding can vary in intensity, from light spotting to heavier discharge.
  3. The absence of intense pain . If severe pain accompanies the bleeding, you should consult a healthcare professional, as this could indicate a complication.
  4. Finally, pregnancy symptoms such as nausea or fatigue may still be present despite the bleeding.

However, when in doubt, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional.

The phenomenon of implantation

The phenomenon of implantation is a crucial stage of pregnancy during which the embryo implants itself in the uterus. It is during implantation that menstrual periods can occur.

Indeed, implantation of the embryo can lead to rupture of small blood vessels, thus causing bleeding. These bleedings, which we call "implantation spotting", are often confused with menstrual anniversaries.

Implantation spotting is usually very low intensity and can last for a few days, so it is crucial not to confuse it with normal menstruation.

The duration of birthday periods

How long do they last?

The length of anniversary periods varies depending on several factors. In general, they last less than normal periods, with an average duration of 1 to 2 days. However, it is important to note that this duration may vary from woman to woman.

Anniversary periods caused by implantation or small lesions of the cervix have a shorter duration and fade after a few days. In certain cases of denial of pregnancy, particularly in the case of continuing to take contraceptives, the anniversary periods may have a more variable duration.

It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have any doubts or concerns regarding period anniversary.

When do they appear?

Anniversary periods tend to appear during the first trimester of pregnancy, often on the theoretical date of the usual period. This can happen even when pregnancy is confirmed.

In some cases, women may be unaware of their pregnancy and mistake this bleeding for their normal period. Furthermore, it is notable that the anniversary period can sometimes occur around ten days after fertilization . Hormones, accustomed to a monthly bleeding cycle, can also trigger this bleeding.

Characteristics of birthday rules

Color of bleeding

The color of bleeding during menstrual periods can give clues to their nature. Typically, they can be pinkish, brown, or light red in color.

However, it should be noted that the color may vary depending on the amount of bleeding. For example, light bleeding tends to be pink or brown, while heavier bleeding may be a brighter red.

Bright red or black period-like bleeding could indicate a complication, such as miscarriage.

Aspect of losses

The appearance of losses during anniversary periods can also vary. According to some sources, they may have a similar consistency to normal periods, but sometimes they may look different.

The discharge may be more liquid or, on the contrary, contain blood clots. In some cases, the discharge may be black or very dark, a likely sign of a gynecological infection.

  • Fluid losses : The losses may be more liquid than during normal periods. This is due to the absence of fragments of uterine lining in the discharge.

  • Presence of blood clots : Clots may be present, especially if there is heavy bleeding. It is often harmless, but if the clots are numerous, a medical consultation is recommended.

  • Black or very dark discharge : If the discharge is black or very dark, it may be a sign of a gynecological infection. A very strong intimate odor can also be an indicator of infection.

In all cases, it is best to consult a health professional in case of doubt or abnormal discharge.

Associated pain

Birthday periods do not generally cause pain, unlike classic periods which can be accompanied by abdominal-pelvic pain , or dysmenorrhea .

However, in the presence of certain complications, pain may occur:

  • In case of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy , the anniversary period may be accompanied by intense pain, high fever or cramps in the lower abdomen.
  • The pain can also be linked to a gynecological infection , generally associated with black or very dark discharge.

It is crucial to consult a doctor quickly when faced with these symptoms.

Testimonials on birthday rules

Testimonies from women who have experienced menstruation anniversaries can shed valuable light on this phenomenon. Experiences often vary between individuals and can help to better understand this phenomenon.

For example, some women report anniversary periods similar to normal periods, while others report lighter, shorter-lasting bleeding . The testimonies also highlight the confusion that can reign around birthday periods, especially when they occur on the expected date of normal periods.

Some women report having discovered their pregnancy thanks to the appearance of their period anniversary. Still others report being reassured by their doctor after unexplained bleeding at the start of pregnancy.

Period birthdays and miscarriage

Period anniversary and miscarriage can sometimes be confused due to similar symptoms, including bleeding. However, notable differences exist.

Miscarriage, corresponding to a spontaneous termination of pregnancy before the 22nd week of amenorrhea , generally manifests itself by more abundant bleeding, often accompanied by abdominal pain and blood clots. There may also be a change in pregnancy symptoms.

Anniversary periods, on the other hand, are generally less heavy and can occur on the usual period date , creating confusion for some pregnant women. This bleeding does not necessarily indicate a pregnancy problem. They are often lighter and lighter in color than during a miscarriage.

If in doubt, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Know how to recognize birthday rules

Tips to make the difference

To tell the difference between birthday periods and normal periods, here are some tips:

  • Menstrual cycle tracking : Take into account the irregularity of your cycle. Bleeding that occurs on the due date of your period, especially if your cycle is regular, may be a period anniversary.

  • Nature of bleeding : Heavy bleeding with clots is more common during normal menstruation. Light or lighter-colored bleeding may indicate an anniversary period.

  • Presence of pain : Birthday periods are generally less painful than normal periods. Severe pain could indicate a complication.

  • Other symptoms : If you have other signs of pregnancy (morning sickness, increased breast tenderness, fatigue), it is possible that your bleeding is an anniversary period.

In any case, a pregnancy test is the only sure way to confirm a pregnancy if in doubt.

When to take a pregnancy test?

Knowing when to take a pregnancy test is crucial for accurate detection. Typically, the test can be done on the first day of missed period, which is often an indicator of pregnancy. However, in the case of an anniversary period, you may choose to have a test if you notice bleeding that seems different from your usual period.

Current urine tests are very sensitive and can detect pregnancy at an early stage. Some brands of pregnancy tests claim to be able to detect pregnancy up to four days before your expected period.

However, if your cycle is irregular or if you have had unprotected sex, it is recommended to wait about three weeks after intercourse to do a t-test . In fact, this allows the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), present during pregnancy, to reach a detectable level in the urine.

Finally, if you have doubts about your period or observe unusual bleeding, carrying out a test can help you clarify the situation.

Questions ?
We answer it...

Les règles anniversaire, est-ce un phénomène courant ?

Non, c’est un phénomène méconnu et il est difficile de donner des chiffres exacts. 1 femme sur 4 observe des saignements au cours du premier trimestre.

Quelle est la différence entre règle anniversaire et règle normal ?

La règle normale est un cycle menstruel régulier qui se produit tous les mois chez les femmes en âge de procréer, marqué par une abondance de saignements et souvent accompagné de douleurs abdominales. Elle est le résultat de l'élimination de la muqueuse utérine lorsque la fécondation n'a pas eu lieu.

D'autre part, la règle anniversaire est une perte sanguine qui survient généralement lors du premier trimestre de grossesse, souvent à la date théorique des règles normales. Ces saignements sont beaucoup moins abondants que les règles normales et ne sont généralement pas accompagnés de douleurs.

En résumé, la principale différence entre les deux réside dans le fait que la règle anniversaire survient pendant la grossesse, alors que la règle normale indique l'absence de grossesse.

Est-ce que les règles anniversaire reviennent tous les mois ?

Non, il est très rare que cela se reproduise pendant plusieurs mois durant la grossesse.

Quelles sont les causes des règles anniversaire ?

Souvent c’est à cause de l’implantation de l’ovule fécondé dans l’utérus que les saignements surviennent, et cela tombe 10 jours après la fécondation ce qui correspond plus ou moins à la date attendue des prochaines règles. 

Les règles anniversaires sont-elles vraiment des règles ? 

Non, on les appelle ainsi mais ce ne sont pas de vraies règles.

Les règles anniversaires peuvent-elles êtres abondantes ?

Non, elles sont peu abondantes et durent en moyenne un jour ou deux.

Les règles anniversaires sont-elles douloureuses ?

Elles peuvent être légèrement douloureuses (type crampe ou tiraillement).

De quelle couleur sont les règles anniversaires ?

Plus claires que des règles classiques (rosées ou marrons), mais cela dépend de chaque femme.

Les règles anniversaires reviennent-elles tous les mois ?

Non, sauf dans le cas d’un déni de grossesse.

Quand faire un test de grossesse si j’ai des règles anniversaires ?

Saignements ou non, si vous avez le moindre doute, il faut faire un test de grossesse au moins 3 semaines après le dernier rapport sexuel à risque. Un test de grossesse se fait normalement à la date présumée des règles.

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