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Is It Possible to Get Pregnant on Your Period? Real-Life Stories from Our Readers

calendarJuly 26, 2016
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Is it possible to get pregnant on your period?Is It Possible to Get Pregnant on Your Period?

Can you get pregnant on your period?

This is one of the most common questions we hear, especially from women who experience pregnancy symptoms after they’ve engaged in sexual intercourse while on their period. While there is a very slight chance to conceive if you’re on your period, this is entirely possible under some circumstances. Before you jump to conclusions, it’s a good idea to determine whether or not the bleeding you experienced was your period. Many women oftentimes experience either breakthrough bleeding or postcoital bleeding and mistaken it for their period.

Was it really your period? And most importantly, can a girl get pregnant on her period? Our expert is answering your questions below!

1. Hi, I’ve been having this dilemma for over a week now, and I’m not sure who to ask about it. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years already, and we’re getting married next month. We have a healthy sexual relationship. My period started exactly three weeks ago and lasted for about 5 days. We had sex on the fourth day of my AF, knowing that it was safe and there was absolutely no risk of getting pregnant. My next period should start in 2 days. However, I’ve been experiencing all kinds of pregnancy symptoms over the last 2 weeks. I’ve been having awful stomach cramps. They’re worse than my PMS! I had just three bowel movements in 2 weeks, whereas I usually have one every two or three days! A few days ago, I’ve started feeling a little bit nauseated. I didn’t vomit, but it really made me sick to the stomach. I’ve also noticed there’s a lot of vaginal discharge – more than usually! I’m the type of woman who needs to change panties every day to avoid bad smells, but now I need to wear panty liners, and change 2-3 a day! Is it possible to get pregnant on your period? It would be wonderful, but I’m so scared! I haven’t talked to anybody about this, except for my boyfriend.

Expert Answers:

It’s pretty uncommon to get pregnant while on your period, but not unusual. It’s quite likely to happen under certain circumstances.

To get pregnant, an egg must be fertilized by a sperm cell. Usually, this is very likely to happen when you ovulate, towards the middle of your menstrual cycle. If you have sex when you ovulate, there’s a very high chance to get pregnant. If you have a 28-day cycle, you’re the most likely to ovulate (and get pregnant) on days 14-16. That means you’ll be about 9-11 days away from the day your period ended (around day 5-6). Sperm cells can survive in your body for no longer than 5-6 days. So, if you have sex on your period, sperm cells won’t survive long enough to fertilize the egg, since you’ll ovulate at least 9-11 days later.

However, you may get pregnant if your menstrual cycle is shorter than 24 days. As you probably know, ovulation occurs 12-14 days before your next period is due to arrive. That means, you’ll ovulate on day 8-10. Your period starts on day 1, and ends on day 5-6. So, if you have sex between days 4 and 6, sperm cells may still be hanging around when you ovulate, ready to fertilize the egg. If that’s the case, you are very likely to get pregnant. From what I read in your message, your menstrual cycle is around 24 days long, so yes, you’re probably experiencing pregnancy symptoms now. Your period won’t arrive until you give birth.

As for your symptoms, you’ve described the most common signs of pregnancy so far: constipation, stomach cramps and vaginal discharge (leucorrhea). If you’re constipated, ask your doc for a mild, pregnancy-safe laxative that won’t interfere with the development of your little one. Stomach cramps are probably due to implantation. The fertilized egg has likely attached to your endometrium already, and this usually causes stomach cramps. If yours are particularly painful, check with your ob-gyn to make sure your baby is fine.

In regards to the leucorrhea, it’s absolutely normal, and actually healthy. It’s the result of estrogen levels increasing at a great deal. The discharge will help expel bacteria, and keep germs and other pathogens at bay to avoid infections. Also, you may want to stop using panty liners since they can eventually lead to bacterial vaginosis. Use sanitary pads instead, which won’t encourage the growth and development of bacteria.

Read also: Can You Get Pregnant During Your Period?

2. I was wondering how likely it is to get pregnant while on my period? My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a few months already, and I read somewhere that having sex on my period can help. Is it easier to get pregnant on your period? My doc says I’m fine and healthy, and I can give birth to beautiful babies, but I’m having a really bad time trying to conceive. My menstruation is a little bit irregular as I’m constantly stressed. The length ranges from a mere 22 days to as much as 32 days! It’s a nightmare to deal with, and since I almost never have any kind of PMS (except for very mild cramping), it’s difficult to say when it’s going to arrive. Do you think I have better odds of getting pregnant if I conceive while on my period? Is it hard to get pregnant on your period?

Expert Answers:

First, congratulations for deciding to have a baby! I’m sure your decision will have a positive impact on your life!

As for your question, yes, it’s possible to get pregnant while on your period, but only under certain circumstances. If the average duration of your menstrual cycle is longer than 24 days, then it’s not possible to conceive. That’s because, even if you engage in intercourse with your partner while you bleed, sperm cells won’t live long enough to fertilize the egg. However, if your menstrual cycle is around 24 days or less, you may be ovulating just a few days after your period ends, and hence sperm cells may be still alive and ready to fertilize the egg.

Your menstrual cycle is irregular, which means there is a possibility to get pregnant if you have sex on your period. You’re probably having a hard time determining when you’re ovulating as a result. If you ovulate just a few days after your period ends, then you can get pregnant if you have sex during that time (starting with day 4). If you ovulate at least 8-12 days later, that won’t be possible.

Instead of trying to conceive while bleeding, try to track every phase in your menstrual cycle to see when you’re most fertile. If you don’t experience any symptoms when ovulating (e.g. mild cramping), you can still use your vaginal discharge as your best indicator. Usually, it will be white, thick and “dry” after your period ends, and will become gradually slimmer, more slippery and clearer as you progress towards ovulation. Vaginal discharge, that’s runny and water like means you’re ovulating, so that’s the best time to have sex with your partner.

Keep in mind that you can easily make your period come more regularly by identifying and eliminating the factors that cause it to be irregular. If you’re stressed, I suggest spending a few minutes a day watching a fun video, exercising 10-20 minutes every day (walking will be more than enough), or setting aside time to do something you really enjoy (e.g. crocheting, photography etc).

Read also: Can You Get Pregnant Right Before Your Period? The Expert Answers: No.

Can a girl get pregnant on her period?Is It Possible to Get Pregnant on Your Period?

3. I’m having a problem and it’s quite scary. In short, I think I’m pregnant. I love babies, but I don’t feel ready to have one right now. I had sex with my fiancé three weeks ago while I was on my period. My mother told me it was safer to do it at this time of the month since I’m not in my fertile window, but I think I may be pregnant now. I’ve been having some bad cramps for the last few days. My period is due to come in about 3-4 days. I’ve taken 2 pregnancy tests, and one was negative. I’ll soon take a blood test, but I want to see if my period actually comes when it’s supposed to. How common is to get pregnant during your period?

Expert Answers:

Getting pregnant while on your period is not common, but it’s quite normal. For most women, having sex during that time of the month is safer given there is a very slight chance to conceive. That’s because the sperm cells won’t live long enough to fertilize the egg, which your body will release many days after the intercourse. However, if your menstrual cycle is shorter than 24 days or so, you may get pregnant since you’ll probably ovulate just a few days after your period ends. The sperm will be ready to fertilize the egg, which will ultimately result in pregnancy. You haven’t mentioned anything about the approximate length of your menstrual cycle, so it’s difficult for me to actually tell you if you’ve gotten pregnant or not (or if there’s a chance you could have).

Many premenstrual symptoms tend to be at least fairly similar to pregnancy symptoms, stomach cramps included. Usually, you’ll start to experience them a few days up to one week before your menstruation is due to come, so the cause of the cramps may be your period instead of pregnancy. Wait and see if there’s any bleeding. If yes, pay attention to how much it lasts. If it’s your period, the bleeding should last around 5-6 days. If it lasts less than 2-3 days, it may be implantation bleeding instead. It occurs around the same time as your period if fertilization took place, but lasts much shorter, usually just a few minutes up to a few hours. You may also experience cramping as the fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium.

Since one of the tests was negative, I’d wait around 10+ days before taking another. You’ll want to also take a blood test to confirm or infirm the pregnancy, depending on your case. Blood tests are accurate, quick, so there’s no risk of false results.

Read also: Can You Get Pregnant Right After Your Period? Yes – or No?

4. Hi, What’s the likelihood to get pregnant on my period? I’ve recently had sex with a guy I knew for a while, but there’s no sort of relationship between the two of us. We’re just friends. I got a bit drunk and didn’t care much about using a condom. I’m not on birth control, so I’m worried I might have gotten pregnant although I was on my period. Is there any chance for that to happen? I’ve read about women who have conceived while bleeding! I’m just 20 years old, and a baby is not something I’ve pictured until the age of 25!

Expert Answers:

I’m afraid there’s a slight chance to get pregnant only if your menstrual cycle is shorter than 24 days. If not, then you can rest assured – you can’t get pregnant if sperm cells can’t fertilize an egg. If it’s shorter than 24 days, you may want to take a pregnancy test or schedule an appointment with your ob-gyn to confirm or infirm the possible pregnancy.

I suggest that you never have any more sex with “friends.” It’s a good idea to avoid any kind of intercourse even with your boyfriend unless you’ve been together for at least 6 months up to a year. It’s safer for the both of you, and you can be sure about his intentions this way. A condom won’t only prevent an undesired pregnancy, but also a potential sexually transmitted disease. Consider taking a few tests to make sure you haven’t contracted an infection during the intercourse. If you have, you must follow your doctor’s instructions as closely as possible, and inform your friend about it as well to prevent spreading the infection.

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