Can you get pregnant on your period?

If you are trying to conceive or trying to "avoid" getting pregnant, you probably have lots of questions about when you are most fertile. This article will answer all your questions such as whether or not you can have sex and get pregnant on your period, right after or before your period

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Can you get pregnant on your period?

It’s unlikely that you will get pregnant, but not impossible. You’re fertile on the days leading up to and around the time of ovulation, so it’s important to consider the length of your cycle. If you have a short cycle you could be ovulating just after your period.

It is a common belief that the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, but every woman is unique and nearly 50% of women’s cycles vary in length by 7 days or more. In a recent study of over 800 women, only 14% of women with a 28-day cycle actually ovulated on day 14. The day of ovulation ranged from day 11 to day 20.

As menstrual cycles vary in length, so does the timing of ovulation, so it can be difficult to know when you are fertile days are. If you have a short cycle, you are ovulation period will be very close to your period, increasing the risk of pregnancy when having unprotected sex during your period.

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How can you get pregnant on your period?

How does this happen? If you happen to have a short cycle (21 to 24 days) you will likely ovulate close to your period. Considering that sperm can live inside you for 2, 3, and up to 5 days, if you have unprotected sex and are not taking any form of contraception, You could have sex towards the end of your bleeding and then actually conceive 4 or 5 days later with your early ovulation.

However, the probabilities of getting pregnant while on your period are very low, but, as mentioned above, depending on your cycle the possibilities are there.

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Can you get pregnant right after your period?

Yes, you can get pregnant right after your period. Every day after your period you are starting to move towards your fertile window.

If your period (bleeding time) lasts for 5 to 7 days, and you have sex right after that, you are approaching your fertility window. If you stop bleeding on Day 6, have sex on Day 7, and ovulate on Day 11. It is possible that the sperm from Day 6 will be waiting in your fallopian tubes for conception. Of course, your chances of conceiving right after your period increase with each day after your bleeding has stopped.

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Can you get pregnant right before your period?

The egg is only available for 12 to 24 hours for conception. So it’s even less likely you will get pregnant before your period than it is during.

Fertility and pregnancy expert Zita West states that ‘If you have regular cycles, then it’s highly unlikely you can get pregnant two days before your period as, after ovulation, the egg is only around for 12-24 hours and ovulation in a regular cycle will have occurred two weeks before your period’.

‘It is still very unlikely for this to happen even with irregular cycles, but it is important to understand the fertility cycles, to look out for your fertile time.’

If you know when ovulation occurred and you wait for 36 to 48 hours later, then you should be beyond the possibilities of conception. The further you move away from ovulation, the less likely your chance will be for conceiving.

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Can you get pregnant on the first day of your period?

Getting pregnant on the first day of your period is possible, although it is very unlikely if you have a 28-day regular cycle. If you have a short or irregular cycle, then ovulation might start from the first day of your period and hence could increase the chance of pregnancy.

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Can you get pregnant during your period while using birth control?

Out of the many birth control methods to choose from such as Intrauterine devices (IUD), pills, vaginal contraceptive rings, patches, implants, and condoms, none of it really provides 100% assurance. But they do decrease the chances based on the type of method used. The failure rate for the various methods are as given below :

  • Intrauterine devices (IUD): Less than 1% failure rate
  • Implant: Less than 1% failure rate
  • Injection: 4% – 6% failure rate
  • Oral contraceptives ( pill): 7%- 9% failure rate
  • Progestin-only pill: 7% failure rate
  • Patch: 7 to 9 % failure rate
  • Vaginal contraceptive ring: 7% – 9% failure rate
  • Condoms: 13% -18% failure rate
  • Diaphragms: 12% – 17% failure rate
    Illustration of a woman in red outline showing her side view covering her face with her hand

    Contraceptive Methods and What You Need to Know – Click here

    When is your fertile window?

    what days can you get pregnant?

    The truth is, your fertile window each month is actually pretty small—about five to seven days total. To conceive, a man’s sperm must fertilise a woman’s egg within 48 hours of ovulation (when a woman’s ovary releases an egg).

    a diagram showing the menstrual cycle chart and the days coming under each phase

    The cycle can be broken into two primary phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.

    The Menstrual Cycle – Phases, hormones and their functions – Click here to learn more

    1. Follicular Phase

    The follicular phase is the first phase of the cycle. It lasts about 10 to 14 days. The uterus lining rebuilds in preparation for ovulation and hormones stimulate follicle development during this phase.

    The drop of estrogen levels triggers an increase of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that promotes the growth of a group of follicles within the ovaries. One follicle will continue to develop into a mature egg. Hormones cause the mature follicle to burst and release the egg into the fallopian tube. This is the beginning of ovulation, which marks the end of the follicular phase.

    Click here to find out what you need to eat during the follicular phase

    1. Luteal Phase

    The menstrual cycle enters the luteal phase with the ovulation of an egg from one of the ovaries. A surge of luteinizing hormone initiates ovulation. Estrogen and progesterone levels also rise during the luteal phase causing the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) to thicken in preparation for an embryo (a fertilised egg).

    If a woman becomes pregnant, the embryo enters the uterus and implants itself in the endometrium within the first few days after ovulation. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), produced by the placenta, interrupts the menstrual cycle by constantly stimulating the burst follicle (corpus luteum) to produce estrogen and progesterone. The high levels of oestrogen and progesterone prevent the endometrium from shedding. If conception does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, signaling the uterus to begin shedding the endometrium. The luteal phase lasts until the beginning of the next period.

    Click here to find out what you need to eat during the luteal phase

    Bottom line is, although the chances are less, you could get pregnant during your period, before your period, one day after your period, or even when you are using birth control. The only 100% way to not get pregnant is abstinence. Knowing about your cycle and the steps to ensure a healthy lifestyle is imperative to happy wellbeing.

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