This is common concern that most women have. It’s highly unlikely that you can get pregnant while seeing your period, but it is indeed possible. In most instances, this happens when a female has a very short cycle and ovulation takes place very close to the beginning of their period.
What is a Period?
This can be defined as blood that a woman loses when an ovulatory cycle ends, as the result of a sperm not fertilizing a mature egg. A woman will release an egg every month on about day fourteen of her cycle. Before the egg is released, the hormones inside the body will increase in order to thicken and prepare the uterus lining in case fertilization and pregnancy takes place.
If fertilization does not occur, then the uterus lining will slough off around fourteen days after. This is when you’ll see your period.
Now, back to the question of can you get pregnant while on your period?
For the most part, many women have periods which last two to eight days and occur every twenty-six to thirty-four days. Typically, ovulation, which is when one of the ovaries releases an egg, occurs during the middle of the cycle and it’s the most fertile period in a menstrual cycle. This means that it is the time when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
It’s at this time that an egg matures and you can get pregnant. In addition, it is possible for the egg to stay fertile inside the fallopian tube for as much as twenty-four hours after being released from your ovary. Conception can takes place if sperm is available. It will not survive if it’s not fertilized during this time by a sperm and will then come out around fourteen days later with all the menstrual blood.
Early ovulation: A woman will ovulate typically around fourteen days before her menstrual period starts. This means that you are most likely to ovulate on day 14 if you have the average 28-day cycle. However, a woman’s cycle is not predictable all the time and not every woman will have a 28 to 32 day cycle. There are less common circumstances when a woman with shorter menstrual cycle of say 24 days could bleed for 7 days, have sex on the last day of bleeding and then ovulate 3 days after. Sperm can live up 3 to 5 days, so she could certainly get pregnant. Under normally circumstances, sperm can live in a woman’s body for about 2 to 3 days, but if the conditions are good it can survive for 5 days at times. If you have unprotected sex at this time while on your period and ovulate 4 or 5 days after having sex, then you could conceive.
Irregular bleeding or long periods: If you have periods which last for 10 days and you engage in unprotected sex whilst bleeding, you could get pregnant. Spotting or bleeding does not always mean that you are not fertile, so it’s possible to have your period while approaching ovulation. In fact, there are some women who start to produce fertile cervical mucus in the last few days of their menstrual periods. You could get pregnant if you ovulate shortly after your period ends or whilst you are spotting.
Breakthrough bleeding or spotting: Some women have breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods. When you are menstruating, a new egg will prepare for fertilization whilst an old egg is discharged from the system. In general, this environment is not conducive to the conception process as none of the eggs are ready for fertilization. In this case, you might think that your period start when you are in fact experiencing breakthrough bleeding. You might have unprotected sex believing that you won’t get pregnant but it could happen if the bleeding is only breakthrough.
This could happen during ovulation and you mistake it for your period, which means that it will be difficult to know the exact place in your menstrual cycle. In the event that you engaged in unprotected sex while on your period and you are concerned about being pregnant, you should look for symptoms such as mild cramping in the lower abdominal area, increased vaginal discharge, implantation spotting, moodiness, and breast tenderness. These symptoms could occur up to two weeks after your ovulation.
Some other, more common, symptoms to look for, which can manifest nearer to 6 or 7 weeks of gestation, include severe fatigue, vomiting, and nausea.
If you are trying actively to get pregnant you should keep a close track of your monthly cycle. Once you know the day when you will ovulate as well as be the most fertile, this will help you to determine the best day to try and conceive. It is very important to know your cycle duration and length, and above all to use contraception if you want to avoid pregnancy.