Can you get pregnant on your period? The myth that menstruation prevents conception is still prevalent today. But how likely is it at this phase in a woman’s cycle? And where does the question, can you get pregnant while on your period, come from?
Let’s take a closer look at the likelihood of conception during menstruation. The following content is not medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with your gynecologist.
Can You Get Pregnant On Your Period?
The simple answer to the question, can you get pregnant while on your period, is yes. It is possible for a woman to become pregnant at any stage in the menstrual cycle. Do not believe the myth that period sex does not end in pregnancy.
However, the likelihood of conception varies depending on the stage in a woman’s cycle. This is because menstruation is far from a woman’s most fertile stage. To understand why let's look at the four stages of the menstrual cycle.
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
A woman’s menstrual cycle — the changes in her reproductive system that allow for pregnancy — lasts between 21 and 35 days, according to the National Institute of Health. Within the cycle of female fertility, there are four stages:
- Follicular: The phase during which the ovaries produce follicles to store her eggs. The uterine lining thickens during this time.
- Ovulation: When a woman’s body releases a mature egg, which journeys from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
- Luteal: Estrogen and progesterone are released by the body to prepare for the possibility of conception.
- Menstruation: A woman begins her period. The body releases uterine lining and eggs.
Day 1 of a woman’s period is the first day of her period. How long does a period last? The answer to that question depends on these phases as well.
Ovulation and the Fertility Window
Can you get pregnant on your period? Menstruation sex can lead to conception, though research conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that there are typically six days a month when a woman may become pregnant. This period, known as the fertility window, occurs during ovulation.
Ovulation is the stage during which a woman’s body releases the egg for the purpose of fertilization. A woman’s fertility window may occur between days 10 and 17 according to a study published by the British Journal of Management. During this window, a woman has a minimum of 10% chance of pregnancy without the use of birth control, according to the same study.
Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period? Consider Cycle Irregularity.
However, only 30% of the 221 healthy women in the study experienced the conventional fertility window. The study explains, “Women should be advised that the timing of their fertile window can be highly unpredictable, even if their cycles are usually regular.”
Can you get pregnant on the first day of your period? Yes — especially considering that irregularity is common in healthy women. In other words, it can be difficult to identify exactly when a woman is ovulating versus menstruating.
If you are trying to become pregnant or have questions about menstrual cycle health, please speak with a gynecologist.
Why Can a Woman Become Pregnant While On Her Period?
Bleeding is typically associated with being on one’s period. However, a woman may also bleed during ovulation — the most fertile time in her cycle. Having intercourse without birth control is most likely to lead to conception during this stage.
Similarly, sperm can survive inside a woman’s body for up to 72 hours. Can you get pregnant on your period? Yes, because conception may occur days after intercourse.
Additionally, the chances of conception increase towards the conclusion of a woman’s period. Women with shorter cycles may have a higher chance of conception than those who menstruate for longer. Can you get pregnant on the last day of your period? It is much more likely.
What Are the Chances of Conception?
If you are trying to conceive, it is best to speak with a gynecologist first. Can you get pregnant on your period? Yes, though the chances are the lowest during this phase in the cycle. An egg typically survives between 12 and 24 hours following ovulation.
Some women may find it helpful to use a period tracker app to determine when they are most fertile (ovulation) and least likely to conceive (menstruation). Keep in mind that every woman’s cycle is different, meaning that lifestyle habits (health, exercise) and biological factors (genetics, age) affect the length of ovulation.
Getting Pregnant on your Period, Reviewed
Can you get pregnant while on your period? Yes, it is best practice for women to assume that conception may occur at any point during your menstrual cycle.
However, there are approximately six days during which a woman is most fertile, which may or may not overlap with menstruation.
Whether you are trying to conceive or not, speak to your gynecologist about your options. Keep in mind that birth control does not always prevent sexually transmitted diseases.