What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant on Your Period?

Reviewed on 12/16/2020

Can you get pregnant on your period?

It's possible that you can get pregnant outside of the fertility window, or the days of your cycle when you are most likely to get pregnant.
It’s possible that you can get pregnant outside of the fertility window, or the days of your cycle when you are most likely to get pregnant.

Whether or not you’re trying to conceive, you might have some questions surrounding pregnancy. One common question that teens and women ask is whether they can become pregnant while on their period.

The average menstrual cycle — the changes in the uterus and ovaries that make pregnancy possible — typically lasts 28-30 days. 

Your cycle begins the day you start bleeding. About halfway through your cycle, usually around days 12-14, ovulation occurs. This is when an egg is released from your ovaries into your fallopian tubes, where they can be fertilized by a man’s sperm.

It’s at this time, during ovulation, when a woman is most fertile and most likely to get pregnant if she is having sex. If you have a typical 28-day menstrual cycle and you ovulate around day 14, you are most likely to get pregnant in the days right before and after the egg is released. However, this is not the only time you can get pregnant.M/p>

Signs and symptoms of ovulation

It’s possible that you can get pregnant outside of the fertility window, or the days of your cycle when you are most likely to get pregnant. The best way to know when this period will occur is by tracking your menstrual cycle.

Tracking your cycle

To calculate your cycle, track it for three to four months to determine the average length. Count the days from the start of one period to the start of the next. Again, the average is around 28 days, but this varies. If your average cycle is between 21 and 35 days, you can split this number in half to determine when your fertility window will most likely occur.

Vaginal discharge

Another way to know if you are ovulating is to monitor your vaginal discharge. During your most fertile days, your vaginal discharge becomes stretchy and thick. Experts compare it to an uncooked egg white.

It’s worth noting that this method only works for women who are not using hormonal birth control. Women who take birth control pills do not ovulate, so they do not have a change in vaginal discharge.

SLIDESHOW

Stages of Pregnancy: Week by Week See Slideshow

Causes of pregnancy while on your period

Knowing when you’re ovulating can help you get or avoid getting pregnant. However, there are some factors that may throw off your calculations regarding ovulation.

Vaginal bleeding

Some women experience vaginal bleeding during ovulation, which can be mistaken for menstruation. The chances of getting pregnant during your actual period are much lower because ovulation is a couple of weeks away, but it’s not impossible. A woman may mistake spotting from ovulation as her period, which could cause pregnancy if a form of birth control isn’t used during sex.

Early ovulation

It’s possible that you may ovulate early. Factors like stress, weight gain or loss, and hormonal changes can affect your cycle and when you ovulate, even if you have a fairly normal cycle. If you ovulate early and do not use protection, your chances of getting pregnant increase.

Sperm can live in your body up to seven days after you have sex. If you ovulate early, even when you think it’s the safest, it’s still possible that you can get pregnant. So, even though chances are the lowest of getting pregnant during your period, it’s not impossible.

Diagnosis/tests for pregnancy

If you think you are pregnant, you can take an at-home pregnancy test about two weeks after the date you believe conception took place. Home tests are quite accurate and are 97%-99% reliable.

If you have a positive at-home test, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your health care provider will test either your urine or blood for pregnancy. Your doctor will also give you a physical exam to help determine whether you are pregnant.

If you have a negative at-home test but you still believe there’s a chance you might be pregnant, you should also make an appointment with your doctor to find out for sure.

QUESTION

The first sign of pregnancy is most often: See Answer

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References
American Pregnancy Association: "Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?"

National Health Service: "Can I get pregnant just after my period has finished?"

Stanford Children’s Health: "Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Test."

TeensHealth: "Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period?"

Texas A&M Health: "Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?"

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