It’s Physically Impossible To Have A Period While Pregnant But There Are Reasons For Bleeding During The First Second And Third Trimesters
Can you get your period while pregnant? The short answer is no. “Pregnant people can certainly have vaginal bleeding during a pregnancy, but when they bleed, they are not having a ‘period,'” explains Michele Hakakha, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist based in Los Angeles and co-author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy.
Keep reading to learn why menstruation stops during pregnancy, as well as other possible causes of vaginal bleeding and spotting during the first, second, or third trimester.
How Not To Get Pregnant
If you want to get pregnant, plan to get frisky halfway between periods for the best chances. But if youre trying to avoid pregnancy, dont use your period as a guide. Instead, choose a reliable form of birth control.
Thats the best way to prevent pregnancy, Dr. Stephens says.
Yeah, you probably already knew that. But now you know the whole story.
Can You Have A Period And Still Be Pregnant
No once pregnancy begins, the uterine lining no longer sheds each month. Once the body starts releasing a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, monthly periods will stop. However, some people experience light bleeding after conception, around the same time their period would have started. This is called implantation bleeding.
If youre pregnant and experience bleeding or spotting, contact your health care provider.
Pregnancy can occur even if youre on your period. To avoid pregnancy, it is important to use contraception.
Birth control methods that can prevent pregnancy on your period include:
- Male condom
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In Some Cases Bleeding During Pregnancy Can Be A Sign Of A Serious Issue So If You’re Not Sure What’s Causing It Definitely Check In With Your Doctor
As SELF reported previously, if your bleeding is particularly heavy, comes with abdominal pain, or lasts for more than a few days, that’s a sign something more serious may be going on. You might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should tell your doctor at your next regular appointment if you have any light spotting that goes away within a day. But if you have bleeding that lasts for more than a day, you should contact them within 24 hours. And if you pass any tissue from your vagina, experience moderate to heavy bleeding, or have bleeding along with abdominal pain, chills, or cramping, you should get in touch with them immediately. But, again, many cases of bleeding during early pregnancy aren’t serious.
And, on the other hand, if you’re not sure if you’re pregnant and notice youre having a period that comes at a weird time, isn’t as heavy as usual, doesnt last as long as usual, and comes with any other pregnancy symptoms, its worth taking a test, just in case.
Best Time To Get Pregnant After A Period
The likelihood of becoming pregnant is highest during the two days before ovulation begins or exactly on the day of ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovary. Usually, ovulation happens about two weeks before the start of the next period. Cycles and ovulation dates vary, so you may want to try an efficient method of predicting ovulation to improve the chance of conception.
Here are four methods for predicting ovulation they can help you find the best time to get pregnant after your period:
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Why You May Bleed During Pregnancy
First Half of PregnancySpotting during this time is common, especially after sex, a pelvic exam, or a transvaginal ultrasound. In these cases, the blood might be coming from the cervix. It becomes tender during pregnancy and could be a bit inflamed or irritated. This type of bleeding can also occur prior to a miscarriage or with an ectopic pregnancy, but most often it is not a cause for concern.
Heavier bleeding during the first trimester can also be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. This bleeding doesnt mean a miscarriage will occur, or that you have an ectopic pregnancy. About half of pregnant women who have bleeding do not miscarry. The most important thing you can do is to let you doctor know about any bleeding, so that you can evaluated for the cause.
Second Half of PregnancyDuring the late second and entire third trimester, causes of bleeding can include:
When Is It Too Early To Test
It depends on the test. Some tests are sensitive enough to detect hCG in your urine six days before your missed period . Read the instructions on the pack to understand what the brand of test youre using means by early detection. Some women still prefer to test on the day they expect their period, when all home pregnancy tests claim to be over 99% accurate.
Conception usually happens around two weeks before your period would normally be expected. If youre trying for a baby you can use an ovulation test not only to know your peak fertile days, but it will inform you about your cycle, so you know when its best to take the test. This can help you feel more confident in the results you see.
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Pregnancy With A Period: Is It Possible
While some people may experience intermittent vaginal bleeding while they are pregnant, it isnt possible to have a period. Menstruation only takes place in the absence of pregnancy.
Each month, ovulation occurs when your ovary releases an egg to be fertilized by the sperm. The uterine lining thickens in anticipation of a fertilized egg being implanted, which then results in pregnancy. If an egg isnt fertilized and implanted, both the egg and the uterine lining are shed through the vagina as menstrual blood.
So, can you have a period while youre pregnant? The short answer is no. Since you dont ovulate or release an egg during pregnancy, you will not get your monthly period.
Can You Be Pregnant And Still Have A Period
05 Apr, 2021
Nothing can send you to the store for a pregnancy test faster than missing a period. Its the most common symptom of pregnancy, so when your period goes missing its the first thing that comes to mind.
Even so, you probably know at least one person that swears they had a full period while they were pregnant. That can make you second guess whether or not youre in the clear even once your period starts.
Well talk about whether you should worry about it, what can cause bleeding during pregnancy, and give you some tips on how you can have a more comfortable period.
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Can You Get Your Period While Pregnant
A period will not be the cause of any bleeding during pregnancy.
When a woman is pregnant, she does not continue to ovulate and will not have a period. Menstruation only occurs when a person is not pregnant.
Although it is possible for women to experience some bleeding during pregnancy, this will not be due to their menstrual cycle.
Some women also do not have any periods while breast-feeding. However, they may still begin to ovulate again soon after giving birth. Therefore, doctors may recommend some form of birth control while a woman is breast-feeding if she does not wish to get pregnant.
The menstrual cycle occurs to facilitate pregnancy. The cycle begins on the first day of a persons period and ends on the first day of the following period.
Ovulation, when the ovary releases an egg, occurs midway through the cycle.
An egg is only viable for about 1224 hours after a woman ovulates. If sperm cells are present and able to fertilize the egg, the egg will implant itself in the uterus, resulting in pregnancy.
If there is no fertilization, menstruation will occur, and the body will shed the uterine lining so that it can begin making a new one for the next cycle.
What About Right Before Your Period
The likelihood of getting pregnant right before your period is extremely low. For women with a typical 28- to 30-day cycle or longer and their cycles are regular, it is fairly safe to say your ovulation occurred between Day 11 and Day 21. The egg is only available for 12 to 24 hours for conception.
This means the days right before your period are the safest to have sex without the expectation of getting pregnant. The number of safe days right before your period go up with longer cycles and lessen with shorter cycles.
If you wait 36 to 48 hours after ovulation, you should be beyond the possibilities of conception. The further you are from ovulation, the less likely your chance for conceiving. This is not the time to have sex if you are trying to conceive. Its still a good time to enjoy intimacy with your partner.
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That Said There Are Several Situations That Can Cause Period
If you get your period at the usual time, it lasts for the usual amount of days, and the amount of blood that you see is pretty typical for you, its pretty unlikely that youre pregnant, G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D., lead ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells SELF. But you could have bleeding in early pregnancy that just so happens to coincide with when your period is due, Dr. Schaffir says. In fact, up to 30 percent of pregnant people have some form of bleeding in early pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
For instance, you might experience implantation bleeding, which is light spotting or bleeding that can happen when the embryo burrows into your uterine wall, and can also be a cause of bleeding in early pregnancy. But Dr. Ruiz says its unlikely this would be mistaken for a normal period because it tends to be much lighter.
Or you might have a cut or tear in your vagina, inflammation of your cervix, or irritation of your cervix from an infection that causes bleeding, Dr. Schaffir says. It can even be caused from sex: Sometimes women have blood vessels close to the surface of the cervix and, during sex, the friction causes a little bleeding, he explains. However, again, these usually produce far less blood than a period.
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The Easiest Method To Check For An Irregular Period
A one-off occasion of a late or early period should not cause concern. To check, record the last day of the last period to the first day of the first period. Repeat for at least three months. A significant difference over the timeframe means a possible irregular period. To be safe, schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.
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How Can You Increase Your Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
If you want to become pregnant tuning into your menstrual cycle and understanding whats going on in your body can really help you. Here are my top tips:
- Get to know your cycle and when ovulation is likely to occur Keeping track of your menstrual cycle is always a good thing. It not only prepares you for your period appearing but it also means you can figure out when you are likely to ovulate. You generally ovulate in the middle of your cycle, so, if you have a 28 day cycle youll ovulate around day 14. Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of you period. Try keeping a diary for a few months so you can calculate the length of your cycle. You can also buy an ovulation test which can be more accurate. Take note of any symptoms you experience around the time of your period too as this could signal a hormone imbalance. A hormone imbalance could affect ovulation and your chances of falling pregnant
First published in 2016, updated in January 2022.
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Sex Right After Your Period
While you may assume that your odds of getting pregnant are slim in the first few days following your period, you are actually moving into a new fertility window. Researchers have shown that a person’s chances of conception jump starting a week after the start of their last period and rise steadily after that, peaking around day 15 LMP.
Your odds of getting pregnant in the days just following your period rise when you have a shorter length between periods because that usually means you ovulate soon after your period ends. Research has shown that people with a 23-day menstrual cycle, for instance, have a 9% chance of ovulating on day 10 LMP. That means they are fertileable to get pregnantbetween six and 11 days after the start of their last period.
Remember, even when you are in your suspected fertile window, that does not mean you will necessarily get pregnant from sex. Structural problems with your uterus or fallopian tubes or issues with either your eggs or your partner’s sperm can prevent conception and fertilization. If you are timing sex to get pregnant and having trouble after several months, consider talking to a fertility doctor about tests you can take to better understand how to maximize your chances of conception.
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My Pregnancy Test Is Positive But Im Bleeding Whats Going On
If youve just done a pregnancy test and its a BFP , but youre experiencing a light bit of bleeding, its likely to be totally normal, so try not to fret.
Light spotting after a positive pregnancy test can be implantation bleeding.
If youre experiencing something that looks like heavy period-like bleeding during early pregnancy, contact your doctor as soon as you can.
Be Prepared For These Questions
If you experience bleeding during pregnancy, be ready to answer these questions when you call or visit your doctor:
- How far along are you?
- When did you first have a positive pregnancy test?
- Have you had an ultrasound, and if so, what did it show?
- When did the bleeding start?
- Were there any obvious causes? For example, have you recently had intercourse or a vaginal exam?
- How heavy has the bleeding been?
- Have you had any pain or other symptoms with the bleeding?
If you are asked to make an appointment, your doctor is likely to check your cervix with a speculum. You might have an ultrasound or other testing to help learn the cause of the bleeding.
Many factors can cause spotting and bleeding during pregnancy. Because of that, its best to talk with your doctor if you have any bleeding. The bottom line is, if youre thinking about it, call your doctor.Thats what were here for, says Dr. McKenna.
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Your Period Changes Throughout Your Life
Just when you start to feel like you can predict exactly when your period is going to show, everything can change. For that, you can thank the hormone shifts that happen throughout your lifetime.
Once you get your very first period, your cycles may be longer, meaning more time may pass between when one period starts to the next. A typical cycle for a teenage girl may be 21 to 45 days. Over time, they get shorter and more predictable, averaging about 21 to 35 days.
Hormone changes that happen during perimenopause — the years before menopause when your body starts to make less estrogen — can throw you for a loop. The time from one period to the next may get shorter or longer, and you may have heavier or lighter bleeding during your period. This phase can last up to 10 years before you start menopause and stop getting your period for good.
Gradual life changes are normal, but sudden, unusual issues like very heavy bleeding or missed periods are not. Talk with your doctor if you notice that something seems off.
Sex Immediately Before Your Period
Ovulation usually occurs several days to a week or more before menstruation begins: about midway between the first day of your last menstrual period and the start of your next one.
A “typical” cycle is 28 days long, but many people have slightly shorter or longer cycles. In one study of 32,595 people, people with self-reported regular periods had menstrual cycles ranging from 23 to 35 days long. The most common day to ovulate is day 15 LMP.
If you are trying to be mindful of your cycles as a natural form of birth control, be aware there’s a slight chance of pregnancy if you ovulate later in the cycle or simply miscalculate the dates of your next period. In one large study, even people who reported having regular menstrual cycles had a 6% chance of being in their fertile window on the day they expected their next period to begin.
The bottom line is that if you are trying to conceive, right before you expect your period would not be the best time to start. You can still enjoy sex, of course, but you are much more likely to get pregnant if you try again after your period.
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