Irregular Periods Increase The Risk Of A Surprise Pregnancy
For women with regular cycles, it’s easy to track when you will ovulate to prevent pregnancy. However, many people experience irregular cycles, which makes it more difficult to know when you’ll start your period and when you’ll ovulate.
“There are women who say, ‘I get my period regularly every 35 days,’ but it is much more common to hear women say, ‘I never know when I’m going to get my period,'” says Joshua Copel, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services at the Yale School of Medicine.
Can You Get Pregnant During Your Period
Most people have menstrual cycles that last 26 to 34 days, and if someone with this cycle has an average two- to eight-day period, they will probably not get pregnant during their period. An egg that is released during ovulation but remains unfertilized “comes out with all of the menstrual blood,” Dr. Hakakha explains.
That said, the chance of pregnancy on your period increases if you have an irregular cycle. “A woman with a shorter menstrual cycle , could have seven days of bleeding, have intercourse on her final day of bleeding, and ovulate three days later,” Dr. Hakakha says. “Since sperm live for three to five days, she could definitely get pregnant” if it fertilizes a released egg, which has a lifespan of about 24 hours.
In addition, some women experience breakthrough spotting or bleeding between periods. This can occur during ovulation and be mistaken for a period, making it difficult to establish the exact place in the menstrual cycle. Having sex during ovulation increases your chances of getting pregnant.
Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period and continues up to the first day of your next period.
You’re most fertile at the time of ovulation , which usually occurs 12 to 14 days before your next period starts. This is the time of the month when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
It’s unlikely that you’ll get pregnant just after your period, although it can happen. It’s important to remember that sperm can sometimes survive in the body for up to 7 days after you have sex.
This means it may be possible to get pregnant soon after your period finishes if you ovulate early, especially if you have a naturally short menstrual cycle.
You should always use contraception when you have sex if you don’t want to become pregnant.
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How Rare Is It To Be Pregnant And Have Your Period
Despite numerous claims, it isnt possible to get your period while pregnant. Once the body starts the production of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin , your periods stop.
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When Can You Get Pregnant
It is possible to have an idea of when you will be most fertile. You have to keep track of when your period starts every month. Also, count the number of days between each period. It is also a good thing to notice any changes that happen in your body during that time.
The very first day of when your period starts is the first day of your cycle. For a 28-day cycle, you should expect ovulation to happen between day 12 and 17. You will notice certain changes in your body during this time. In a 35-day cycle, the signs of ovulation may appear around day 20 or later. Therefore, it is important to first determine the length of your cycle to know if it is possible to become pregnant when you have unprotected sex before period. The following chart gives the ranges:
You will experience certain symptoms when you ovulate, which is extremely helpful if your period is irregular. For instance:
- You will notice cervical mucus becoming very thin, slippery, and clear like egg whites. If you take some of it on your fingers, it will stretch.
- You may also notice lower abdominal pain by the time you ovulate. It is usually nothing more than a twinge in the lower abdomen. Some women even experience a backache by the same time.
- Your basal body temperature will increase by 0.4-1.0°F after ovulation.
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When You Can Get Pregnant On Your Period
You can get pregnant while on your period if you happen to ovulate early during a short cycle. For example, someone with a cycle of 24 days might ovulate as early as day seven. So, if your period lasts the full week ending on day seven and you have sex during that time, you could get pregnant.
The likelihood of ovulating close to your period is low, but not impossible. A 2013 study in Human Reproduction estimated the date of conception for 5,830 pregnancies. More than half, about 58%, of people conceived around day 12 or 13 of their cycle. However, 2% of participants were within their fertility window on day four, which would almost certainly overlap with their period.
Moreover, the length of a cycle is extremely broad. For example, a review, published in 2019 in Digital Medicine, analyzed more than 81,600 cycles and found that only 13% were 28 days long. Some were as short as 15 days, and others as long as 50.
We Know You’re Wondering: Is It Possible To Be Pregnant And Still Have A Period
Nope, experts say. Some people may experience bleeding or spotting, but those are different bleeding patterns from the cyclical menses your body experiences in absence of a pregnancy.
Dr. Michele Hakakha, an OB-GYN and author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy, told Parents that people definitely can experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but that “when they bleed, they are not having a ‘period.'” That’s because your body needs to reserve the uterine lining as nourishment for the growing pregnancy.
Although bleeding during pregnancy doesn’t always mean cause for concern, it can indicate something more serious like a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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The Best Protection Against Pregnancy Is Birth Control
Tracking your cycle also known as the rhythm method isn’t a surefire way to avoid pregnancy. “The rhythm method is not terribly reliable for a number of reasons, including variability in timing of ovulation, in recording the first day of the last menstrual period, and in the longevity of both sperm and ova,” Copel says.
The best way to prevent becoming pregnant at any time during your cycle, short of abstinence, is to use birth control.
Hormonal birth control, like pills, patches, and contraceptive rings, work by changing hormone levels to stop ovulation and make it harder for sperm to reach the egg and fertilize it These birth control methods are very effective at preventing pregnancy, with success rates ranging from 93% for birth control pills to 99% for arm implants.
Moreover, “I recommend condom use for anybody in a non-monogamous relationship,” Childson says. Male and female condoms are less effective 87% and 79% respectively but they have the added benefit of preventing STIs like hepatitis, HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Should Women With Irregular Periods Panic
Irregular periods are concerning. More so if getting pregnant is on the cards. Missing periods can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Theres no need to panic. Take action early. Seek advice from your OB/GYN, as doctors can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
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When To See Your Health Care Provider
Because it isnt possible to get your period while pregnant, its important to be mindful of any bleeding you do experience during this time. While light bleeding or spotting during the first trimester is usually normal, bleeding that is accompanied by other symptoms may indicate something more serious, and its important to see a health care provider immediately. These symptoms include:
- Cramping and pain
- Passing clots or heavy bleeding
- Severe pain in your pelvis and stomach
Its important to visit your health care provider if your bleeding is bright red in color and is heavy enough to soak through a pad. Pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding in the early stages of pregnancy may indicate an ectopic pregnancy. If you suspect this, see your health care provider as soon as possible.
Theres a lot of discussion surrounding pregnancy and periods, and we want to clear things up. Can you have a period and be pregnant? No. Since your period stops after your body starts producing hCG also known as the pregnancy hormone it isnt possible to experience a true period during pregnancy.
During the early stages of pregnancy, however, some people experience spotting or light bleeding and its usually normal. This bleeding is called implantation bleeding, and it happens when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining.
- Analysis of period and cycle length
- Chances of getting pregnant and ovulation forecast
- Predictions of next period
When You Are Most Fertile
You are most fertile three days prior to ovulation, during ovulation, and two to three days afterward.
Once you ovulate, your system flushes the egg out within 12-24 hours if it’s not fertilized. And you will not be able to get pregnant until around the next time you ovulate.
The first day of your period marks the start of your cycle, but most people don’t ovulate until the middle of a menstrual cycle.
However, cycles vary in length for each person, which means the fertility window may happen earlier or later.
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Factors That Change The Time You Ovulate
The sex hormones estrogen and progesterone largely determine the duration of a menstrual cycle. For example, over the course of a cycle, rising estrogen levels trigger ovulation and thicken the uterine lining so that you can potentially conceive and nurture a fertilized egg.
Slight changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to changes in cycle duration and when you ovulate. These changes can come from factors like age, ethnicity, and body mass index.
Stress, illness, and other medical conditions can also affect when you ovulate, and alter the typical length of your cycle. “Even somebody with a 31-day cycle might have a shorter cycle than their average and have a slip-up,” Childson says.
What Are The Chances A Woman Can Get Pregnant On Her Period
A womans likelihood of getting pregnant can rise and fall throughout her ovulation cycle. While the average females monthly cycle may be 29 days, others may have a cycle that varies from 20 to 40 days, or longer.
The likelihood that a woman will get pregnant one to two days after she starts bleeding is nearly zero. But the likelihood starts to increase again with each successive day, even though shes still bleeding.
At roughly day 13 after starting her period, her chance of pregnancy is an estimated 9 percent.
While these numbers may be low, it doesnt mean a woman can ever be 100 percent assured that she wont get pregnant on her period.
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If Its Not Period What Is It
Since the answer to Can you be pregnant and still have a period? is no, you may be wondering what the bleeding is really all about. Here are some ideas:
1. Implantation Spotting or Bleeding
This is a type of bleeding that occurs when the fertilized embryo finally attaches to the uterine lining. When the egg digs deep into the uterine lining, it can cause bleeding when the embryo and the lining come together. This can result in a slight amount of bleeding about a week before the normal period is supposed to happen, which is usually a bit of red spotting, pink discharge, or a light brown discharge in most women but it can become just as heavy as a light period. You can easily confuse this bleeding with an early period or a period that just happens to be lighter than normal.
2. Bleeding Following Birth Control
It is possible to have irregular bleeding when you are taking the birth control pill. If you have just stopped the pill and have become pregnant, the hormonal changes associated with this change can result in some off and on spotting. If you get pregnant immediately after stopping the birth control pill, it can be hard to tell the difference between this bleeding and a normal period. You might actually be pregnant and experiencing some intermittent vaginal bleeding.
3. Ectopic Pregnancy
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Why Am I Bleeding Yet Am Pregnant
You may experience some spotting when you expect to get your period. This is called implantation bleeding and it happens around 6 to 12 days after conception as the fertilized egg implants itself in your womb. This bleeding should be light perhaps lasting for a couple of days, but its perfectly normal.
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The Uterine Lining Is Expelled Through Bleeding
If no fertilized egg implants in the uterus within the following days, progesterone levels decrease. Since no new life has been created, the nutrients contained within the endometrium are not needed. Consequently, the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, is excreted in the form of blood and small pieces of tissue.
Menstrual bleeding is usually heavier than any breakthrough bleeding.
Early Signs Youre Pregnant Before A Missed Period
Early pregnancy symptoms can overlap with common body changes, such as PMS. Heres how to tell the difference.
Your menstrual cycle is your bodys monthly preparation for pregnancy if you get pregnant, the lining in your uterus has a job to do and you wont experience any typical menstrual bleeding. But while a missed period is many peoples first signal that theyre pregnant, it often isnt the first clue your body gives you.
In the first weeks of pregnancy , the body starts producing a lot of hormones that can affect you physically and mentally. In addition to amping up its regular production of progesterone and estrogen, your body starts producing new ones, including human placental lactogen and human chorionic gonadotropin .
While your body is in hormonal overdrive during early pregnancy, you may feel some side effects. But if hormones are to blame, how do you tell if its PMS, ovulation symptoms or something else completely? Below, we outline some signals you might notice from your body during early pregnancy, before you even take a pregnancy test.
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