Myth or reality: can you get pregnant during your period?

Without prolonging the suspense, the answer to the question "Can you get pregnant during your period?" is: "yes, but it's really rare". Unlikely but not entirely impossible. This is played on the duration of the rules and the moment of ovulation which can be juxtaposed in the event of a short cycle, and on the lifespan of the spermatozoa. You'll have to do a little math to figure it out. Do not panic if this is not your forte, we will help you.


A little reminder about the menstrual cycle

To see more clearly, let's start with a little reminder about the different phases of the menstrual cycle, during which our fertility evolves.

1- The rules: they mark the beginning of the cycle. They can last between 2 and 8 days depending on the woman, the average being 5 days. In this phase of the cycle, fertility is very unlikely.

2- The pre-ovulatory phase (also known as the follicular phase): it has a very variable duration depending on whether you have a short, “normal” or long cycle. According to women, this phase can last less than 10 days or more than 25, but the average is 10 to 18 from the first day of menstruation. During this phase of the cycle, there is little cervical mucus and fertility is unlikely.

3- The ovulatory phase: it lasts an average of 6 days. It is characterized by the production of estrogen and fertile cervical mucus. It includes THE day of ovulation. In this phase of the cycle, fertility is very strong.

4- The post-ovulatory phase (also known as the luteal phase): it lasts between 10 and 18 days (14 for a “normal” cycle), until the new period if the egg is not fertilized. It is characterized by the production of progesterone. In this phase of the cycle, fertility is uncertain.

So in theory (and in theory everything goes well) you can't get pregnant while on your period, since you ovulate much later. But …

The exception that confirms the rules

In summary, the average period lasts 5 days, ovulation occurs 14 days after the start of these and you can get pregnant for 6 days: 5 days before ovulation + the day of ovulation . But we are not all set like clocks. For many of us, a cycle does not last 28 days but between 21 and 35. And this is where it gets tricky. Let's imagine a woman whose pre-ovulatory phase is very short (less than a day, having a short cycle), whose ovulatory phase starts on the 6th day of the cycle, and who has her period for 7 days. She can potentially get pregnant during her period, as her fertile window begins on day 6 of her cycle and her period ends on day 7. You have a headache ? It's normal. But it's almost over.


The lifespan of sperm in the vagina

And yes, we have just seen that there could be a small window of fertility in some women during menstruation in the event of a short cycle. Now let's see how sperm benefit from this. In the body of the man, these small reproductive cells can survive 2 months well with the heat in the absence of ejaculation whereas they die in the open air. And in the female body, for example at the entrance to the cervix, some may gently go to sleep after unprotected intercourse, awaiting the release of the egg. In this configuration, they retain their ability to fertilize for up to 5 days. And can turn our egg into a zygote!


Let's stay vigilant

So here is a scenario, very rare according to statistics, where a woman can become pregnant during her period. This is why when you use a natural method of contraception, it is important to know your cycle at your fingertips and if you have opted for a condom, keep it even in the event of sexual intercourse during your period . The observation of cervical mucus sometimes being hidden by the flow of menstrual blood.

Finally, some bleeding due to a rise in estrogen wrongly suggests menstruation (#spotting), be careful: it can correspond to a very fertile period.


By Elise

Questions ?
We answer it...

When can you get pregnant?

If you are trying to get pregnant, you should prefer to have intercourse during the fertile window, the three days before and after ovulation, which usually occurs on the 14th day of the cycle, 13 days after the first day of menses. But every woman is unique and sometimes ovulation occurs earlier or later, so relying on the menstrual cycle is not a recommended method of contraception.

Can you get pregnant while on your period?

If you follow the phases of the menstrual cycle you would think that it is technically impossible. But it is possible. Firstly, because a sperm can survive for several days in the womb and secondly, because ovulation can occur earlier than expected.

Can you get pregnant a few days before your period ?

Statistically it is unlikely to happen within a day or two of your period, but statistically it is also possible. We therefore recommend that you protect yourself, so as not to risk an unwanted pregnancy.

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