Can I get pregnant while having sex on my period? If you have come to read this article, it will surely be because you are asking yourself this question at this precise moment or because you have ever asked yourself and you want to clear up your doubts. Many women think that if they have their period and have unprotected sex they will not get pregnant, but what is true about this? It is a common misconception that if a woman has sexual intercourse during her period she will not get pregnant. Although pregnancy is unlikely to occur under these circumstances, it is absolutely possible and should not be ruled out.
You are surprised? The period is defined as blood loss that occurs at the end of an ovulatory cycle as a result of an egg that has not been fertilized by a sperm. Each month, a woman releases an egg around the 14th day of her cycle, and before the egg is released, hormones are ramping up to prepare the lining of the uterus in case the egg is fertilized and pregnancy occurs. If there is no fertilization, the woman will shed the lining of the uterus after the following 14 days -in case of a menstrual cycle that lasts 28-. And this is what is called rule, menstruation or period.
Getting pregnant while having sex on your period, is it possible?
- As you have read above, it is totally possible, but what is it that causes a woman to get pregnant when having sex on her period? Most women have periods that last from two to seven days and occur between days 26 and 34 of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation -when the egg is released from one of the ovaries- occurs in the middle of the cycle. It is precisely at this time when the woman is most fertile and there are greater chances of being able to conceive a baby.
- The egg that is released during the ovulation process survives for approximately 24 hours and if it is not fertilized by a sperm during this time, it dies and goes abroad together with the menstrual blood that the woman releases when her period comes down.
- Most women have normal cycles of 28 to 32 days, and in this case, they are unlikely to get pregnant during their period. However, there are women who at some point in their lives may have a shorter menstrual cycle, mainly those women who have irregular periods in which it is difficult to predict which days or which weeks it is safe to have unprotected sex. Imagine, for example, a woman with a 24-day menstrual cycle who has seven days of bleeding and has sexual intercourse on the last or penultimate day of her menstruation. Since spermatozoa have the ability to survive in the woman’s uterus for 3 to 5 days, this woman could perfectly get pregnant during these last days of her period.
What factors influence whether a woman can get pregnant while on her period?
- One of the main factors that can cause a woman to ovulate prematurely is stress. Nerves and anxiety can cause the normal functioning of the body to be altered, thus modifying the menstrual cycle.
- The quality of the man’s sperm also influences pregnancy. If the man’s semen is of high quality, conception will always be more likely. The fact that the boy has not had intercourse during the previous days will also increase the chances since, in this case, he will have a greater amount of accumulated sperm.
- A sudden change in weight in women (increase or decrease) can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, giving rise to irregular periods.
- As a woman approaches menopause, the hormone production of estrogen decreases. This also causes menstrual cycles to change generating more frequent or infrequent periods.
- Intense exercise is another factor that can alter a woman’s period, although in this case it is more common for them to lengthen it. In very extreme cases, excessive exercise can even cause amenorrhea or the disappearance of the rule.
- Some diseases such as diabetes or kidney or thyroid problems can also cause changes in the female period.
- There are certain medications that influence hormone levels such as antipsychotics or steroids. These medicines can cause imbalances that affect reproductive hormones, thus altering the regularity of the cycle.
- Finally, age is also a fundamental element to take into account. A young couple (18 or 26 years old, for example) is not the same as a 45-year-old couple. It is evident that in the first case there will be more chances of pregnancy.
So when are you most likely to get pregnant?
Usually, the ovaries release an egg in the middle of the menstrual cycle, that is, between days 12 and 15 of it. It is precisely at this time that the woman is in her fertile days and there are greater chances of pregnancy. Specifically, and as we have mentioned before, it is calculated that the most fertile day of a woman is day 14 of her cycle (referring to a period with a duration of 28 days).
Fertilization occurs when the egg moves down the fallopian tubes into the uterus and fuses with a sperm.
Bleeding that is confused with menstruation, be careful!
On some occasions, it can happen that a woman experiences metorrhagia: vaginal bleeding from the uterus due to some type of infection or cyst. This type of bleeding can cause confusion and lead one to think that her period has already passed when she really has not.
Therefore, you must be careful and keep in mind that, if you do not want an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy, it is convenient to always use a contraceptive method during sexual intercourse, regardless of the moment of the menstrual cycle in which we find ourselves.
Combining the ‘backward’ method and Ogino-Knauss, does it work?
- Based on the above explanations, the Ogino-Knauss method states that women who have a regular menstrual cycle between 27 and 32 days can prevent pregnancy if they avoid intercourse during their most fertile days. The truth is that this technique reduces the chances of getting pregnant by 60%, however the remaining 40% is a very high percentage if you compare it with the 1% and 3% of the pilland the condom respectively. This technique is only useful if it is used in reverse, that is, when the woman wishes to become pregnant. Calculating the fertile days allows us to find out what is the best time to have sexual intercourse so that it is much easier for pregnancy to occur. The effectiveness of the Ogino-Knauss method for finding pregnancy is 80%.
- For its part, reversing (also known as ‘coitus interruptus’) is a method that is used during sexual intercourse itself and is based on withdrawing the penis from the vagina a few seconds before ejaculation occurs. In this way, the man does not spill his semen inside the woman, however, before ejaculation takes place, a pre-cum is secreted that can also contain sperm.
- In conclusion, the risk of pregnancy when combining the ‘reverse’ method and the Ogino-Knauss method will be lower than if only one of the methods is used, however, the danger of becoming pregnant will still be present.
Frequently asked questions about pregnancy and menstruation
There are only a few days left before my period comes, can I get pregnant the days before my period?
The chances of you getting pregnant in the days before your period are very low, but they are not non-existent. You can get pregnant being in your days close to the period as well as during the menstruation itself. As we have explained previously, the fertile days (close to ovulation) of a woman with a short menstrual cycle are very close to those of the rule. Therefore, if we add to this the fact that spermatozoa can remain alive for up to four days inside the woman, it is possible that a pregnancy can occur when having unprotected intercourse in the days before menstruation.
How to know if I have become pregnant when having sex with the period?
If indeed your egg has been fertilized by a sperm after having sex with your period, you will experience the typical symptoms of pregnancy, that is, nausea, vomiting, sensitive breasts, fatigue and, obviously, no menstruation the following month. The best thing you can do to find out for sure is to wait two weeks and take a pregnancy test.
Can pregnancy occur during a normal period or does it happen when it is less abundant?
Pregnancy can occur regardless of the type of bleeding, so it is essential that you use contraception if you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
Can you menstruate while pregnant?
No. The period disappears during the months of pregnancy. However, a small amount of bleeding can occur as a result of the hormonal changes that occur in the woman’s body during this stage. This bleeding differs from menstruation in that it is much less abundant and pinkish or dark brown in color. If you have very heavy bleeding during menstruation, it is very important that you go to a doctor quickly as an abortion could be taking place.
Are apps that control the menstrual cycle useful?
Nowadays, the presence of new technologies has meant that there are applications for everything: to exercise, to carry out a diet, to stop smoking and, of course, to calculate the most and least fertile days of the woman. It should be noted that this type of app is very useful for those women who are looking to get pregnant, however, they are not as effective for those who are looking for the opposite, that is, to avoid pregnancy. Although these types of applications predict the most fertile days of a woman’s cycle, they can change. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary risks, it is best to use contraceptive methods of proven effectiveness such as the pill, the condom or the IUD.