Although rare, technically you can become pregnant while on your period. For this to happen, you would have to be ovulating during your period. Sperm can live for up to seven days within your reproductive tract so if you have sexual intercourse towards the end of your period and you ovulate a couple of days later then there is a possibility, although slim, that you can become pregnant.
Could That Really Happen?
Yes, it could really happen. For instance, if you have a short menstrual cycle (less than 24 days) you could really become pregnant, depending on when you ovulate. In addition, if you have a rather long period, you can become pregnant. Most periods last between 3 and 5 days each month, but it is possible for you to menstruate 10 or more days each cycle. When this occurs your ovulatory period can fall fairly close to the end of your period. Furthermore, resilient sperm that survive longer then the typically 7 days can also increase your risk of becoming pregnant while on your period.
What Happens If I Am Not Pregnant?
It is important to note that if your egg is not fertilized by sperm, your body will expel itself of your uterine lining and ovum. Moreover, even though it is rare to become pregnant while on your period, you should still take precautions, if you do not want to become pregnant.
When Will I Know If I Am Pregnant?
A pregnancy test is the most reliable way to tell if you are pregnant. Although most urine-based pregnancy tests require you to wait until your menstrual period is due to begin, blood tests measure the human chorionic gonadotropin pregnancy hormone(HCG)and can detect a pregnancy up to a week before a missed period. A physician, registered nurse (RN) and/ornurse practitioner can administer blood and urine pregnancy tests or you can purchase urine-based pregnancy test from your local pharmacy or grocery store.
What Are Some Common Misconceptions?
If you tend to have irregular cycles due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hormonal imbalances, you may mistake pregnancy-related bleeding as a period. In addition, if you tend to experience mid-cycle spotting and/or bleeding, then you may misinterpret your light bleeding as an early period, when in actuality it is implantation bleeding or normal pregnancy bleeding that occurs due to the shifting of your uterus and/or other organs.
What Should I Do If I Want To Avoid Getting Pregnant?
If you are trying to avoid an unwanted pregnant, you should make sure you and/or your partner use a reliable form of birth control during menstruation. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills), condoms, intrauterine devices (IUD), Depo Provera and foams are all effective ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Your physician, registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner, local pharmacy and/or grocery store can provide you with a variety of birth control options.
Douglas, A. (2000). The mother of all pregnancy books: The ultimate guide to conception, birth, and everything in between. New York, NY: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Weschler, T. (2006). Taking charge of your fertility, 10th anniversary edition: The definitive guide to natural birth control, pregnancy achievement, and reproductive health. New York, NY: HarperCollins.