Can you get pregnant during your period?

You've had unsafe sex during your period and you're wondering if it's possible to get pregnant during your period? Well, having your period doesn't protect you from fertilization. We explain everything in this article.

Is it possible to get pregnant during your period?

The cycle begins on the first day of your period and ends on the first day of your next period. It generally lasts 28 days, although this may vary from woman to woman. Ovulation takes place between days 12 and 16, and a woman is often said to ovulate on day 14. The egg remains in the fallopian tube for around 24 hours. For fertilization to take place, a sperm must meet the egg. The lifespan of a spermatozoon is 5 days, so if you have unprotected intercourse 2/3 days before ovulation and 2/3 days after, you can get pregnant. The period between ovulation and the end of the cycle (arrival of the next period) always lasts 15 days. In fact, it's during this period that women are most likely to become pregnant.
If fertilization doesn't occur, progesterone and estrogen levels drop, causing the endometrium to detach: this is when menstruation begins. Menstruation lasts an average of 5 days (again, the duration varies from person to person).

General principle: you can't get pregnant during your period

As you'll have gathered by now, in theory it's unlikely that you'll get pregnant during your period. This is based on a 28-day cycle, with ovulation on day 14, but it's impossible to generalize. The length of the menstrual cycle is not an exact science.Ovulation and menstruation don't always occur at the same frequency in each cycle, as several factors can influence this.
It depends on several factors:

  • cycle length
  • sperm survival time
  • and finally, the length of the menstrual period

Exceptional cases of irregular menstrual cycles

Since the menstrual cycle is not regular for all women, having unprotected sex during your period presents risks. Menstruation is not a contraceptive.
In fact, women with short, long or irregular cycles can become pregnant during their period. In these cases, ovulation may occur at the start of the period or a few days afterwards, and since sperm can survive up to 5 days in the genital tract, if there is unprotected intercourse before or during this period, fertilization can occur.

How can I avoid getting pregnant during my period?

Since it is possible to become pregnant during your period, it's important to protect yourself if you don't want to become pregnant.

Taking contraception

Contraception is essential, even during menstruation. Whether you opt for hormonal contraception such as the pill, the implant or the hormonal intra-uterine device, or for another type of contraception such as the copper coil, or simply the condom, it's important not to neglect your contraception during your period.
If you don't want to have children, it's important to protect yourself, whatever the time of the cycle. If you have any questions about contraception, ask your doctor, midwife or gynecologist. They'll be able to advise you and show you the different alternatives available to suit your preferences.

Beware of bleeding that isn't a period

If you experience bleeding between your periods, this may be metrorrhagia. All the more so if you've had high-risk intercourse. Be careful not to confuse it with your period. If you're in any doubt about your bleeding, if it's abnormally long or heavy, consult your healthcare professional: he or she will make sure that nothing abnormal is going on.

How to recognize the signs of pregnancy

One of the first signs of pregnancy is, of course, the absence of menstrual bleeding.
But other signs may also appear, such as nausea, or tender, enlarged and painful breasts.
Other possible signs include brownish or pinkish bleeding. If the bleeding is abundant and very red, accompanied by clots, consult your doctor immediately.
Other signs may also point you in the direction of pregnancy, such as :

  • frequent urination
  • headaches
  • heavy white discharge
  • digestive problems such as constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • acne
  • water retention
  • and many other signs...

If you have any doubts, take a pregnancy test and consult your doctor, midwife or gynaecologist.

FAQ : Getting pregnant during your period

What are the chances of getting pregnant during my period?

The chances of getting pregnant during your period are minimal, but it's important to remember that there's no such thing as zero risk. There's only one way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy: protect yourself.

Why can you get pregnant during your period?

Although the menstrual cycle generally lasts 28 days, no two women are regulated in the same way. It's sometimes very difficult to know when you're ovulating, as multiple factors can influence your cycle, the moment when you ovulate, etc... Since sperm can survive up to 5 days in the genital tract, all it takes is a shorter cycle, or conversely, a longer one and sexual intercourse for you to be fertile. So, to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, it's important to protect yourself.

Can you get pregnant during your period by making love?

Even if your period doesn't prevent you from having sex, you can still get pregnant if you make love during your period and don't protect yourself.