Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?

Reviewed on 1/13/2022
Woman holding a home pregnancy test (HPT) to see if she is pregnant
Although the chances are slim and sperm can survive in menstrual blood, it is possible to conceive (become pregnant) while on your period. The probability varies depending on how long the woman's cycles are, as those with shorter cycles will ovulate sooner.

It’s possible to become pregnant if you have unprotected sex during your period but the chances of getting pregnant during this time are slim. 

Is Pregnancy Possible During Your Period?

While a woman is most fertile when she is ovulating, which usually occurs about two weeks after the menstrual period, it is still possible for a woman to become pregnant at any point in her menstrual cycle, especially women who have irregular periods. 

  • For most women, a menstrual cycle lasts 28 to 30 days or more. Women who have a shorter cycle, for example, 21 to 24 days, will ovulate earlier in the cycle.
  • Sperm can survive for up to five days in a woman’s reproductive system, even if a woman is menstruating, and so a woman who has a shorter cycle could have sex toward the end of her period and conceive 5 days later due to early ovulation
  • The chances of getting pregnant right after your period increase with each day after bleeding stops. 

How Many Days After Your Menstrual Period Do You Ovulate?

A woman’s monthly menstrual cycle is measured from the first day of the menstrual period until the first day of the next period. The average woman’s menstrual cycle is between 28-32 days, though shorter or longer cycles do occur in some women.

  • Ovulation usually occurs between Day 11 to Day 21 of the cycle, counting from the first day of the last period.
  • Ovulation usually lasts one day, can happen any time during this window, and it’s not always the same each month.
    • Women who have shorter menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to ovulate closer to Day 11.
    • Women with longer menstrual cycles may ovulate closer to Day 21. 
  • A woman is most fertile in this window when she is ovulating, and women who are trying to become pregnant use ovulation prediction to determine the optimal time to have intercourse, particularly if they are having difficulty conceiving. Even though most women do not ovulate during their periods, sperm can survive up to 5 days in a woman’s body so it is still possible for an egg to be fertilized if a woman has intercourse during her period.
  • Many women use ovulation calendars or period tracking apps to help predict when they will ovulate and be most fertile. 
  • Other methods, including observing cervical fluid, taking daily basal body temperature, and tracking periods can also help you identify when you ovulate.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 1/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images