The Body Experts: Can I Get Pregnant On My Period?
The pill, the implant, condoms, or even a period app – whatever way you choose to manage your contraception, preventing pregnancy is probably high on the agenda.
But are you fully up to speed on exactly when during your cycle you’re likely, or unlikely to conceive? Surely if you’re on your period, you can’t actually make a human, right?
Wrong! Pink Parcel’s resident GP, Dr. Tatiana Lapa, explains why even the monthly party in your uterus might not protect you from creating a baby.
Does having my period mean I can’t fall pregnant?
It’s a misconception that your period is actually the *safe* time to have sex when you’re not wanting to get pregnant, explains Dr Lapa. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re protected from pregnancy just because you’re bleeding. “You can get pregnant if you have unprotected sex whilst on your period if you ovulate early. Sperm can survive inside a woman’s body for up to seven days so although the risk is small, it can happen. It’s also important to keep in mind that the bleed may not always be your period (it could be spotting or another underlying health condition), which would mean you aren’t protected at all.”
What if I’m on the pill?
It’s still possible to get pregnant when you’re on the pill, if you forget to take, or are late with your first tablet after your seven-day break. “It’s not that likely but remember that one of the ways the pill works as a contraceptive measure is to prevent ovulation. If you miss any, the effectiveness will be reduced,” warns Dr Lapa.
So, how likely is conceiving on your period?
Ok, so the probabilities of conceiving from sex on your period are pretty low, but the possibilities are there, so it’s not worth risking it if you’re really not wanting to fall pregnant, says Dr Lapa. “This is because you’re fertile on the days leading up to your monthly menstruation and around the time you ovulate. Sperm, as mentioned earlier, can live up to an entire week inside a woman’s body so if you have a short cycle you could be ovulating just after your period – therefore you could be fertile very early in your cycle when you’re still bleeding,” she explains.