There are dozens of myths about conception floating around and being shared by peers. Ever heard of one that says that you must have an orgasm to “suck-up” the sperm or another that says you can’t conceive during your menstruation?
Well, the fact is you can get pregnant during your menstruation cycle; research has proven this. The problem is, this myth remains deeply rooted, and some women use this as a birth control measure. In 2011 alone of the 6.1 million pregnancies, 2.8 million pregnancies were unintended in the US.
In the guide below, we discuss the reasons why you can get pregnant on your period and how you can understand your period cycle.
5 Reasons Why You Can Get Pregnant After Period-Sex
There is a common misconception that sperms last for a few hours in a woman’s body and then die off. Scientists have found that sperms can last up to 7 days in a woman’s fallopian tubes.
With this possibility, a viable sperm can fertilize an egg days after you have had intercourse. This means that you can quickly get pregnant a week after sex. To prevent this case of unintended pregnancy, use contraception methods that provide a barrier to the fallopian tubes.
Ovulation takes place when an egg gets realized from the ovary into the fallopian tube. This egg has a lifespan of 24 hours. Each time you ovulate, only one egg gets released from the ovary.
However, there are some rare cases when two eggs get released at the same time. One egg sheds during the menstruation cycle while the other one ‘lives’ in your fallopian tube waiting to be fertilized. Changes in your ovulation can occur due to illness, stress, or change in your usual routine.
One of the most precise indicators of irregular periods is if you cannot pinpoint your ovulation days. If you have a cycle that lasts for 28 days and another one that lasts for 40 days, it means you have irregular periods, and you can end up pregnant if you have intercourse during menstruation.
Irregular periods are caused by eating disorders, travel, hormonal problems like thyroid malfunctions, emotional issues, breastfeeding, and over exercising.
Short Period Cycle
If you experience a short cycle of 21 to 24 days, you are more likely to ovulate earlier than women whose cycles last for 28-30 days. For this reason, you are more likely to conceive during and after your menstruation. Remember that sperm can last for up to 7 days, so a shorter cycle means you ovulate faster and your egg will find that sperm laying in wait.
Most women mistake intermenstrual bleeding for periods. 30% of women experience this bleeding, and it occurs 10-16 days after their menstruation. This bleeding can last up to 72 hours. If you have sex during this bleeding, there is a high probability that you will end up pregnant.
How to Understand Your Cycle and Prevent Pregnancy During Periods?
Chances of conceiving during menstruation are low but not impossible; so it’s not a good idea to have unprotected sex when you are on your periods. However, you can overcome this hurdle by understanding your cycle.
Becoming Familiar with Your Cycle
Your first step to naturally avoiding unintended pregnancies is by understanding your cycle. Does your cycle fall on the 21-24 days, 28-30 days or the 31-35 days slot? How many days pass before you ovulate? Most women ovulate from 13 to 20 days after their period.
Chart Menstruation Dates
To correctly track your cycle, mark down on your calendar when your short and long cycles start. To get your fertile days, subtract 18 from the short cycle date, and then add the result to the start date of the next menstruation cycle. Then subtract 11 from the most extended cycle date and add the result to the start date of the next menstrual cycle. The result you get marks your most fertile days.
Cervical Mucus and Temperature
Your cervical mucus is an indicator of your most fertile days. If your mucus is sticky and cloudy, then you are not fertile, and it’s safe to have intercourse. If the mucus is slippery, clear, and wet, then you are very fertile.
About three days before ovulation, your body temperature will spike and remains the same until your period. You will need a special thermometer to detect these temperature changes correctly.
While it is hard to conceive on your period, it is not impossible; you can get pregnant on your period. If you do not want to conceive, you can use traditional contraceptives. If you do not want to use contraceptives, the guide above will help you become familiar with your period cycle and understand when it is safe to have intercourse.
- “Declines in Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011”. Lawrence B. Finer, Ph.D and Mia R. Zolna, M.P.H.
- “Dr. Lindemann’s Fun Sperm Facts”. Oakland University.
- “Pregnancy: All Guides”. Youngwomenshealth
- “Trying to Get Pregnant”. NHS