Q: Can you get pregnant on your period?
A: While the chances of getting pregnant during your period is very low. It is not impossible. There are three scenarios where this may happen:
- Short menstrual cycle
- Irregular cycle
- Bleeding was not due to period
Short Menstrual Cycle
Sperms can live inside a woman's body for up to five days. If your cycle is regular (i.e., around to 28 days), the sperms will most likely be all dead by the time ovulation occurs. On the other hand, if your cycle is short, for example 21 days, it is then possible for some sperms to be alive when ovulation occurs, and hence it is possible to get pregnant.
Let's look at an example. Let's assume Sue has a 21-day cycle, and let's further assume that her luteal phase is 14 days (which is normal). If we designate the first day of her period to be Day 1, her ovulation will occur on Day 7. If she has sex on Day 3 (while she is still in her period), her ovulation will occur just four days after having sex, meaning that it is possible that there are still live sperms in her body, and that she may get pregnant. The picture below illustrates this possibility.
If you have an irregular cycle, it is not possible to predict when you will ovulate next with any precision. As a result, there is a chance that ovulation may take place while you are on your period or soon after, and you may get pregnant as a result.
Bleeding Was Not Due To Period
The third possibility is that the bleeding you experienced is in fact not your period, but simply spotting. In this case, having sex while you are bleeding does not mean that you are having sex on your period. While the actual chances of getting pregnant depends on when you had sex relative to your cycle, it is safe to say that it is possible that you can get pregnant in this case.
Other common questions on ovulation and pregnancy