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Can I Get Pregnant by Having Sex During my Period?

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According to the Nemours Foundation, ʺsometimes ovulation can occur before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped or within a few days after her period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for several days after ejaculation. So in both cases, having sex during a girl's period can result in pregnancy.ʺ

The American Pregnancy Association website confirmed the following information regarding pregnancy and your period: ʺPregnancy can occur from intercourse that takes place during a period. This is because sperm can live in the body for up to five days, and if a woman ovulates soon after her period, then conception could take place from intercourse that occurred during her period.ʺ

There is a great deal of misinformation and many urban legends about becoming pregnant during your period.

However, the bottom line is yes, you can become pregnant by having sex during your period. Your chances of becoming pregnant while on your period are slim but it is still possible. This is especially true of women who have a short menstrual cycle.

Planned Parenthood gives an excellent example of possibly becoming pregnant during your menstrual cycle.

The Planned Parenthood website stated, ʺIn a 20-day cycle, for example, ovulation — the release of the egg — may very well occur on Day 6 of her cycle. Her period begins on Day 1. It lasts about five days. But a man's sperm can fertilize an egg up to six days in her body. Let's say this couple has unprotected vaginal intercourse in the first two days of her period. The live sperm can wait to join with her egg when it is released on Day 6. This could cause a pregnancy.ʺ

According to Planned Parenthood, ʺIt is also possible to get pregnant during breakthrough vaginal bleeding.ʺ

Women with short periods may want to consider having protected sex during their menstrual cycles if they want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Women with regular or longer cycles, who have sex during their periods, can also be at risk for an unplanned planned pregnancy because ʺovulation may occur on different days in different cycles.ʺ The only 100 percent effective way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence.

And finally, the Nemours Foundation stated, ʺhaving unprotected sex at any time is very risky. Along with the chance of becoming pregnant, there is also the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against STDs. And talk to your doctor about additional forms of contraception.ʺ


Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period? KidsHealth - the Web's most visited site about children's health. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://kidshealth.org/teen/expert/sex_health/sex_during_period.html

Family Planning Council: FAQs. Family Planning Council, Promoting Reproductive Health in Southeastern PA. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://www.familyplanning.org/familyfaq.shtml#faq13

Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions: American Pregnancy Association. Promoting Pregnancy Wellness: American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/ovulationfaq.htm

Pregnancy Q&A. Sexual & Reproductive Health - Sex Education - Planned Parenthood. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/ask-dr-cullins/cullins-preg-5291.htm

Reviewed March 7, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.