It is commonly believed that when a woman is on her period, she cannot get pregnant. However, this statement is not entirely accurate and it is possible, in some cases, to conceive a child even during this period of the menstrual cycle. So, can you really get pregnant during your period? Let's discover together the elements that can favor such a situation.
Understanding female fertility and ovulation
Before discussing the reasons why it is possible to conceive a child during your period, it is appropriate to return to the functioning of female fertility and the ovulation process. The menstrual cycle, which generally lasts between 21 and 35 days with an average of 28 days, is marked by different phases:
- The follicular phase: during this period, the ovaries prepare for the release of the egg;
- Ovulation: generally located in the middle of the cycle (around the 14th day), it corresponds to the moment when the egg is expelled and remains fertile for a period of 12 to 24 hours;
- The luteal phase: extending from ovulation until the first day of the next period, it ends with the degradation of the endometrium if the egg has not been fertilized.
So, the female fertility window is a few days before ovulation and up to a day after it. Sperm, for their part, can survive in the female reproductive tract for two to five days on average.
Risk of pregnancy during menstruation: the case of short and irregular cycles
Although it is generally accepted that getting pregnant during your period is unlikely, it is still possible, especially in the case of short or irregular cycles. Indeed, each woman is different and has cycle variations that can influence the ovulation period:
- Short cycles: For a woman whose cycle lasts 21 days, ovulation will take place around the 7th day. If unprotected intercourse takes place during menstruation (between the 1st and 4th day of the cycle), it is possible that the sperm are still present at the time of ovulation and fertilize the egg;
- Irregular cycles: Some women may see their ovulation period vary from month to month, making it more difficult to determine the fertile window.
Menorrhagia and false periods: watch out for confusion
In some cases, bleeding called menorrhagia can occur outside of the rules and be confused with them. This bleeding can result from different pathologies (fibroids, problems with the cervix) or from taking anticoagulant treatments. It is therefore important to consult a healthcare professional if in doubt.
Identifying signs of pregnancy during your period
Although rare, it is possible to show signs of pregnancy during your period. These symptoms may include unusual fatigue, nausea, increased breast tenderness, and mood changes. It is important to note that these signs can easily be confused with premenstrual symptoms. If in doubt, a pregnancy test and medical consultation are recommended for an accurate diagnosis.
- Unusual fatigue : An increased feeling of fatigue can be an early sign of pregnancy.
- Morning nausea or discomfort : Nausea, with or without vomiting, often associated with the beginning of pregnancy.
- breast tenderness : A change in the feeling or tenderness of the breasts.
- Mood changes : Emotional fluctuations that seem different from those usually felt.
How to avoid unwanted pregnancy during menstruation?
To avoid unwanted pregnancy during menstruation, it is recommended to use a effective contraception throughout the cycle, whether it is the pill, the intrauterine device, the patch or the implant. If you forget to use contraception or have unprotected sex, using emergency contraception (morning after pill) can also be a solution to prevent a possible pregnancy.
Practical advice on contraceptive methods
It is crucial to understand that no contraceptive method is universally suitable for all situations. Here are some tips for choosing the best option:
Contraceptive pill : Ideal for those who prefer a daily method. Beware of oversights, which can reduce its effectiveness.
Intrauterine device (IUD) : Suitable for women looking for a long-term solution without worrying about daily contraception.
Contraceptive Implant : A reliable option for those who prefer a method that does not require daily attention, effective for several years.
Condoms : In addition to protection against pregnancy, they are essential for preventing STIs.
Emergency contraception (morning after pill) : To be used after unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure.
In conclusion: stay careful even during your period
While it is true that the risk of getting pregnant during your period remains low, it is not non-existent. Short cycles, hormonal fluctuations or irregularities can influence the female fertility window, making conception possible during this period. It is therefore essential to protect yourself correctly during each sexual intercourse in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.