The answer to this question is a definite yes. Don’t rely on your menstrual cycle for birth control methods. While a woman is less likely to be fertile during her periods, the chances of getting pregnant are present.
Periods mean that you are not pregnant, as the blood loss indicates an unfertilized egg at the end of the ovulatory cycle. Then how does one get pregnant during this infertile time of the month? In order to get clarity on the same, let us first understand, how the ovulation cycle functions. The cycle of ovulation starts with the ovary releasing an egg into the fallopian tube where it can survive for up to 24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized during this time it travels back to the uterus.
Sperm can live up to 5 days inside a woman, and if an egg can survive for a day, a woman can get pregnant 5 days before their ovulation cycle begins. As mentioned in What To Expect, “Ovulation usually occurs 14 days before the first day of your next cycle — which, if you have a 28-day cycle and a week-long period, leaves you a week between the last day of your period and the first day you ovulate.”
So, if you had sex on the last day of your period or if you start ovulating early, then the chances of you getting pregnant are high. As the ovulation cycle can fluctuate despite having a 28-day cycle.
Irregular Period Cycle & Pregnancy
If you have a short, long or irregular period cycle, the chances of conceiving are equal. The reason behind this is, it gets difficult to calculate the ovulation cycle and keep track of the same. In cases where the cycle is short, say for example 18 – 21 days, the woman does not have enough time before the next period or the ovulation cycle. And same is the case with women who have a longer period, as the time in-between the ovulation and the next period is considerably lesser than women with 28-day cycles.
Women who experience irregular menstrual cycles, often mistake the spotting for periods. What may seem like the most infertile time of the cycle, will actually be the most fertile. So, in order to save yourself from unplanned pregnancy, understand the time in-between the ovulation and the menstrual cycle correctly.
Symptoms and Precautions
In case you have had unprotected sex while in your period, you can look for the following symptoms to take the necessary precautions:
- Cramping in the lower abdomen
- Breast tenderness
- Blood spotting (Sign of a fertilized egg)
- Mood Swings
The symptoms mentioned above are the early signs, you will notice within two weeks of your ovulation. Symptoms like vomiting, fatigue, etc. appear much later into the pregnancy, around 6th – 7th week. The bottom line is that women can get pregnant during their periods. Hence, if you are not planning to get pregnant always rely on condoms or birth control measures prescribed by a doctor.