Unraveling the Myth: Can Women Get Pregnant During Menstruation?

June 5, 2023
Nitha Girija Vallabhan – June 5, 2023
mytrh-can women get preganant during menstruation

Hello! I am back with something special. You are sure to enjoy this blog post…

Hello! I am back with something special. You are sure to enjoy this blog post because today we are on a mission to debunk some myths regarding pregnancy and menstruation.  Wherever in the world you are located, it is interesting to note that the topics of pregnancy and menstruation seem to be shrouded in numerous myths and misconceptions. For instance, many women believe that they cannot get pregnant during their period. Hey, did you too believe that? Then you must read on. Let’s find out can a woman get pregnant during menstruation.

To effectively manage their reproductive health, avoid unwanted pregnancies and implement informed decisions in family planning, women must be equipped with a thorough understanding of their menstrual cycle. However, there are various misconceptions about the topic, especially when it comes to the chances of getting pregnant during menstruation.

An alarming number of women still believe that they will not get pregnant during menstruation. This myth stems from a lack of understanding regarding the intricacies of the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertility. So, it is vital to debunk this myth and offer reliable information on female reproductive health.

In today’s post, we will explore the facts and gain a better understanding of the factors affecting menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy. Through this article, we aim to dispel misconceptions and empower you to make informed decisions when it comes to your reproductive health.  

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

Let’s start with the basics. The menstrual cycle progresses through various stages such as the follicular stage, ovulation, and the luteal phase. Menstruation is the process of the uterine lining shedding and bleeding out. Then begins the follicular stage during which an egg in the ovary matures. After ovulation, there is the luteal stage, which prepares the uterus for implantation.

what is the mentrual cycle

Each of these stages is controlled by hormones. For instance, hormone levels are at their lowest during menstruation. At the follicular stage, estrogen levels rise and when ovulation occurs, luteinizing hormone (LH) levels are at an all-time high. Following ovulation, there is a marked rise in progesterone levels to maintain a potential pregnancy. 

Our focus here is on ovulation during which the egg is released from the ovary. If a sperm manages to fertilize this egg within 12-24 hours of ovulation, pregnancy occurs. This fertilized egg then makes its way to the uterus for implantation. In case fertilization occurs, the uterine lining will shed during menstruation. 

Myth vs Reality  Can Pregnancy Occur During Menstruation?

Most women may tell you that you cannot get pregnant during menstruation. But this is a myth because pregnancy is a possibility during menstruation. The sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to five days, extending the fertile window beyond menstruation.

Still, confused about what factors can influence fertility during menstruation? Here are some of them:

factors influence fertility during menstruation
  • The Lifespan of Sperms: As mentioned earlier, sperm can live within the female reproductive tract for several days. In such situations, pregnancy may occur if ovulation happens right after menstruation.
  • The Timing of Ovulation: In most women, ovulation occurs around the middle of the menstrual cycle. However, this can vary in many women. If ovulation occurs close to the end of menstruation and viable sperms are still present within the reproductive tract, pregnancy is a possibility. 
  • Variations in Length of the Menstrual Cycle: The length of the menstrual cycle can vary from 21 to 35 days. In women with shorter cycles, ovulation tends to occur close to menstruation, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. 

More on Menstruation, Ovulation, and Fertility

It’s time to clarify misconceptions about bleeding and fertility. In general, women believe that they cannot conceive during menstruation, as we already discussed. This myth is based on the assumption that women can conceive only during the ovulation stage. To dispel the myth, we shall now shift our focus to the window of fertility.

In simple words, the window of fertility refers to the time during which a woman can get pregnant. Since ovulation generally occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, it is believed to be the most fertile time. However, if a woman has intercourse during menstruation and some sperms manage to survive within the reproductive tract for a few days, the window of fertility extends beyond menstruation. Now if ovulation occurs close to menstruation, the chances of getting pregnant may be higher.

The potential for sperm survival is a key factor here. If the sperms manage to survive across several days, fertilization may occur even if intercourse happened a few days before ovulation. Amazing, right? This emphasizes the significance of understanding the complexities of the menstrual cycle and the possibility of fertilization outside the ovulation dates.  

Factors Affecting the Likelihood of Pregnancy

Let us move on to the factors affecting your chances of pregnancy. Some of these include:

Menstrual Irregularities and Their Impact on Fertility:

It can be challenging to accurately predict ovulation in women with irregular menstrual cycles. The timing of menstruation cannot be used as a reliable indicator of fertility in such cases. Your healthcare provider will be able to use advanced fertility tracking techniques to identify ovulation patterns and enhance your chances of conception. 

Cycle Length and Ovulation Timing Variations:

The length of menstrual cycles varies from one woman to another and from one cycle to the next. The typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. Longer or shorter cycles can influence the timing of ovulation. To precisely determine your fertile window, you need to have an understanding of the variations in cycle length. 

Fertility Awareness Methods and Their Effectiveness:

There are numerous methods now available to help women track their menstrual periods and ovulation dates. These include using ovulation prediction kits and tracking basal body temperature. However, you need to understand how these work and be consistent with tracking and recording details such as temperatures. While these methods may work great for some women, they may not be reliable for others. If you are not planning to get pregnant, it would be a good idea to couple these methods with other forms of contraception. 

Birth Control Methods and Menstruation

Women can now choose from an array of contraceptive options including hormonal contraceptives, barrier methods, intrauterine devices, and sterilization. Each method has its advantages and limitations when it comes to menstruation and preventing pregnancy. 

Is that birth control pills are good to use

For instance, hormonal contraceptives such as implants, injections, birth control pills, and patches prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, making the uterus lining less favorable for implantation and thickening the cervical mucus. In addition to preventing pregnancy, these methods also help regulate menstrual cycles and provide relief from menstrual cramps. 

Remember that hormonal contraceptives can affect your menstrual cycle in different ways. It can make your menstruation lighter or more regular. Sometimes, it may even put an end to menstruation. In this context, it is vital to note that the absence of menstruation when you are using hormonal contraceptives does not denote that you may be pregnant.

Final Word

To sum up, it is a myth that women cannot get pregnant during menstruation. And it is high time that we debunk this myth. Understanding the true facts behind the menstrual cycle, its hormonal factors, irregularities, patterns, and other complexities is the first step to dispelling the myth.  In today’s post, we have discussed all these topics in detail so that you may make informed decisions when it comes to contraception or fertility.

Whether you are planning to get pregnant or you have decided to prevent pregnancy for now, basic knowledge about menstrual cycles, ovulation, the window of fertility, and fertility awareness methods is essential. Healthcare providers can help you choose the right method and products to enable or avoid pregnancy. 

Now that you are empowered with accurate information about pregnancy and menstruation, you are unlikely to be swayed by myths, right? So now it is time to pass on this knowledge to other women so that they too can make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Remember to visit your healthcare provider in case you have any doubts regarding fertility, pregnancy, or menstruation. They will guide you in the right direction, enabling you to face the journey of fertility with certainty and confidence. You got this, ladies!


Q1 Is it possible to get pregnant while a woman is menstruating? 

Although the chances of getting pregnant while menstruating are low, it is not impossible. Generally, ovulation occurs during the middle of the menstrual cycle. But in women with short menstrual cycles, ovulation may sometimes occur right after menstruation. So if the woman had intercourse during menstruation and some of the sperm managed to survive in the reproductive tract for a few days (yes, sperm can survive this way for up to five days), she can get pregnant. 

The same applies to women with irregular menstrual cycles since it is hard to be sure when ovulation will occur. If you do not want to get pregnant, consult your healthcare provider to choose consistently effective contraception methods. 

Q2 Are there any exceptions or cases where pregnancy can occur during menstruation?

While it is rare for women to get pregnant during menstruation, it can still happen. Here are some cases:
1. Irregular cycles: It is difficult to predict the exact ovulation date in women with irregular menstrual cycles. In case ovulation occurs right after menstruation, unprotected intercourse can increase the chances of getting pregnant.
2. Short menstrual cycles: Ovulation tends to happen shortly after menstruation in women with short menstrual cycles. Physical intercourse during the end of menstruation may thus lead to fertilization. 
3. Sperm survival across days: Did you know that sperms can survive in the reproductive tract for many days? If a woman engages in intercourse during menstruation and sperm manages to survive for a few days until ovulation occurs, pregnancy is a possibility. 

Q3 How long does the menstrual cycle typically last?

The menstrual cycle is calculated by counting the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. It can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days, with the typical menstrual cycle in most women being around 28 days. The duration of the menstrual cycle is different in each woman and influenced by factors such as hormonal levels, diet, and overall reproductive health. 

Q4 How can I track my menstrual cycle to avoid any surprises?

Here are some ideas for tracking your menstrual cycle:
1. Calendar: Mark the first day of each period on a paper calendar and count the number of days between two consecutive periods. This is the duration of your cycle that will provide an approximate idea of your safe and fertile days.
2. Period Tracking Apps: These apps enable you to input the starting dates of your period each month. The app then highlights the days when you are unlikely to conceive and the days when you are most likely to conceive. 
3. Basal Body Temperature (BBT): Use a BBT thermometer to record your body temperature each morning as soon as you wake up. Record these temperatures on a period tracking app to identify your ovulation dates. 
Observing cervical mucus: When you approach the ovulation date, the cervical mucus tends to become more prominent, clear, and watery (almost like egg whites). Observing this change will help you predict your ovulation date. 
4. Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK): By identifying the presence of LH (luteinizing hormone) in the urine, OPKs point to the approximate ovulation date so that you can take adequate contraceptive measures. 

Q5 Can pregnancy symptoms be mistaken for menstrual symptoms?

Yes. Some pregnancy symptoms – like mood swings, fatigue, cramps, or breast tenderness – may resemble those of menstrual symptoms. However, pregnancy also typically includes other specific symptoms such as missed periods, nausea, vomiting, and frequent urination. Get in touch with your healthcare provider to be sure what is really going on, especially if you are not planning on getting pregnant. 

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5469003/
  • https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/luteinizing-hormone-lh-levels-test/
  • https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/your-menstrual-cycle
  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/menstrual-cycle

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