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Whether a woman is trying to conceive or the other way around while having period sex, many are confused of the possibilities and probabilities of getting pregnant [or impregnating someone] while menstruating.
A lot of people thought that a woman cannot get pregnant while having a period. But the reality is, she would still get pregnant due to the sperms’ viability. Because of that misconception, many couples use period sex (engaging in sexual intercourse during a menstrual period), as an act of natural birth control.
Aside from having a messy and undesirable experience with period sex [talk about having a bloody penis and bedsheets after doing the deed], the possibilities of getting pregnant vary from woman to woman and their situations.
Chances of conception during a menstrual period
Conception begins when the released egg cell and sperm cell meet in the ampulla of a fallopian tube. To make things clear, discussed below are the chances of conception in every phase of a menstrual period:
Phase 1: The menstrual period
During the phase of a menstrual period, the chances of conception are almost zero [as previously mentioned, menstruation makes a woman less fertile at the moment].Pregnancy week by week
A menstrual period is the routine shedding of the inner membrane and mucosal tissues of the endometrium (uterine lining).
On the 3rd day, the levels of progesterone and estrogen heighten to rebuild the endometrium. Then the follicles slightly ripen which indicate that the onset of ovulation is approaching.
An egg cell can survive in the fallopian tube for 1 day after it is released from the ovary. Then if the sperm cells are present during that time, one of which may successfully fertilize the awaiting egg.
Sometimes, during the course of a regular menstrual cycle [most probably between day 12 and day 16], the egg cell becomes mature in one of the 2 ovaries.
Phase 2: Pre – ovulation
During the pre – ovulation phase, an egg cell has not been technically released yet. Therefore, the chances of conception are good.
Ovulation is usually completed by day 19, a week and a half before the next menstrual cycle begins. During the 7th day of a menstrual cycle, the vaginal discharge will have a springy texture. Then after a few days, it will become whitish cream in color (cervical mucus), a clue that the fertility window will open once again.
Although the egg has not been released yet, the creamy discharge serves as an indicator that ovulation will occur any time soon. In line with this, a study have shown that people who had period sex for only one time, even 4 – 5 days before ovulation still got pregnant.
Phase 3: Ovulation
During the course of ovulation, the chances of conception are highly likely. As a matter of fact, this phase is considered as the peak chance of conception.
Ovulation is when the ovary releases an egg cell, travels down the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it can live for a day awaiting to be fertilized (travel time takes about 6 days).
The onset of ovulation varies from month to month. This usually occurs 2 weeks before the 1st day of the next menstrual cycle. To track the onset of ovulation, use a basal body temperature chart and/or ovulation predictor kit [or fertility monitors].
On the other hand, women with prolonged periods will have a week left in between the last day of the cycle and the 1st day of ovulation.
Aside from that, for trying – to conceive women make sure to have sex in the next 24 – 36 hours to ensure a future pregnancy. Also, another sign of fertility is when the vaginal discharge increases in amount and has a sticky texture.
Phase 4: Post – ovulation
During the post – ovulation phase, the chances of conception are extremely low. This is because the egg cell has been released and making the baby is unlikely possible until next month.
Post – ovulation (also called as the luteal phase) is the final part of the cycle which lasts for about 12 – 16 days. It is when the progesterone levels rise to send chemical signals to stop the ovaries from releasing any more egg cells [this month].
Moreover, the cervical mucus dries up to form a plug (the mucus plug) and block other sperm cells that are racing to enter the uterus.
Higher chances of getting pregnant
It is [somewhat] hard to determine when ovulation will exactly occur. Despite of that, enlisted below are the signs and symptoms that a woman is ovulating [though all of which may vary].
- Breast tenderness and pain
- Stomach pain in the mid quadrant of the abdomen
- Uptick in the basal body temperature of about 0.4 – 1 degree Fahrenheit
- Abdominal pain
- Mood swings
Lowering the chances of conception
To lower the chances of conception, a woman should do the following things:
- Take birth control pills
- Male condoms (latex, non – latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, lambskin)
- Female condoms (copper intrauterine devices, nitrile synthetic rubber)
- Combination pill (such as Estrotep Fe, LoEstrin 1/20, Ortho – Novum 7/7/7, Ortho Tri – Cyclen Lo, Yasmin, Yaz)
- Spermicide nonoxynol – 9
- Progestin – only pill
- Extended – cycle pill
- Emergency contraceptive pill
- The diaphragm
In line with this, couples must also apply any forms of contraceptive methods such as:
- Calendar [rhythm] method
- Standard days method (SDM)
- Basal body temperature method (BBT)
- Cervical mucus method (also called as the Billings method)
- Hormone monitoring
- Combined [symptothermal] method
- Pull – out method (also called as the withdrawal method and/or rejected sexual intercourse)
Getting pregnant right before the next menstrual period
For women who want to have sex for [pure] pleasure sans the pregnancy, having sex right before the next menstrual period is the safest way out. This is because the chances of conception are very low.
With that being said, discussed below is how low the chances of conception are in each case:
Regular menstrual cycles
A menstrual cycle is counted from the 1st day of the 1st period to the 1st day of the upcoming cycle. With that being said, a regular menstrual cycle has an interval of 28 – 30 days before the next cycle comes.
That said, women with regular menstrual cycles [where the onset of ovulation occurs between day 11 and 21], an egg cell is only available for 12 – 24 hours for fertilization.
To sum it all up, the number of “safest days” right before a menstrual period increase with prolonged periods and decrease with short cycles. Therefore, this is not the perfect time for trying – to – conceive women. That is why it is necessary for every woman to become familiar with the length and duration of her menstrual period.
Getting pregnant during the course of a menstrual cycle
‘Can a woman get pregnant while she is on her period?’ is the commonly asked question for this type of situation. Although it is considered as the less fertile time of the month, surprisingly yes, the possibilities are still there.
In line with this, discussed below are the different types of menstrual cycles and their corresponding chances of conception [explained].
Regular menstrual cycles
The probabilities of getting pregnant during the course of a menstrual period are highly unlikely. This is because ovulation will take place after a few days. Thus, it lowers down the chances of conceiving at this period.
Irregular menstrual cycles
A woman has an irregular menstrual cycle if it has an interval of 30 days more and lasts longer than a week. It’s hard for women in this case to predict when they will be ovulating.
In line with this, an irregular menstrual cycle is identified in 3 types:
- Missed menstrual period
- Early menstrual period
- Late menstrual period
Short menstrual cycles
A short menstrual cycle is having 21 – 24 days only before the upcoming cycle sets in.
Unfortunately, women with short menstrual cycles and engage in period sex have higher chances of getting pregnant. For instance, a woman had period sex towards the end of the cycle, she will actually conceive after 4 – 5 days.
This is because the onset of ovulation is earlier with this type of cycle. As a matter of fact, sperm cells can live inside the female reproductive tract for 2 – 5 days [if it is stuck in fertile cervical mucus].
Women with prolonged periods are likely to get pregnant. This is because ovulation will occur while she is still bleeding a non – fertilized egg.
Breakthrough bleeding is when a woman experiences implantation [bleeding] between regular menstrual cycles.
This is the case where she is bleeding in her most fertile time of the month. If she were to conceive this time, she might confuse a menstrual period with pregnancy or the other way around.
There are even some documented cases were women thought that their menstrual cycle has started when in fact they are experiencing breakthrough bleeding.
Getting pregnant right after a menstrual period
The possibilities getting pregnant right after a menstrual period increases each day.
So for women who are trying to conceive, this is the perfect time to have sexual intercourse. Increase the chances of getting pregnant by having sex every other day for the next 2 weeks.
With that being said, discussed below are the possibilities and probabilities of getting pregnant after a menstrual cycle:
Had sex on the last day
If the bleeding time lasted for 6 days, had sex the day after (day 7), and ovulation occurred on day 11, there are possibilities that the sperm is still viable in the fallopian tubes for conception.
Had sex the day after
If the bleeding time (menstrual period) last for 5 days to a week and she had sex the day after, the female reproductive system is approaching the fertility window.
Had sex after 2 days
As previously mentioned about the sperm’s viability [a sperm cell can live up to 2 – 5 days inside the female reproductive tract], having sex after 2 days could probably get her pregnant.