Your Chances of Getting Pregnant at Each Phase of Your Menstrual Cycle
Your Chances of Getting Pregnant While on Your Period
Menstruation is the first phase of the menstrual cycle and is better known as a period. Despite popular belief, it is possible to get pregnant while on your period. Although it is very unlikely to get pregnant when on your period, there are some circumstances where pregnancy is possible – especially for women who have shorter cycles (less than 25 days).
It is important to remember that conception takes place around the time of ovulation, which happens when an egg is released from the ovary. Since sperm can live up to 5 days in the fallopian tubes, having sex during your period could lead to a pregnancy if you ovulate earlier on in your menstrual cycle.
Ovulation is typically around cycle day 14 for a normal 28 day cycle, however ovulation doesn’t always occur on the same day each cycle. Depending on when you ovulate, will depend on when your fertile window begins. As you near your fertile window, you have a progressively higher chance of getting pregnant.
If you have shorter cycles and ovulate sooner, perhaps around cycle day 10, and your period lasts 5 days, you could conceive by having sex while still on your period due to sperm being present up to 5 days after intercourse.
Can You Get Pregnant After Your Period?
During the first half of your cycle, the follicular phase, your chances of getting pregnant increase slightly after your period ends, for women who have shorter cycles with ovulation occurring early on in their cycle. Your fertile window begins in the middle of the follicular phase, after your period ends, so your best chances to get pregnant are after your period ends, before ovulation and on ovulation day.
For example in a woman with a shorter cycle, if your period lasts about 5-7 days and you then have sex on cycle day 8 and you ovulate around cycle day 12, you could conceive because sperm can live up to 5 days within the female body. Although your chances of conception are low, it is possible.
Getting pregnant after your period all depends on when your fertile window begins. It’s important to understand how your own cycles work and when your fertile window begins to be able to time intercrouse around your unique ovulation day. To know when your fertile window is and when you are most likely to ovulate, it is recommended to start tracking your cycles using ovulation predictor kits.
It is also important to note that ovulation can vary from cycle to cycle. Meaning you could ovulate cycle day 12 one cycle, then cycle day 14 the next. Therefore the start of your fertile window would change by 2 days, which is another reason to use ovulation tests when trying to conceive so that you never miss when you ovulate. Start by using something like Easy@Home Ovulation Tests to help you predict your fertile window.
Your Chances of Getting Pregnant While Ovulating
This is prime time for baby making! Ovulation is the time during your cycle when an egg is released from the ovary and ready to meet with sperm in the fallopian tube for fertilization. The egg only lives for 24 hours or less so your window of getting pregnant closes shortly after your ovulation day. Pregnancy chances during ovulation and the days leading up to it (fertile window) are at its highest – which is about 20% each cycle.
Since sperm can live up to 5 days in the female reproductive tract, having sex in the days leading up to ovulation can increase your chances for conception by having the sperm in the right place at the right time.
Can You Get Pregnant After Ovulation?
Your chances swiftly decrease the day after ovulation, becoming near impossible to conceive during the luteal phase. After ovulation, an egg can survive up to 12-24 hours, meaning you could still be fertile the day after ovulation. Once the egg has been released, if it is not fertilized by sperm, the egg will disintegrate and no longer be available for fertilization.
One thing to note, is that if you are not tracking ovulation and did not confirm that you ovulated using BBT (basal body temperature), it is possible to believe ovulation may have occurred already, but actually did not – meaning it is still possible to conceive after a predicted, but not confirmed, ovulation day.
As we discussed earlier, ovulation can vary from cycle to cycle. So if you always ovulate on cycle day 14, but this cycle ovulation was delayed until cycle day 16, you would still be fertile in what you think is your luteal phase, even though technically your luteal phase has not begun yet. This is why it's so important to begin tracking your cycles with a confirmatory ovulation tool like basal body temperature.
Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
We know a successful pregnancy is dependent on a sperm meeting an egg during ovulation. The best time to have sex when trying to conceive is the 5 days leading up to ovulation day and on ovulation day. By tracking when you ovulate, you can identify your time of high fertility which is your highest chance of getting pregnant and plan sex accordingly to ensure sperm are in the right place at the right time.Luteinizing hormone, the hormone that triggers the release of an egg, surges 24-36 hours before ovulation. By using ovulation tests, you can understand when you are most fertile each day of your cycle and when you are most likely going to ovulate. The free Premom Ovulation Tracker app can help you understand your cycles better by scanning and interpreting your ovulation tests and identifying your fertile window so you can get pregnant faster.
Kacie Shrock is a registered nurse who specializes in fertility and reproductive health. She has always had a passion for women's health and she supports women and couples virtually across the world while on their journey to their dream families. Schedule a consultation with Nurse Kacie right through your Premom app!
“Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?” American Pregnancy Association, www.americanpregnancy.org/can-i-get-pregnant-if/can-you-get-pregnant-on-your-period. Accessed 03 January 2023.