Although it is highly unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant during menstruation.
However, it is important to understand how your menstrual cycle actually works so that you can possibly avoid pregnancy during menstruation. It is also important to understand exactly how pregnancy occurs.
Your period is identified as the loss of blood that follows the end of an ovulatory cycle. This is usually what happens when sperm has not fertilized an egg. Most women will release an egg around the fourteenth day of her cycle each month. However, before the egg is released, a woman’s hormones will begin to increase in order to properly prepare and thicken the uterine lining. This is done so that if an egg is fertilized, it will be safely housed and nourished. If fertilization does not happen, then the uterine lining will be discarded approximately fourteen days later.
Generally speaking, most women experience periods that range from two to eight days, every 26 to 34 days. Midway through the cycle is when ovulation will occur. This is your most fertile period and the time that you have the highest chances of conceiving.
The egg that is released during ovulation will only live for 24 hours. If there is no fertilization by sperm within those hours, the egg will not survive and will be flushed out with the menstrual blood approximately 14 days later. Since most women have 28 to 32 day menstrual cycles with a two to eight day period, it will be almost impossible for her to get pregnant during menstruation.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, it is possible to conceive from having sex during your period. Since sperm can survive in your body for up to five days, if you ovulate just after your period finishes, conception can occur from sex that occurred during your period.
For women that do not have a strict 28 – 32 day menstrual cycle, falling pregnant during their period is easier. For instance, if you have a short cycle that only lasts for 24 days, and your period lasts for seven days, if you were to have sex on the last day of your period, and you ovulated three days later, you can easily conceive as sperm can live for three to five days.
Moreover, a few women also have breakthrough spotting or bleeding between their periods. Sometimes this bleeding can happen around the time of ovulation, and a woman may mistake this for her actual period.
If you know that you had unprotected intercourse at some stage during your period and you are worried that you may be pregnant, pay attention to any symptoms such as breast tenderness, mild lower abdominal cramping, moodiness, and spotting (this is known as implantation spotting and is a very common cause of bleeding once the egg has been fertilized). As early as two weeks after ovulation is when such symptoms shall occur. However, do be aware that these same symptoms are also common signs that your period is about to start. Other common pregnancy indicators are nausea, vomiting, and severe fatigue and these will all manifest six or seven weeks’ after conception.