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How Does a Short Menstrual Cycle Affect Me Getting Pregnant?

The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. While there are many women whose cycle does last exactly 28 days, there are many women whose cycle can be shorter, longer, or irregular. Having a shorter menstrual cycle can, in some ways, affect your chances of getting pregnant.

To understand the relationship between a short menstrual cycle and its affect on getting you pregnant, it is important to understand how exactly a woman’s menstrual and ovulatory cycle works, and how conception occurs.

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  • Conception will occur when a sperm meets an egg in the woman’s fallopian tube. During a woman’s monthly cycle, one of her ovaries will release an egg into the fallopian tube. This is called ovulation. This egg can only survive for around one day in your fallopian tube. Therefore, a sperm would have to meet it pretty much right away when you ovulate.

    If the egg is not fertilized, the egg and the lining of the uterus are shed. This is what causes your menstrual period. As you can see, the period and ovulation are two distinct times in a woman’s cycle.

    Regardless of how long your menstrual cycle lasts, you will ovulate every cycle. When you ovulate, the egg that is released will be able to be fertilized for right around 24 hours. The sperm that enter your body during the few days prior to ovulation and during ovulation could, potentially, make you pregnant. This means that you will be fertile for right around one week every cycle, regardless of how long your cycle is.

    So, if your cycle lasts for 25 days, you are fertile around 1/3 of the cycle. If your cycle lasts for 28 days, you are fertile for around 1/4 of the cycle. If you have a short cycle, then, you could be fertile for around 110 days every year. If you have a longer cycle, you might only be fertile for around 95 days every year. So, having a short menstrual cycle can make you more likely to get pregnant.

    If your cycle is too short, you may want to see your doctor. Studies show that cycles which are too short can cause your body to not produce hormones in the correct amounts to help sustain a successful pregnancy.

    Last modified: February 10, 2013

    The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.