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Can I get pregnant during my period?

But it’s my period…

You may have heard something like it’s impossible to get pregnant on your period. It’s sort of true, sort of not. It’s extremely unlikely for conception to occur during the menstrual period. However, that doesn’t mean that having sex during your period won’t result in pregnancy.

Wait, what?  Yes, it is indeed possible to get pregnant from sex occurring during a period.

Two factors play into this:

  1. Sperm can survive up to five days inside the female reproductive tract.
  2. Ovulation does not always occur on Day 14, as legend tells it.

How the Cycle Works

The Textbook Woman has a 28-day cycle. Once a month, one of the ovaries in a woman’s body releases an egg.  Sperm could fertilize that egg as a result of sex and cause a pregnancy. This process, called ovulation, typically happens around day 14 for the Textbook Woman. However, not everybody is a Textbook Woman. Ovulation can happen on different days for different women, and even the same woman can have very differing cycle lengths. Multiple factors contribute to the ovary releasing an egg earlier or later than usual, including stress, changes in diet or exercise, and travel. So if you either have consistently shorter cycles or just a random short cycle, that means you would ovulate significantly earlier than Day 14.

If a woman is having a shorter or longer cycle than normal, the difference is going to be in the days between when her last period ends and when one of the ovaries releases an egg. The time between the day the egg is released and the start of her next period is going to stay the same.

For example…

Let’s say our fictitious friend Martha had a 22-day cycle. Remember that the time between the day an ovary releases the egg and the first day of the next period generally remains the same from period to period (12-16 days depending on the woman). Therefore, the difference in cycle lengths come from the days in between the period and ovulation. For Martha’s shorter cycle, that means she could have ovulated as early as Day 6. Because sperm can survive up to five days inside the female reproductive system, Martha could get pregnant from sex she had during her period.

The more you know

It’s important to be aware of the way your body works in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy. There are a lot of misconceptions (pun intended) about how the female reproductive system works, so do all you can to learn the truth from the myths.

If you think you may be pregnant, know that you don’t have to settle for a lack of information about your body. To learn more about pregnancy and get the resources you need, including a pregnancy test or ultrasound, click here for more info or call Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic in Kirksville, MO at 660-665-5688. All our confidential services are offered at no cost.

Make an Appointment

Resources:
Toni Weschler,
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Healthline

10 Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Interesting things happening in your body? Maybe you find yourself exhausted, nauseous, or more emotional than usual. And oh yeah, it’s been awhile since you’ve had a period. These clues start swimming around in your mind and you wonder, are these pregnancy symptoms??  

Now let’s be clear: the only way to be certain a woman is pregnant is through a pregnancy test. But if you are pregnant, you may experience a variety of bodily changes, even as early as a week after conception. Every woman is different. Your symptoms could be very different from your best friend’s or your sister’s or even from your own previous pregnancies. Just because you don’t have morning sickness or that famous pregnancy glow, doesn’t mean the possibility of pregnancy is out the window. You may not ever have these pregnancy symptoms, or they could crop up later on.

That being said, there are a variety of changes you are likely to undergo during the early stages of pregnancy. 

10 Common Pregnancy Symptoms:

 

Spotting and cramping

After conception (when the sperm meets the egg), the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus. The uterus is where the baby grows and lives for nine months. When the egg attaches to the uterus, there could be some slight cramping or spotting, known as implantation bleeding. This happens 6-12 days after conception. If bleeding occurs it should be very light and could last a couple days. This bleeding should be lighter and shorter than a normal period.

Missed Period

Once the fertilized egg implants, the body will begin releasing a hormone known HCG. HCG is what urine pregnancy tests are looking for. This hormone tells the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. HCG also tells the body to stop shedding the lining of the uterus (which means no periods). That lining instead turns into a cozy environment for a baby to develop.

Nausea (Morning Sickness)

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 25% of women report nausea as their earliest pregnancy symptom. Though commonly referred to as “morning sickness,” this can happen at any time of the day. Whatever causes this unpleasant symptom hasn’t been found, but it’s likely the body’s reaction to the change in hormones.

Breast Changes

Also as a result of rapid hormone changes, the breasts may feel swollen, sore, or tingly a couple weeks after conception. They may even feel fuller, and the area around the nipples (the areola) might darken.

Increased heart rate

The heart begins to pump faster during pregnancy due to the rise in hormones. Palpitations and changes in heart rhythm are common because of this. As always, talk to your doctor about what is normal during pregnancy and report any chest pain or other changes in your heart rate.

Fatigue

Because of the hormonal changes as well as a drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and increased blood production, the body might feel more exhausted than normal. This can happen even as early as a week after conception.

Mood Swings

You may feel more emotional than usual during pregnancy. Those good ol’ hormonal changes could cause feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, or intense excitement.

Skin changes

The pregnancy glow you hear about is caused by a combination of increased blood volume and higher hormone levels pushing more blood through the vessels. This causes the skin to produce more oil than usual, creating a natural gloss and blush. However, this increase in oil could also lead to more acne than you may typically experience.

Frequent urination and incontinence

During pregnancy, the body boosts the amount of blood it pumps. This leads to the kidneys processing more fluid than usual, which in turn causes a fuller bladder.

Food cravings/aversions

Your developing baby needs lots of nutrients, some of which you may not normally eat. Your body will start to crave foods you don’t often find appealing so that you and baby will get all the right nutrients you both need. Some women report a new aversion to certain tastes or smells, which–you guessed it–is due to change in hormones. These aversions should go away around week 13 or 14.

 

How do I know for sure?

Remember, you could experience all of these pregnancy symptoms or only a couple. Always talk to your doctor about any symptoms that interfere with your everyday life. He or she can help you form a plan to ease these more uncomfortable changes.

Taking a pregnancy test is the first step in confirming a pregnancy. Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers confidential, no-cost pregnancy tests, as well as a variety of other resources to help you figure out your next steps if the test is positive. Pregnancy brings a lot of changes, physical and otherwise, but you don’t have to walk through it alone. Call Lifeline at 660-665-5688 or click here to request an appointment.

Make an Appointment

 

References:
WebMD  http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-am-i-pregnant#1
Healthline http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/early-symptoms-timeline#implantation-bleeding
American Pregnancy Association  http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/
What to Expect  http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/early-symptoms-of-pregnancy

Why is my Period Late?

Sometimes it feels like our bodies play tricks on us, especially when it comes to our cycles. Periods don’t ever seem to come when we want them to, do they? Whether you’re trying to conceive, trying to avoid pregnancy, or indifferent about the whole thing, when your period doesn’t arrive “on time,” often the first thought that comes to mind is…Am I pregnant??

If you really are pregnant, a missed period would be right on target. At Lifeline we offer confidential pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, and more at no cost. We’d love to talk with you!

However, there are plenty of other reasons your period could be late. Consider the following possible issues that may or may not be affecting your cycles:

  • Stress.

    Life is real, and there will be stressors along the way. Because stress can put our bodies into “fight or flight” mode, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to help your body determine what functions are necessary, your menstrual cycle could be put on the back burner. The heart and lungs often receive the most attention during stress (which is why you may feel your heart race and your breathing quicken). This can lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, such as a late period. Even positive life changes like getting married, moving, a new job schedule, and travel have been known to cause delayed periods.

  • Weight loss or gain.

    Women who are either underweight or overweight may experience irregular cycles. Again, this has to do with the body’s survival mode. If a woman does not have enough body fat or exercises excessively and doesn’t take in enough calories, her body may not feel like it’s able to carry a baby. The same goes for women who are overweight; the body may even produce too much estrogen, causing a hormonal overload that prevents ovulation and causes the uterine lining to overgrow. When a period eventually arrives, it may be heavier than usual.

  • Illness.

    If you were sick around the time when ovulation was supposed to occur, your body also may have focused on survival and ignored the menstrual cycle. When the body is busy fighting off infection, normal processes like a period might not happen.

  • Hormonal issues.

    Irregular periods could be a sign of thyroid issues, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or other chronic illnesses. If you’re experiencing any other symptoms like weight loss or gain, change in energy levels, hair growth, or appetite, talk with your doctor as soon as possible to address any underlying issues.

  • Medication.

    If you’ve recently gone off hormonal birth control and have missed a period, don’t fret. It often takes a few months for the cycle to return to normal. Likewise, if you’ve recently started hormonal birth control, it can take time for your cycles to become regular. Emergency contraception similarly may affect ovulation, and in turn when your period comes (or doesn’t). Other medications, such as some antidepressants, antipsychotics, and chemotherapy drugs may influence the cycle.

  • Perimenopause.

    The average age of menopause is 52, but some younger women may have symptoms similar to those occurring during menopause, including irregular cycles, hot flashes, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping, as early as 10 to 15 years before menopause actually happens. This is known as perimenopause. What this means is that the supply of eggs is dwindling down, and causing a decrease in ovulation and irregular periods.

One or several of these could be causing changes in your cycles. A missed period once in a while is normal and not a cause for concern. However, whether you could be pregnant or not, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any bodily changes to ensure that you’re getting the best care possible.

Pregnancy.

Having said all this, a late period could also mean pregnancy!   

If you think you could be pregnant, Lifeline is here to help. We offer confidential, no-cost pregnancy tests. Call 660-665-5688 for more information about our services, or make an appointment online.

Make an Appointment

by Kathryn Farmer
Resources: Healthline, Medical News Today, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
http://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/why-is-my-period-late#your-cycle1
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318317.php
https://www.whattoexpect.com/preconception/missed-period/

 

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