Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?

Written by: Angela Watson | Updated: June 13th, 2023

From My Reader:

Dear Angela,

My boyfriend and I have been together for approximately 9 months and we're really having a good go of things. We click really well and the sex is great. We're still not ready to have children due to how relatively young our relationship is and the fact that we're both not in a place to be able to support a child, so we still regularly use condoms. Birth control is out of the question for us because I have very adverse reactions to it that negatively impact my life in ways I just can't stomach.

Both him and myself would still love for him to be able to finish inside of me at least once, and our only real option it seems is trying to time it with my ovulation cycle to make sure I don't get pregnant. So to us logically it seems like sometime around or during my period would be a risk-free way for us to have this special moment without a pregnancy scare or an expensive Plan B pill.

So I guess what I'd like to know is: can you get pregnant on your period? We're still kinda apprehensive.


My Response:

Hey Hopeful, glad you reached out to me. I'm happy to hear you're in a healthy and happy relationship that seems to be working out, all the best to you two.

The short answer to your question is simple: yes, you absolutely can get pregnant before, during, or immediately after your period.

The longer answer is a bit more complicated, but is two fold:

Firstly, a woman's menstrual cycle is about 28-32 days in total, with some women always having longer or shorter cycles and some women occasionally having shorter or longer cycles. There is a fertile window during this cycle during which pregnancy is possible because an egg is released in a process called ovulation. Typically this is around a week and a half to two weeks after a woman completes a cycle (has her period).

The egg released will only survive for about 12-24 hours before it becomes unable to be fertilized and is then moved to the uterine lining to be shed during the next period.

Now earlier I said that typically this happens a 1.5-2 weeks into a woman's cycle, the human body isn't always precise or 100% accurate 100% of the time. It's entirely possible to ovulate earlier or later than usual by fluke or by a few other "oopsies" the ovaries sometimes are guilty of, so while the probability of this happening is very low, it's still in the realm of possibilities. If eggs only survive for a day, there's not much risk is there?

Not so fast.

The second reason that makes for pregnancies during atypical times of the menstrual cycle is that sperm can live inside the vaginal canal for three to five days before they die off. This means that if your boyfriend ejaculates inside of you there's a three to five day window where you can still get pregnant even if there was no egg present at time of ejaculation.

Knowing these two things, it means that without a way to know for sure that an egg both isn't present and won't be present for at least five days (there aren't any) there is a biological possibility that you may become pregnant even during the times around your period.  The percentage chance is not very high, but it isn't zero.

Sorry to disappoint,

Have A Question Of Your Own?

If you yourself have any questions relating to human reproductive biology, or just a general sex/sexuality question, don't hesitate to contact me directly using the email form on the Ask Angela page that can be found here:

There's no question too big or too small. If you want to know something, I'll fill you in.

About Angela Watson

I'm a sex therapist by day and a sex blogger by night. I love to crush the taboos surrounding sex toys and help people become more sexually liberated. There's no topic too risqué for me to cover and I hope to educate and inform my readers on all things sex. All things that concern the female anatomy or require a more clinical approach than my husband Don can provide is covered by me. Have any questions? You can contact me via email.

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