Myth busted: A woman can’t get pregnant during her period


We’ve often heard that a woman having intercourse during her period cannot become pregnant  but is it actually possible?

Most women have their period, lasting 2 to 8 days between every 26 to 34 days of their monthly cycle. Women generally ovulate (release an egg) on day 14 of their cycle. Some women experience breakthrough of spotting or bleeding between periods and this occurs during the ovulatory stage. However, women mistakenly perceive this bleeding to be their period which makes it difficult to identify their current stage in the menstrual cycle.

According to our experts at House Call Doctor, a male sperm can stay alive in the body for up to 3 to 5 days before encountering an egg and entering the uterine wall.

Theoretically, if a woman has unprotected intercourse on the final days of her period, she’s potentially at risk of becoming pregnant, as the sperm may still be well alive and active by the time she ovulates.

Symptoms of pregnancy

If you had unprotected sex during your period and are concerned whether or not you may be pregnant, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Mild lower abdominal cramping
  • Spotting (implantation spotting)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Moodiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Headaches and back pain
  • Dizziness and fainting.

These symptoms can occur as early as two weeks after ovulation.

The more common pregnancy symptoms to look out for will become obvious within 6 to 7 weeks of pregnancy, including:

  • Nausea (morning sickness)
  • Vomiting
  • Severe Fatigue.

You can’t rely on having intercourse during your period to avoid pregnancy. If you don’t want to fall pregnant, ensure you are on contraceptives. The options are many and varied so make sure you speak to a GP about the best option for you.