Can I get pregnant when I’m having my period?
Yes. Since sperm can live in the vaginal opening for up to 5 days after sex, if you have unprotected sex during your period and you ovulate soon after your period, the sperm can fertilise the egg. And you get pregnant.
Can I ovulate right after my period?
It depends on how many days are in your cycle.
If you have a regular cycle – with 28 days from the start of one period to the start of the next – it is less likely that you will ovulate right after your period.
You may bleed up to the seventh day of your cycle, and we know ovulation usually starts 12-16 days before your next period. This means you ovulate between day 12 and 16 of your cycle
If you have an irregular cycle – lasting just 21 days or as long as 42 days – it’s more likely that you could ovulate soon after your period. For instance, in a 21 day cycle, you may stop bleeding at day 7 of your cycle, but you may ovulate between day 5 and day 9 of your cycle.
How can I work out when I'm going to ovulate
Well, it takes a bit of maths! You have to work backwards from when your period starts. The time you’re likely to ovulate lasts four days, between 16 and 12 days before the first day of your period.
If you have a period every 28 days, take 16 away from 28:
28 - 16 = 12
That means the four days you’re most likely to ovulate begin 12 days after your period starts. So your period starts on day 1, and you ovulate between day 12 and 16.
If you have a period every 21 days, take 16 away from 21:
21 - 16 = 5
Ovulation calculatorThat means the four days you’re likely to ovulate begin 5 days after your period starts. So your period starts on day 1, and you ovulate between day 5 and 9.
Puzzled? Try an online ovulation calculator!
How can I avoid getting pregnant?
Use a contraceptive! See the section on birth control. If you haven’t started your periods, use a condom. Contraceptives that use hormones, like the pill, might not work if you haven’t started your periods.
Can I get pregnant if I've never had a period?
Yes. Since a girl or woman releases an egg 12-16 days before her period starts, it’s possible for you to get pregnant the first time you ovulate, before you’ve had your first period.
Could I ovulate without having a period?
You could ovulate without having a period if:
- You’re body weight is very low
- You're breast-feeding
- You're coming up to the menopause