Women who are planning to get pregnant should know how long their menstrual cycle is. By identifying your fertile window, you would understand when you could or could not get pregnant.
Throughout your cycle, your likelihood of getting pregnant rises and falls so you could get pregnant while on your period. While there is a common myth that a woman could not conceive during her period, the nature of your fertility cycle and the length that the sperm stays inside a woman's body after ejaculation could give you the double red line.
Menstrual cycles vary every time
Menstrual cycles last between 21 and 45 days, and you have to take note that no two cycles are the same. Many people think that the average cycle is 28 days, but the first FDA cleared birth control app, Natural Cycles, found that only 13 percent of the 124,648 subjects studied had a 28-day cycle.
Yale School of Medicine and expert on potential contraceptive solutions, Mary Jane Minkin, MD, said that apart from varying from woman to woman, menstrual cycles also differ in length even though many women tend to keep a stable cycle.
The first day of your period is the start of your cycle, and you would ovulate in the middle, which is on the 12th to 14th day. You may ovulate on day seven if you have a shorter cycle, but you could also ovulate on day 21.
Your body releases follicle-stimulating hormone on day 1 to stimulate the release of an egg. Your ovaries will make estrogen to build up the lining of the uterus, then start producing progesterone in preparation for the fertilized egg.
If you do not conceive, your ovaries will stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and you will shed the lining of the uterus, making you bleed.
Sperm survives for days inside a woman
Natural Cycles Medical Expert, Dr. Jack Pearson, said that even though women could not conceive while on their period, sperm can stay alive in the woman's body for up to five days. Some women could get pregnant when having sex on their period if they do not use protection because the sperm could fertilize the egg in the next cycle.
If you have a short cycle, you could get pregnant when you have unprotected sex at the end of your period. Dr. Minkin said that the probability of you getting pregnant is low during the first two days of your period, but you should use contraceptives by the end of your period.
Read also: Kegel Exercises: Improve Your Sexual Health
Although the chance of you conceiving during your period is slim, there is still a possibility of it happening. Sperm can survive for days after having sex, and it may fertilize the egg from your next cycle, so you should make sure to use contraceptives when you have no plans for a baby.
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