Chances of Pregnancy Before, During and After Periods

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A young woman with a pregnancy test in her hand

Pregnancy and the birth of a baby can prompt varying reactions in people, ranging from joy and anticipation to horror and fear. This is mostly dependant on the timing, To a woman who is secure in her career and her relationship, a baby may be the icing on the cake. For a woman in her early twenties and has just about started her career, pregnancy might be an inconvenient long-term responsibility. So, depending on what you want – how does one get pregnant?

How does Pregnancy (Conception) Occur?

Conception and pregnancy happen when a mobile sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell. To do this the sperm cell must swim up from the vagina and into the uterus via the cervix. The egg cell, in turn, has to be fertilized as it travels from the ovary to the uterus via the fallopian tube.

Conception can happen at any time from a few hours of intercourse to 5-7 days after sex. The fastest swimming sperm may zero in on the egg in just 45 minutes while slower swimmers may take up to 12 hours to navigate the same journey. Sperm cells can take a break for upto 7 days in the hospitable environment of the fallopian tube and still do their primary job of fertilizing the ovum. This happens if ovulation happens 7 days after sex. This means that if at any time in this window of opportunity an egg is released, the sperm has a chance of fertilizing it.

So, we can see that in the action of conception there are various markers that have to be met:

  • There must be a mobile sperm
  • There must be a viable egg
  • They must meet at some time
  • This is most probable if when the sperm reaches the uterus, it meets with a viable egg.
  • This is logically most probable if sex happens when there is a viable egg in the uterus

The time when the uterus hosts a viable egg is called ovulation. This time window around ovulation is thus a time when conception is most possible.

Chances of Getting Pregnant Before Your Period

A fertility chart

Can you get pregnant right before your period? For the sake of this question let us assume that this refers to the week leading up to the period. In this scenario we also need to assume that the woman in question is aware of her period cycle.

In that case, unless she is ovulating in that week, it is highly unlikely that sex that takes place during that week will lead to conception. Typically, a woman’s most fertile period to get pregnant is the period lasting from five days before her ovulation to ovulation itself. Unless this time matches with the week before her period, fertilization cannot happen. The rare cases where this can happen are when a woman has a very short cycle of about 19-22 days, where it is possible that sex before periods can cause pregnancy.

If you are trying to get pregnant and are wondering “can I get pregnant after ovulation but before my period?” Yes, you can, the chances are low, but not impossible.

Chances of Getting Pregnant during Your Period

Is it possible to get pregnant during period? Well, this all depends on the woman, the length of her period, its regularity and the time of her ovulation.

Can you get pregnant during menstruation and is sex during period pregnancy risk? Yes, if you

  • regularly have a period,
  • If your period lasts for up to 5 -7 days
  • If your time between cycles is short (approximately 20 – 23 days)
  • If you ovulate at around the 10-12 day of your cycle

In all these situations, the sperm that has entered your body during sex while having a period can fertilize an egg and you can get pregnant.

Chances of Getting Pregnant After Your Period

What are the chances for sex for pregnancy after periods and can I get pregnant 3 days after my period ends?

You can and in fact the fertile days after period are around 3 – 5 days after the end of the period. Regular sex, on alternate days or every day is recommended. This should be continued till a few days after the halfway mark of the period. For example, if the halfway mark is 14, 6 days before and 4 days after are considered id

Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle

A menstrual cycle chart

Most women have a cycle of between 28-32 days, other women have cycles much shorter or longer than this average.

Understanding the ovulation period for pregnancy is important. It is measured near the halfway mark of the length of the period and is counted for a 28-day period. Normally this is between day 10 and 15. During this period cycle pregnancy is most likely to happen. Ovulation is the fertile time of the cycle and sex during ovulation increases chances of conception. Menstrual cycle pregnancy chances are higher during the 5 days that lead up to day 10 and continue onto day 16 – 21. Ovulation can generally be gauged by a difference in vaginal secretions which resemble egg whites. Basal temperatures are also higher at this time.

Chances of Getting Pregnant

What are the factors that affect your odds of getting pregnant? How can you make the odds better or alternatively, make sure that conception does not happen?

1. Maternal Age

The chance of getting pregnant which are around 15 – 25% in your 20s goes down in your 30s and become much lower in your 40s. So, if you really want a good shot at carrying, start early.

2. Having Regular Periods

Menstrual periods which come at irregular intervals make it very difficult to predict the time of ovulation and thus also the right time to have sex for conception.

3. Too Much Sex or Too Little

Frequency of having sex is obviously important but strangely enough, sex every day may be less effective than on alternate days. Giving men recovery time as well as making the act seem like less of a mechanical necessity or chore.

4. Timing Of Seeking Medical Attention

If a couple has been having regular sex for up to a year without conceiving, it is time to see a medical professional and ruling out sexual health issues.

5. Ruling Out Other Medical Conditions

Any illness or medical condition which either partner is suffering from will affect conception.

Misconceptions of Pregnancy during Your Period

Many myths and misconceptions surround the act of conception and its relation to a period. Let us clarify some of them:

1. It Is Not Possible To Conceive Right After Your Period

The most common misconception is that sex just before or right after your period cannot result in conception. As we read earlier, it is all about the individual’s cycle and being able to predict the approximate time of ovulation. This might be right after a period if bleeding last for 5 -7 days.

2. Sex Every Day Is Better For Conception

The myth that more sex is equal to better chances of conception is not correct. While regular sex obviously gives people better odds of conceiving, as with everything in life, quality is better than quantity. One sperm is enough to ensure conception and each ejaculation contains thousands of sperm cells. Then it is not the number of times that sex occurs, it is the quality of sperm – their mobility and the health of their DNA is what affects conception. Even 1 ejaculation is enough to conceive if it is

  • timed right at the time of ovulation
  • the individual sperm cells are healthy swimmers

3. Previous STDs Do Not Impact The Chances Of Conceiving

The damage to sexual organs from previous sexually transmitted diseases can seriously impact fertility. Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhoea can adversely affect the fertility of both men and women. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID is a particularly serious condition and can permanently damage the uterus and the fallopian tubes.

4. Some Sexual Positions Are Better Than Others For Conceiving

Since it is very difficult to gather data on sexual positions and their relation to conception, it is a matter that is left to comfort and individual preference.

5. The Woman’s Orgasm Has No Effect On Conception

A woman’s orgasm during ejaculative sex, is according to many experts, a very good thing, With the rhythmic contractions of the vaginal muscles, the uterus assists the sperm’s journey to the egg. It also increases the blood supply and hormone secretion in that area to increase the chances of a successful conception.

6. Fertility Does Not Depend On The Age Of The Couple

The prime reproductive age of humans has been found to be the 20s to the 30s. There is a fall in fertility after the age of 35 and a sharp fall after that. After this, the chances of a healthy unassisted pregnancy without complications such as miscarriage and genetic abnormalities are quite low in the 40s. This is true for both men and women.

Signs of a Successful Conception

A positive pregnancy test

The signs of a successful conception are often missed. Sometimes all the signs of a successful conception may elude the attention of the woman. Other times a woman with irregular periods may not notice that she is pregnant till late in her pregnancy. This is because the signs of pregnancy vary so much in each individual pregnancy. The most common signs are:

All these signs appear at varying times and in some cases not all. Hence, the pregnancy needs to be confirmed with pregnancy tests – either OTC or lab tests, and a medical examination.

Some Common Mistakes to Avoid while Trying to Get Pregnant

1. Timing

Timing sex at the wrong time is the first mistake people do. If they calculate the time of ovulation right and plan regular sex in the time leading up to and after ovulation they have better chances of succeeding.

2. Not Seeing The Doctor Early Enough

A couple who have been having regular sex, every 2 -3 days for a year and have not conceived should plan to see a doctor. A test may be needed for both the partners for any sexual health as well as general health issues.

3. Seeing The Doctor Too Soon

It is normal to take up to a year to achieve successful conception. Seeing the doctor within 6 – 8 months of regular sex generally means that a couple are worrying too much about conception. This worry can, in turn, affect conception.

4. Unhealthy Habits

Drinking, smoking, doing drugs, excessive exercising and workaholism are all unhealthy habits that can impact your health, fertility and sexual health. They can impact the health of your sperm, egg, and reduce your chances of conceiving.

5. Using Sexual Lubricants

Not all sexual lubricants are sperm friendly so using a lubricant that does not contain a spermicide is good. It may also not hurt to check out lubricants which simulate the natural features of the vagina during ovulation. This might help the sperm to stay alive and lurk in the fallopian tubes.

6. Having Sex Everyday

Sex everyday may lead to:

  • decrease in sperm count
  • Turn sex into a chore
  • put more pressure on the partners

7. Not Checking The Man’s Sexual Health

Automatically assuming that the problem is with the woman is a mistake. 40% of fertility problems are because of the male. Testing both partners is integral to correct identification of sexual health problems and eradicating them so that successful conception can occur.

8. Trying Very Late In Life

The difference in fertility goes down by almost 50 % from the age of 20s to your 40s. If you really want a child, it is better to try while you have better chances of success.

Depending on whether a couple wants to plan a baby or not, there are many factors that one must consider before having sex. Most people have many misconceptions on how ovulation works which can cause unwanted pregnancy or leave couples frustrated.

Also Read:

Chances of Getting Pregnant on Birth Control
Pregnancy after Abortion
Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant

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