Table of contents:
- Because it is possible to get pregnant in a short or irregular cycle
- What are the chances of getting pregnant before or after menstruation
- How to avoid pregnancy
Although it is rare, it is possible to get pregnant when you are menstruating and having unprotected intercourse, especially when you have an irregular menstrual cycle or when your cycle is less than 28 days old.
In a regular cycle of 28 or 30 days these chances are almost nil because, after the end of the menstrual period, there are still between 5 to 7 days left until ovulation happens, and the sperm survive, at most, 5 days inside of the woman's body, not having enough time to contact the released egg. Furthermore, even if fertilization took place, the uterus would no longer be properly prepared to receive the fertilized egg and, therefore, the chances of getting pregnant would still be low.
Still, if unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred, the best way to confirm if you are pregnant or not is to take a drug test, which should be done from the first day of your missed period. Learn more about this type of test and how it's done.
Because it is possible to get pregnant in a short or irregular cycle
Contrary to what happens in a regular cycle of 28 or 30 days, ovulation of a shorter or irregular cycle can happen up to 5 days after the end of menstruation and, therefore, there is a greater chance of some sperm, who has survived, manages to reach the egg, generating a pregnancy.
So, ideally, women who have a short or irregular cycle should always use a method of contraception if they are not trying to conceive, even during menstruation.
What are the chances of getting pregnant before or after menstruation
The chances of getting pregnant are greater the later the unprotected intercourse occurs and, therefore, it is easier to get pregnant after menstruation. This is because intercourse takes place closer to ovulation and, thus, sperm can survive long enough to fertilize the egg.
On the other hand, if intimate contact happens immediately before the menstrual period, the chances are also almost nil, being even lower than what happens when the woman is menstruating.
How to avoid pregnancy
The safest way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is to use a contraceptive method, the most effective being:
- Male or female condom;
- Contraceptive pill;
- Injectable contraceptive.
The couple should select the method that best suits their needs and maintain its use as long as they do not wish to become pregnant, even during menstruation. See a more complete list of contraceptive methods available and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.