Once and for all: Can you really get pregnant while you have your period?

The short answer is yes. Yes, you can.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

As Dr Alyssa Dweck, author of The Complete A-Z For Your Vrecently explained to Hello Giggles, the chances of getting pregnant while you have your period are low, but it really depends on your own cycle.

“Not all vaginal bleeding is your period,” Dr Dweck explained. “If you’re on your period and your uterine lining is shedding the answer is you’re not going to get pregnant.”

“However, there are so many nuances to this because some women have irregular periods,” she continues. “They may not realise they have the potential for getting pregnant.”

Dr Dweck said there were a range of factors – including birth control, hormonal imbalances, thyroid irregularity and vaginal infections – which could cause women to bleed even when they’re not menstruating.

pregnant period
“Not all vaginal bleeding is your period." Image via Universal Pictures.

For example, many women spot when they're ovulating, or throughout their cycle when they're using hormonal IUDs.

The take-away? If you're bleeding it might not actually be your period, so your chances of getting pregnant increase.

If you're not looking to fall pregnant in the near future, Dr Dweck recommends getting to know your own body and your regular cycle, and using a reliable form of contraception every time you have sex.

“It’s really helpful to get to know your own cycle,” she said. “If you have your period every 28 days you can predict exactly when you’re ovulating.”

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“But if you’re someone with really erratic bleeding, you can’t really know if you’re bleeding is due to an egg not being fertilised or something else,” Dr. Dweck instructs. “It might be unsafe to have sex during that time."

Have you ever experienced spotting throughout your cycle?