Can you get pregnant on your period? How likely is it?

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant during your period, although it is unlikely. You can get pregnant at any time during your menstrual cycle if you don’t use contraception, however, there are some days in your cycle when you are more fertile. This is when you are most likely to get pregnant.

Your menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period and goes up to the day before your next period. The average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days but this can vary widely from woman to woman. Anything from 21 to 40 days is normal.

Getting pregnant

Ovulation (when an egg is released from your ovaries) typically occurs 10-16 days before the start of your next period. This is when you are most fertile. An egg survives in the womb for about 24 hours. If sperm is present during this time fertilisation can occur.

Sperm can survive for up to seven days so if you have sex without contraception, it may be possible to get pregnant towards the end of your period if you ovulate early.

There is no safe time of the month to have unprotected sex if you are trying to avoid pregnancy. The best way to avoid getting pregnant is to use an effective method of contraception.

Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 12 August 2022