Trying to conceive can be a strange time for several reasons, but a big one of them is that it can turn things you’ve been hearing your whole life on their heads. Before deciding they want to become pregnant, many women put a lot of time and effort into avoiding it, and the subtext of that care not to become pregnant is that it can happen at any time–at any point in the month, under any circumstances, and despite birth control.
Wait… can you get pregnant on your period?
Then, when it comes time to actually try, it turns out there’s strategy involved, and even then, sometimes it doesn’t work – even after plotting out chemical and thermal peak conditions, and charting out the optimal days for intercourse!
So this doesn’t exactly jive with those ‘you can get pregnant at any time’ fears of yesteryear, does it?
So which is it? Can you get pregnant at any time, or are there parts of the month, like your period, when your body is shedding the lining of your uterus and the unfertilized egg from the month before, when your body just isn’t set up to host another human life?
The truth is that yes, you can get pregnant during your period. It’s just very unlikely.
Since sperm can live in your body for up to six days, if you’ve got an irregular ovulation cycle, it is possible for a particularly tenacious sperm to hang around in your reproductive tract long enough to meet the egg for your next cycle. That’s pretty rare, as it requires not just an irregular cycle, but an irregularly short one, but it is still possible. It’s also possible to have spotting between periods that can be mistaken for a period, which can happen during ovulation.
The bottom line? Sex during your period isn’t an effective birth control method, but it’s also not a very effective method for trying to conceive.