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Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period?

Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?
Jamie*

A lot of people think that if a girl has sex during her period, she can't get pregnant. But it is possible for a girl to get pregnant while she is bleeding. This can happen for a couple of reasons:

  • Not all vaginal bleeding is the result of a menstrual period. Sometimes a girl will have a small amount of vaginal bleeding at the time of ovulation — the time when she is most fertile. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down a fallopian tube to the uterus. Girls who are ovulating sometimes have some vaginal bleeding that can be mistaken for a period.
  • Sometimes ovulation can occur before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped or within a few days after her period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for several days after ejaculation. So in both cases, having sex during a girl's period can result in pregnancy.

Having unprotected sex at any time is very risky. Along with the chance of becoming pregnant, there is also the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only surefire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against STDs. And talk to your doctor about additional forms of contraception.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: November 2009

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