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

Teens > Q&A > Birth Control, Pregnancy & STDs > Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period?
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*

Yes. 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 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. Girls who are ovulating sometimes have some vaginal bleeding that can be mistaken for a period.
  • Sometimes ovulation can happen before the bleeding from a girl's period has stopped or within a few days after her period is over. All girls can ovulate at different points from cycle to cycle, making it impossible for a girl to know exactly when she is most fertile. Because sperm can fertilize an egg for 72 hours (3 days) after ejaculation, having sex during a girl's period is risky.

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

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, RN
Date reviewed: January 2013

* Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Related Articles
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.