Women can get pregnant during menstruation – Gynaecologists

17th April 2023


By Angela Onwuzoo

The popular myth that women cannot get pregnant while menstruating has been debunked by maternal health experts.

The gynaecologists said though it was uncommon, it could happen, especially among women that naturally have short menstrual cycle.

Many people have always believed in the popular fertility myth that a woman cannot get pregnant especially when she is on her period.

Aside from that, most view engaging in sexual intercourse during the time as a taboo or messy, and would rather not give it a thought.

However, speaking exclusively with PUNCH Healthwise, the experts said it was possible for a woman who indulges in unprotected sex to get pregnant while on her period.

According to them, it’s important for women to understand their menstrual circle and how to avoid unplanned pregnancies, pointing out that sperm can sometimes survive in the body for up to five days after sexual intercourse.

The physicians also said a woman might get pregnant soon after her period is over if she has a short menstrual cycle and ovulates early.

A Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Solomon Avidime, told our correspondent that while pregnancy might remotely occur during the monthly period, ovulation, however, does not occur during the period.

He said, “Keep in mind that whilst you can’t technically ovulate while on a period. Sperm can live in the body for three to five days after sex and pregnancy could occur from intercourse that takes place during a period.

“It is remotely possible for a woman to get pregnant during her monthly period if she engages in sexual intercourse.

“This is especially common among women that have shorter cycles like 21 days or less.”

Prof. Avidime also said women experiencing irregular ovulation could still get pregnant.

“Women with irregular ovulation can still get pregnant. However, women with irregular ovulation can have infertility challenges due to an alteration in the pathway for normal reproduction”, he added.

According to an online portal, American Pregnancy, menstruation or a period is the bleeding that occurs when the endometrium is shed 12 to 16 days after ovulation.

It noted that with this definition of a period, one cannot ovulate while on a period.

However, it noted that some women experience mid-cycle or ovulatory bleeding (bleeding that occurs around ovulation) and might mistake it for a period.

“This can happen to women with very irregular cycles coming once every three months or two to three times in one month.

“Mid-cycle bleeding can occur in women with regular cycles as well. They may experience what appears to be a period, but, in reality, this is most likely ovulatory bleeding. Ovulation can occur when you experience mid-cycle or ovulatory bleeding,” the site stated.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, most women experience a 28-day menstrual cycle.

“This cycle lasts from the first day of menstrual bleeding to the day before bleeding begins the following month.

“The length of the cycle varies between individuals, but is usually between 26 and 32 days long, with 28 days being the average.

“The most fertile time of the menstrual cycle is between days eight and 19,” ACOG said.

Speaking against this backdrop, a Consultant Gynaecologist and Fertility Expert, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, said while pregnancy was less likely in the earlier days of a woman’s period, the chances increase in the later days.


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