Pregnancy & Periods: Truth vs. Myth

You’re on your monthly period, so falling pregnant is highly unlikely right? Wrong. When it comes to menstruation and pregnancy, there are many misconceptions. And, if you follow them blindly, you may harm your health. We separate myth from fact.

Myth #1: Your period protects you from pregnancy

Ovulation is when you release an egg each month. During this process you may bleed and confuse it with your monthly period. You’re at your peak fertility in ovulation, so if you have unprotected sex during this time, you’re more likely to fall pregnant. A male’s sperm can live inside a woman for up to 72 hours after ejaculation. Towards the end of your period, your chances of falling pregnant may increase, so if you have sex during this period and sperm is still inside you, you could fall pregnant.

Myth #2: You shouldn’t have sex while you’re pregnant

Sex cannot physically harm your baby. The baby is fully protected by your strong uterine muscles and an amniotic sack. A thick mucus plug also seals your cervix. Contractions from an orgasm are completely different to the ones in labour and will not induce early birth. If you’re worried, check with your doctor. He will advise whether it is necessary for you to avoid sex while pregnant.

Myth #3: Your cycle is always supposed to be every 28 days

The average menstrual cycle is usually 28 days long, but can range from 21 to 35 days. To figure out the first day of your next period, start counting from the first day of your next period and end it on the first day of the following one. A regular cycle is a sign of good health, but often, stress can delay or bring on your period early. If you’re always irregular, speak to your doctor. You may have a hormonal imbalance or other health problem.

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Myth #4: You get your period to cleanse your reproductive system

Your period marks the end of a process where your body grows a lining of uterine tissue to prepare your body in case you are impregnated. Once your body realises that your eggs haven’t been fertilised with sperm, the lining is unnecessary. Your hormone levels, which help grow the tissue, then drop and your body sheds the tissue as your period.

Good to know

  • Always use a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs, whether you’re on your period or not.
  • If you have a short period cycle, you won’t have the same amount of time between having your period and ovulating.
  • If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and haven’t been successful after having unprotected sex for more than a year, speak to your doctor.