Also Known As, When It's Safe to Have Sex and Not Get Pregnant
Do Women Ovulate Before their Periods?
Ovulation, or the process where a mature egg is released from the ovary to prepare for implantation and pregnancy, is a regular occurrence during your menstrual cycle. Most women ovulate once per cycle (about every 28 days, with some variability), and your body alternates which ovary gives eggs. This typically happens a couple weeks before your period if you have a regular, 28-day cycle. However, the egg will spend about a week traveling through your fallopian tubes before finding your womb and implanting itself in your endometrial lining (the layer that is shed when you have your period). In other words, you do ovulate before your period, but it typically happens a couple weeks to ten days before.
Things to know about Ovulation, your Period and Women
Whether you are in a place where you are sexually inactive, you are trying for children, or you are active and busy googling "get pregnant while on period," it is smart to learn about your body and how it gets pregnant. If you want to understand exactly when you are ovulating in your cycle, there are a number of ways to tell. You can take your basal temperature every morning and use the charted numbers to understand when you ovulate. You can also use test sticks similar to pregnancy tests. If you do this over a series of months, you can get an idea if you regularly ovulate on day 14, if you bounce all over the place or if you have a different ovulation day. From there, you can also tell whether you typically have ten days or more between ovulation and when it's time to break out your first tampon, or if it's a shorter cycle. Those with later ovulation days are more likely to have pregnancy risks during their period.
Track Your Period
At Kali, we're loving our newly downloaded Period Tracker. P Tracker Lite is the app of choice in our camp because it's easy to see when you are most fertile and add notes (like Intimate today, Him on Top, Unprotected...or whatever...). This is a great way to either naturally avoid pregnancy or actively try to get pregnant because it tells you when you're ovulating and which days in your cycle you could get pregnant. (It's also great for gyno appointments when they ask you, "So what was the first day of your last period...?")
There's No Such Thing as 100% Guaranteed
No matter how well you understand your period, there is no sure way to guarantee that you will or will not get pregnant. Even if you know for certain the day that you ovulated, there are occasions when both of your ovaries may ovulate, or one of your ovaries may ovulate twice (this is how fraternal twins are made). This means that there is no point in your cycle that is 100% guaranteed baby-proof every month. The rhythm method and its scientifically updated cousin, basal temperature tracking may work for some, but there are plenty of people who have too variable a cycle to know for sure.
So, the Verdict on Sex During Your Period?
It's never a good idea to have unprotected sex if you're not trying to start a family or if you haven't surgically sterilized one or both of you. If you have your period after sex, then it is likely you are not pregnant, but it may not be certain until your next missed period. Protection and a pregnancy test to eliminate your worries are always good things to keep on hand.