Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period 2692

Generally, your period arriving is a pretty solid indication you aren’t pregnant, but generally is not always. Bleeding during pregnancy which can be mistaken for a period while pregnant is possible– most especially in the first cycle after conception. How?

period while pregnant possibleNote: This article covers bleeding that looks like a period while pregnant in very early pregnancy, typically before pregnancy is confirmed. You can find more causes of bleeding during pregnancy in the first trimester here and the second and third trimester here.

Conception that occurs close to menstruation or low progesterone levels may cause what looks like a period while pregnant.

Conception may not occur until mere days before your period is due if you have a short menstrual cycle or don’t ovulate mid-cycle.

For example, let’s say you’re regularly maintaining a 26-day cycle. Chances are you’ll ovulate around day 13. Even if you had unprotected sex on that day and sperm found egg later that day, it would still take the fertilized egg six to twelve days to reach and implant in your uterine lining. By this timeline, your body wouldn’t know to continue producing the hormone progesterone that ceases menstruation until somewhere between day 20 to 25 of your cycle. This could leave as little as one day between conception and menstruation. If those hormone levels are insufficient, such as in a situation of low progesterone from luteal phase defect or had already begun to fall, you could have what seems like a lighter than usual period while pregnant or even one that seems entirely normal and wouldn’t think you missed a period until you were already around eight weeks pregnant.

This type of bleeding is often referred to as “break through bleeding,” and is the most common type of bleeding mistaken for a period while pregnant. Break through bleeding is usually seen during the first cycle after conception, and may continue in the first trimester. It’s important to note in this case that any bleeding following the first bleed would not occur in a timely, predictable manner like a period. It would be sporadic bleeding that will vary in flow. Multiple timely periods, whether irregular/light for you or not, are very unlikely to be pregnancy bleeding.

As this can be indicative of low progesterone, it should be evaluated by a doctor, in fact, any bleeding during pregnancy should.  It should also be noted that even if there is bleeding when your period is due, if you are pregnant, ovulation will not occur again. This type of bleeding is not a true period while pregnant. You cannot have what is technically referred to as a period while pregnant, because your uterine lining is not entirely shed along with the egg or your baby would be lost. Basal body temping can be a great way to catch such a situation, because a rise in temperature confirms ovulation and prolonged high temps for 16 days can be a way to confirm you’re pregnant, period-like bleeding or not.

Implantation bleeding may be mistaken for a period while pregnant.

 Many women also mistake implantation bleeding for a period while pregnant. If you followed the same example above, and usually had a light period, and you had spotting on day 23, you may think that spotting was your period simply a day or two early. Implantation bleeding varies from woman to woman, but a heavy flow is almost never implantation bleeding. You can read a full article on telling the difference between implantation and your period here.

 Sporadic bleeding during pregnancy may be mistaken for a period while pregnant.

Finally, numerous other causes can result in bleeding during pregnancy. I personally have known quite a few women who experienced sporadic bleeding for the first several months of their pregnancy that they mistook for a period while pregnant. Some examples of causes of bleeding during pregnancy that may be mistaken for a period while pregnant include cervical changes, sex,  placenta problems, carrying multiples, and infection. You can read about these in more detail in the posts link at the beginning of this article for bleeding during a confirmed pregnancy. In some cases, no reason is found and nothing is abnormal or wrong at all.

It’s important to understand that bleeding doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t pregnant, but then it’s usually a pretty good indication that you aren’t. Pay attention to your body, trust your instinct, and when in doubt, act pregnant until you’re sure you aren’t.

Wondering how common bleeding in pregnancy is according to research? Likely outcomes? Risk factors? We’ve got you covered: Information on Bleeding during Pregnancy. If you experienced bleeding during your pregnancy, we also would love to hear your story. We have a page set up for them here.


The extensive comment base as to whether a period while pregnant is possible led to the writing of its sister articles, “Missed Period Negative Pregnancy Test Explanation” , “Late period, missed period, irregular period, Oh, Why!?,” “When to Take a Pregnancy Test,” and “Am I Pregnant? Calculating Your Chances of Pregnancy” which offer other explanations for irregular bleeding or missed periods in-depth and may help you assess whether or not you could be pregnant.

I do my best to respond to comments within 24 hours. All comments are moderated. I do reply to each and every one as I approve them. Please remember though, I am not a doctor nor a replacement for medical care. I can’t tell you if you are or are not pregnant over the Internet.  I can’t diagnose you over the Internet either. I do have a medical background (medical assisting) and am a mother of four who struggled with infertility as well as multiple miscarriages. However, I am not a doctor nor claim to be one.

Even more from Life with Gremlins:
Early Signs of Pregnancy Quiz
When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
Period Blood Colors and Textures Explained
Brown Discharge Before a Period Explained

In an effort to slay the spam monster and ensure no comment is left unread, your comments are moderated and won't appear until approved. Sorry about that, and thanks for reading!

2,692 thoughts on “Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period

  • Pak Yu

    i experienced having a menstruation twice in a month last May for the first time. May 10-19 in my normal period flow. then followed by another period from May 26-30 with big blood clots. the flows were accompanied by clots for almost 4 days. was that normal? now had my normal period June 13-18. please help.thank you

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Frequent periods like this are almost always hormonal and usually mean you aren’t ovulating. A one-off short cycle isn’t cause for concern, but if you begin to see a pattern of them it’s a good idea to see your care provider and seek out the underlying imbalance.

  • Alex

    So me and my bf recently had sex unprotected and he came in me and it was 2 days after I ovulated and that was about a week ago and yesterday I started lightly bleeding (which is unusual cause my periods are usually heavy) and I’m not suppose to start till The next day. What does this mean?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It could just be some pre-period spotting, as if you are 100% sure you ovulated 2 days prior to the intercourse, the chances of pregnancy are actually low. The half life of an egg after ovulation is 12 hours, meaning at the 12 hour mark half of all eggs are no longer viable. It’s not impossible for one to make 48 hours, it’s just a far lower chance. If you didn’t confirm ovulation (such as by bbt tracking) it could be break through bleeding or even implantation. In which case you’d want to take a pregnancy test in a few days if your period doens’t actually start.

  • Channy

    MY last period was may 12 my boyfriend and i had unprotected sex on the 24th of may and came in me and I gotten my period on the 9th of June is it too soon for me to be on my period again….or is it just my regular period ?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Unfortunately it could be an early period or it could be early pregnancy bleeding, and nothing in your comment really leans things one way or the other. Sex mid-cycle like this runs around a 25% chance of pregnancy.

  • Neva

    Hi I just recently found out that I am pregnant…7 weeks to be exact but I started bleeding today. Looking at my menstruation tracker, today is a day I’m supposed to start my regular period. And because I have a 21 day cycle this the second one since I supposedly conceived. I’ve taken 5 pregnancy tests and had blood work done. All say I’m pregnant so why am I still bleeding according to my regular schedule?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      A blood test is definitive, so you are definitely or were pregnant. Have you retested since the second bleed? I’m afraid it is possible you miscarried. If you have tested and are still pregnant, was the first bleed in-line with your period as well and are you sure of your conception date? The cycle of hormones that causes a period is stopped during pregnancy. With short cycles like this where there was probably already some underlying hormonal issues early pregnancy bleeding would be more likely, but shouldn’t be rhythmic like a period. Either way any bleeding should be discussed with your care provider. Fingers crossed for you.

  • Anonymous

    Hi I had a question, my girlfriends cycle usually lasts around 32 days give or take a day or 2 but anyway her period lasted 3 days and I fingered her 3 days after it ended which would’ve been day 6 or June 5th of her cycle ik know I washed my hands before but just in case I touched myself before what are the odds she could be pregnant also I believe her fertile time doesn’t start until June 15th. I’ve heard you can pregnant before your fertile time as well as you can’t and I’ve also heard precum can and can’t get you pregnant and that was the only risk can you please help

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      To become pregnant from fingering there would have to be precum or semen on your fingers (fresh, not from hours before), and even then the chances would be quite low unless the semen was copious. The only way to become pregnant while not in a “fertile time” based on cycle length is to have ovulation occur outside it’s normal time frame. If your gf’s cycle is regular, that’s unlikely. Hope that helps.

      • Anonymous

        Ik her cm during that time and now is the dry sticky type which I’ve heard isn’t fertile and with the precum I don’t remember there being any visible, I wouldn’t knowingly do that if i saw it on my hand and if there was ik i touched blankets and stuff before hand but kind of a just in case scenario but do you think she could be pregnant

  • Anonymous

    Hi I was curious the other day me and my gf were fooling around it was day 6 of her cycle and her period ended a couple days before but I am wondering could she get pregnant if I had pre cum on my hand I know I washed my hands before but idk if I touched myself again but I’m pretty sure my hands were dry. I’m curious of the odds and her ovulation day isn’t due for another week or two thanks

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      There’s no chance of pregnancy if the incident was more than 5 days from ovulation, but even had she been fertile the chances of pregnancy from precum on hands is astronomically low. Keep in mind that the chances of pregnancy with precum with full vaginal intercourse is less than 4 percent, so as you can imagine in your scenario it would be much, much lower.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much my sex Ed was terrible and I didn’t learn anything useful when it comes to these scenarios you’re a big help

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          You’re welcome, and I’m sorry your class wasn’t very helpful. They weren’t when I was in school either, it’s a shame.

  • Joanna

    Hi! My period came on 4/23 and 5/20, my husband and I have been TTC for years now, he have a low sperm count and I have fibroids, after my 5/20 period, l’v e been spotting with light cramp, also my breast got tender on my 4th day of my period which was supposed to be my last day, I don’t want to get to excited, but hope it not a serious problem

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Fibroid themselves can sometimes cause spotting, but if you’ve had them a while and that’s not common for you, I’d consider it at the least a sign something changed. It’s not really possible to say if that change was just hormonal or related to pregnancy beyond the wait and see approach I’m afraid. Fingers crossed for you, sorry I can’t be of more help.