Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period 2512

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 pregnancy, 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 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.

Note: The extensive comment base on this article 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, so I reply to each and every one as I approve them, but please remember, I am not a doctor nor a replacement for medical care. I cannot tell you if you are or are not pregnant over the Internet, and I cannot 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, but 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!

2,512 thoughts on “Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period

  • Esther

    Did a blood test that was positive after missing my period for just a day but two days later I started seeing blood not too much but comes on and off for three days now. Can I still be pregnant

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      You could be, yes. About 1 in 4 women see bleeding in pregnancy. It’s, unfortunately, also possible it was an early loss. You would have to retest to confirm, depending on your hCG levels at the blood test, a urine test would probably be fine.

  • Brittany

    I had my last period on the 11th of last month. I Think I’m 5 weeks pregnant today I started bleeding not heavy. Just really bad cramps as if my period was on. I’m not really sure what to do. Started vomiting as well. So I made a doctors appointment for tomorrow. I haven’t took a pregnancy test since about a week or so.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Bleeding in early pregnancy is fairly common occurring in about 1 in 4 women. It is also possible it’s the start of a miscarriage, but not necessarily. Hopefully your doctor’s appointment brings good news. 🙂

  • Sage

    My husband is traveling for his job and is only home on the weekends right now and my surges happen on Friday and Saturday. (Used the Clearblue ovulation test) We’ve been trying over the weekend for the past 3 or 4 months and it’s not working. Would you recommend getting our fertility tested or wait for that until we can try during the week prior to the surges?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      A surge indicates you’ll ovulate within 24 hours or so, so any sex just before that surge or the day of is great timing wise. Generally, a fertility specialist won’t see you unless you’ve been trying a year, though you may find an exception. You could also consider just seeing your regular care provider for a hormone panel and general physical. The average couple tries about 6 months to conceive, so at 3-4 I wouldn’t worry yet personally.

  • July

    I had two heavy periods. But now it is 20 days late. I didnt have sexual intercourse but my boyfriend cum on me and fingered before i had 2 periods. I am so afraid that i might be pregnant?

  • bukeyzblog

    Hello. I got married and had sex few days to my menstrual period which supposed to be just 4 days after my wedding. It didn’t come until 15 days after the supposed day and when it came it lasted for just 2 days ( I’ve never experienced that before). Now I got confused on how to count my ovulation or safe periods to get pregnant. I’m in the second month now.. please can I be pregnant? I really want to be Although no sign of pregnancy at all

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sex so close to a period is unlikely to result in pregnancy. By second month, do you mean that you’ve had two periods since then? If so that unfortunately is more support for this not being pregnancy. The occasional late period is considered normal.

      • bukeyzblog

        I mean second month after marriage… I have not seen the second period… from my calculation, I should have the next period on 25th of this month.

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          If you missed a period, you might try a pregnancy test. 🙂 There are other reasons for a missed period, but pregnancy is a common one.

  • Liz

    I haven’t had a normal period since October 12 2017 i had sex October 26. I’ve been getting really really sick and in pain and have gained alot of weight even though i NOTHING stays down and i keep bleeding but not like a normal period . Since November The bleeding usually last a hour or so.i also have had two negative pee stick tests.i had blood work and had down there
    Examined along with my stomach and breasts this was done a month ago today. They won’t return my phone calls to give me my test results. should i stop worrying and assume I’m not pregnant.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I would visit the clinic to get your results in person. You paid for the testing, it’s unacceptable you’re currently still wondering because their support staff dropped the ball. The blood test would be definitive. With the irregular bleeding, weight gain, and nausea, something like PCOS is also a possibility. When you fail to ovulate, it messes up your entire hormone balance and can cause pregnancy-like symptoms.

  • K

    Suspected pregnancy this month and have had 3 positive hpts in last 2 weeks…only problem is I bled with cramping like my period for 8 days starting on day 25 of my cycle and spotted brown discharge for another week! Normal cycle is only 25 days and pregnancy only suspected around day 22 When low back/SI joint pain set in. Took hpt on day 25 just before spotting began with very faint positive. After bleeding subsided the back and joint pain did too along with some mild constipation I was having. Assumed I had early miscarriage and was surprised when hpt showed a stronger positive. Scheduled quant blood tests which were done yesterday and took another hpt the night before which had even stronger positive. Surely, quant will show I’m still pregnant even though nurse who did the draw was under the impression I was no longer pregnant due to bleeding. Am concerned about joint pain and constipation cessation and am wondering about low progesterone. Also, I am still breastfeeding and delivered first (and only) baby 5 weeks early. Is progesterone supplementation something to be considered in this scenario?

    • K

      Quant blood test came back at 7500 hcg (5 weeks 5 days lmp) and have second draw scheduled for tomorrow. They said they would also check progesterone at that time and follow up when results are in…bleeding in pregnancy is scary!!

      • Life with Gremlins admin

        Oh, see you were way ahead of me on the progesterone testing thought. 🙂 Sorry, I reply my comments in order so even a few hours can bury separate replies a bit. Wishing you good news and a care-free pregnancy.

        • K

          Thank you for your reply! I memtioned hcg level of 7500 in my previous comment, but it was actually 4376 and only went up to the 6300s in 48 hrs so they sent me for a scan yesterday where we saw little bean measuring right on time at 6w 1d and hbpm at 109. Never heard back on progesterone test…should I check back with my clinic or is it a moot point after seeing healthy pregnancy on u/s?

          • Life with Gremlins admin

            Ahh, I always love it when people facing a possible loss come back with such great news. I assume that your provider would have called you if your progesterone came back low, but no harm in calling to check since they already did the test. Congrats! Wishing you an easy pregnancy and delivery.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The nurse is wrong in assuming the bleeding means you’re no longer pregnant. It’s entirely possible you’re still pregnant, and the darkening tests are a great sign. As far as progesterone, breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee you’ll need it, no (though it would increase your risk of bleeding in pregnancy coincidentally). The best way to find out would be to have your progesterone levels checked if your serial hCG comes back with good news. Progesterone can have some side effects, so you want to be sure it’s something you need rather than just as a precaution.

  • TRBradley

    I am estimated to be 5.5 weeks pregnant. I have had spotting/bright red/brown bleeding going on 5 days. The bleeding is sporadic and the amount varies. I have no cramping or discomfort. How long can this last, when should I be concenered outside of normal emotional craziness with pregnancy? This is my 3rd pregnancy and first time with this issue. I have a negative blood type that caused 3rd trimester problems with my last pregnancy (she’s 6 now). Long story short, I’m little scared and worried. What are your thoughts? Thank you.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It’s possible this is just hormonal, but then it could also be the beginning of a loss unfortunately. I would contact your care provider since the bleeding is ongoing. Wishing a positive outcome your way.

    • TRBradley

      I had a miscarriage. I have an rH negative blood type and when I started spotting I should have gotten a rHogam shot. Unknowingly. Knowing your blood type and your spouse’s blood type is very important.

      • Life with Gremlins admin

        I’m sorry for your loss. Being your 3rd pregnancy, your care provider should have tested you for rH sensitivity right away. If you plan on future pregnancies, that may be something you want to have done. If you aren’t already sensitized, there is also a shot you may need to prevent complications in future pregnancies.

        • TRBradley

          Thank you. I was starting with a brand new provider who was unaware of my rH deficiency. The minute we get pregnant again I will get the rHogam shot. I was given on before I left the ED yesterday. I appreciate your responsiveness and I hope this post helps others be more aware of their blood type and their spouses. Being rH negative only affects 15% of the population, I read at least.

          • Life with Gremlins admin

            Yes, and it’s only a concern if the mother if rH- and the father is positive. It doesn’t matter if the father is rH- and the mother positive or if both are negative. It’s not a super common issue, so many care providers don’t think to ask at early appointments unfortunately. 🙁

  • Alyssa

    Hello! Last night I took a pregnancy test at home and got a positive result. I woke up to some light pink blood, so I took another test which still came back positive. The bleeding stopped but just began again with a light pink blood. Normally my period starts very heavy, so its definitely different symptoms than my normal period, but It’s thursday and I cant find an appointment! Do you have any thoughts/advice on what this may mean??

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Some light spotting in pregnancy can be entirely normal. If your test is still positive and the bleeding has stopped, you’re still pregnant.

  • Sandra

    Good morning madam my name is Sandra and this is my first experience to witness pregnant and on the way am still seeing my period and also am having west pain please how can i control it……

  • Christel

    Good morning pls I need a little clarification. Am 29yrs and been TTC for 3 months now. I had my last period on the 31 of January I had unprotected sex during my ovulation period . My period was supposed to be due on the 27th of Feb. But 2 days before my period came I started noticing spotting which lasted for 3days and stopped till yesterday nothing came I thought I was pregnant and was preparing for a pregnancy test already . But this morning upon getting up from bed I noticed blood. am kind of confused ?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It’s not impossible this sort of spotting could happen in pregnancy, but often it’s actually lifestyle changes made while TTC, such as supplements and diet/exercise changes that cause minor weirdness like this. You could always just take a quick test to be sure.


    My husband and I had unprotected intercourse 3 times this month once being in my fertile window and I got my period 4 days late. I have been on time for the past 7 years and my period normally only lasts 2-3 days, this time was the same amount of days except I first had brownish blood and then continued with bright red. I did experience some cramping on the first day only but only for little while like less than an hour and normally the first day I experience heavy cramping and leg pain the entire day which was not the case this time. I took a pregnancy test right before I got my period but it came back negative. I don’t trust them though because in my last pregnancy I experienced multiple negative pregnancy test up until I was about 6 weeks and found out I was pregnant after my pap because my doctor and I were convinced I was having irregular menstrual cycles since I also had a similar scenario, I’m just not too sure of how late I was since it was my first pregnancy and I truly thought I was having irregular menstrual cycles. I have also been experiencing leg cramps which were common in my first pregnancy. Sorry I know this is long just trying to figure out what is going on, I would like your opinion. Thank you.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If you have a history of bleeding in pregnancy and false negatives, if it were me, I’d go ahead and see your care provider if you suspect pregnancy. Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be any other way to rule it out.

  • Amanda

    I noticed all the comments below are from years ago. So I hope I can still get my question answered. And I’m sorry if there TMI in here..
    I had unprotected sex the day before I was expecting my period. I also never had the “dry days” I always had cm. And then my period was a week late and started off as spotting which never happens like that. Usually I have a normal medium flow from the start. But this time it was spotting for a few days and then just 1.5 days of heavy bleeding. I continued to check my cervix and it never dropped and I don’t think it ever felt hard which is what every website I looked up cm cycles said it should be. Today is the last of the heavy bleeding. I insert my finger late this morning and when I felt my cervix it was still second knuckle deep and soft.. and when I pulled my finger out not much blood was on it. I’ve been feeling tired in the afternoon no matter how good I slept the night before and without doing anything that would make me tired and I’ve been craving snacks lately and my appetite increased. Could I be pregnant even tho I had the heavy bleeding? I’m confused bc I seemed to have my period but yet my cervix is medium height and felt soft.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Ah, it sounds like our comment system is defaulting to oldest first again. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks. We are still here though 🙂

      Cervical changes are very difficult to track if you’re not familiar with your pattern already. Many women notice changes throughout the day even. Sex the day before your period actually poses the lowest chance of pregnancy all cycle. In fact, unless you run a very short cycle or ovulate irregularly, there’s no chance of pregnancy at that time. So while it is possible to be pregnant and have heavy bleeding, my bet is that’s not the case here, and you just had a one-off late period. Since it sounds like it’s been well beyond 14 days since the act, you could always take a test just to be absolutely sure.

  • Cassidy

    My period is always on time every month. this month it was three days late and I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms. Is it possible that I’m having a miscarriage? Or would it be possible that i could be pregnant and still have bleeding?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Normal period variance is actually +/-3 days, so it’s possible it was just a normal, slightly longer than your average, cycle. It is also possible it was a chemical pregnancy, but you would have no way to know that unfortunately. It is also possible to be pregnant and have bleeding (in which case a test would still show positive.) I’m sorry, I know, “it could be one of three things,” doesn’t really help, but it’s the best I can do.

  • Elisabeth

    Had full on unprotected sex on day of ovulation and the day after. Had light cramping week before period but no other normal pms symptoms. Bleeding started day flow was suppose to arrive but was darker than usual, not as heavy and only lasted a day and a half. Then had dark brown spotting that was off and on for another day. Could I be pregnant. Waiting to take test.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Possibly. It sounds like the timing was great for conception, but even then there’s only a roughly 25% chance. The bleed itself doesn’t rule out pregnancy though, no, especially since it sounds like it was fairly short/light bleed. Good luck. 🙂

      • ncumi

        Hie, I had unprotected sex after a week menstruated and my blood was light the first day but heavy on the second day then light for the next 3days, the blood was weak and it was two weeks early. Can I be pregnant?

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          Light bleeding 2 weeks before a period is more likely to be hormonal or even from ovulation itself. Irregular bleeding alone is not an indicator of pregnancy though, no.