Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period 1865

period while pregnant

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?

Note: 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 are 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 six 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, but may continue in the first trimester. Break through bleeding, as it can be indicative of low progesterone, should be evaluated by a doctor, in fact, any bleeding during pregnancy should.  It should 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 shed 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 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 periodic bleeding for the first several months of their pregnancy that seemed like 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.

Did you experience bleeding during your pregnancy or did you have bleeding and think you were pregnant, but weren’t? We want to hear your story. We have a page set up for them here.

Note: The extensive comment base on this article led me to write 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.

You may also find helpful:
Early Signs of Pregnancy Quiz
When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
Period Blood Colors and Textures Explained
Brown Discharge Before a Period Explained

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1,865 thoughts on “Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period

  • Rina B

    I am 35 years old. Me and my husband wanted a baby. My first last menstrual period was on 31st October and suppose to have my period on 26th November and ended up coming on 30th November. During that late missed period day, i was having a lot of white fluids coming out. so, i’m taking a pregnancy test and got negative. On the day i’m had my period its come out brown blood and for the last few days blood come out black and reddish. During period, i felt headache, nausea and dizzy and my body feeling tired. But i feel different than my normal period day. Could i possibly be pregnant or just having normal menstrual?

  • Shiena

    So 2 weeks before my period I experienced cramping and the day of my expected period it hadn’t come. I missed my period for about 2 weeks and knew for sure I was pregnant, but all my test came out negative and then the bleeding came. First it was just spotting that was light red, then it looked like regular period blood, a day or so later it turned dark brown with clots here and there! My diet or daily routine hasn’t changed at all. So I don’t know what would of changed my period schedule. I honestly thought I was pregnant again! Could it just be an unexplained situation ?

    • unwirklich admin

      Unfortunately yes, you’ll likely never know what delayed your period, usually it’s late ovulation. If your next period is also missed or significantly late, you might consider seeing a care provider to explore possible causes.

  • Donna

    Hi! Im 18 days delayed, took a pregnancy test and the result is one solid line & one faint line…then the next day I got my period. What does that mean? Am I pregnant or not? Thank you…

    • unwirklich admin

      You could be or you could have had a false positive or you could have been pregnant, but miscarried. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to find out which beyond wait until the bleeding has stopped and then test again. If it’s positive, you’re still pregnant.

  • Jamie

    I was wondering if took a pregnancy test and the line was very faint and the second line never showed up then not to long after I got what I believe is to be my period but during it the flow would slow down and acted like it stopped the flow seemed regular lasted about 5 days but was intermittent now a few days after this I’m having very light colored bleeding it’s just spotting I’ve had this about 2 days now so even with the flow I was wondering if I could still be pregnant my husband and I have been trying and recently on Oct 14 I had surgery for an eptoic pregnancy which they never found then a few days after the surgery I had a misscarriage so with all the details I’ve given could I still be pregnant?

    • unwirklich admin

      If there was only one line, then the test was negative. A positive test can have a faint line, but it needs to be the second line.

  • S.L.

    I was on BC pills for 2 years straight and stopped taking them about 3 months ago. My boyfriend and I have been having unprotected sex and I usually get my period around the 9th-12th, and did not get any signs of it until the 22nd. I was spotting light pink and brown and then it went away. On the 24th, I had a regular period and it lasted for 3 days. I took two Rite Aid brand pregnancy tests and they were both negative, one with regular urine and the second with first morning urine. Should I see an OBGYN just to make sure everything is okay? Is it possible to have a period while pregnant? My breasts do not feel tender or sore, but I have been nauseous and very tired. I struggle just to fall asleep even though I’m so exhausted.

    • unwirklich admin

      It is possible to have period-like bleeding while pregnant, but with a negative test to boot, I’d wager that isn’t the case here. I have a full list of other causes of late or missed periods here. As for should you see an OBGYN, that depends on your comfort level. If it’s going to worry you, I would, if you can stand to wait until your next cycle should be due, I’d wait and see if this self-resolves.

  • Chantel Wallace

    I usually have a 5day period/28day cycle….I spotted Friday afternoon….heavy flow w/cramps Saturday, medium Sunday…Light Monday…it stopped this morning…..I have been ttc…..getting so confused….I am over 40….what gives?!

    • unwirklich admin

      Some hormonal changes are normal as you get older which can cause cycle changes, but if you are ttc my bet is you’ve also made lifestyle changes (diet, supplements, exercise, etc.) and that as well can cause some irregularity at first. Pregnancy is also a possibility of course, but just throwing it out there that there are other causes. If you miss your next cycle I would definitely take a test.

  • Dominique

    My comment got entered and I wasn’t finished explaining… But I thought having two periods in February was unusual. I had a period on February 4th and February 27th that usually last 4/5 days. When I went to the doctor they stated that conception took place March 4th going by last menstrual cycle. I had sex with my bf Feb 12th and March 3rd. Is it possible that I was already pregnant in February and just had a break through bleeding? My daughter was born this November.

    • unwirklich admin

      I’m confused, are you trying to figure out your conception date for your daughter born this November then? You would just count backwards from her birthday 40 weeks. This would give you the date around when your last period before conception should have been (with conception itself being roughly 38 weeks back. If you only had intercourse before discovering you were pregnant those two dates, you should be able to narrow it down to the more likely date that way, but yes, it is possible you had some bleeding during your pregnancy.

  • Lommya

    I have sex 3rd of June 2016 ..after that I got periods regularly ..but in november 2016 I feel weight gain and big stomach .. it is possible that it took 6 months regular periods .. I m pregnant or not

  • Anonymous

    When I was pregnant with my first child, i had a light period and extreme cramps, I generally never have cranping when I have my period. Last week i took over 5 pregnancy tests, all came back positive. Last night i jad light spotting and this morning when i woke up it was very heavy. I am now having extreme cramping. Could it be I found out I am pregnant very early and its common for me to have the “breatlk through bleeding” when I am pregnant?

    • unwirklich admin

      It is actually common to have early pregnancy bleeding, though unfortunately early losses are equally as common. I would wait until your bleeding has stopped, and retest, if it’s still positive you’re still pregnant. It doesn’t take long at all in early losses for hormones to dissipate. As far as confirming if early bleeding is normal for you, no, beyond a history of doing so repeatedly, there would be no way to confirm that. Sending hope your way there is a positive outcome for you.

  • Abigail Riley

    I’m 27 years old. This would be my first pregnancy. My fiancee and I had sex twice a day from Oct 30 to Nov 6. Around the 6th I started feeling different. I was constipated for a week. I started getting headaches, dizziness, a slight fever. I would get grumpy for no reason and then cry for no reason. I have constant mild cramps and an occasional sharp pain on my lower right side near the hip bone. I began to take naps, go to bed earlier and sleep later. I’m constantly exhausted. I’ve had constant mild nausea and one morning almost vomited but it past in about 5 minutes. My breasts have been only slightly tender. I urinate a lot as it is bc I drink a lot of water so I haven’t noticed a difference there. I have craved Lucky Charms like crazy and I had never earn them before. I never bloat on my periods or while pmsing but my uterus area has been distinctly bloated and firm to the touch. I started my period today but the other symptoms persist and my periods are very light and short as it is. Should I follow through with an hpt when the bleeding has stopped? A lot of what I’ve read had said that many women experience bleeding the first month or Richmond several months but still are pregnant and have healthy babies.

    • unwirklich admin

      I would go ahead and test after the bleeding stops yes, not because of your symptoms (pregnancy symptoms don’t actually crop up until after a missed period) but because if you believe you may be pregnant, you’re likely to continue worrying until you know for sure either way.

  • E

    I took a pregnancy test when the day my period was supposed to start and the line was very faint. I took another 2 days later and the line was a bit darker so I thought I could be pregnant. Then the same day I started a light period and it got worse (like a normal period over the next few days) but it was still a somewhat light period for me. I figured I wasn’t pregnant or had a chemical pregnancy, but now I’m not really bleeding anymore and I took another test, it’s been about a week, and the positive line is the darkest I’ve seen yet. Any ideas?

    • unwirklich admin

      With an early loss your test would be negative by now, so to me, it sounds like you’re still pregnant. Early pregnancy bleeding is actually fairly common. If you would like to confirm, your care provider should be able to do blood testing.

  • Anonymous

    I had a cycle on the 21st of October 8 days later which is 28th October me and my boyfriend had sex and few days later I felt pregnant my body had all of the symptoms and today I should have had my cycle but started bleeding yesterday very confused as this is the first time this has happened. I have 2 boys and that never happened with any of them maybe its different this time round not sure

    • unwirklich admin

      If you ovulate on the earlier side (day 10-11) pregnancy from intercourse on day 8 is possible, but I’ll throw in that you won’t get pregnancy symptoms before a missed period, so it’s more likely your symptoms were PMS. If you still suspect pregnancy, a test is really the easiest answer.

  • Anonymous

    So, my girlfriend has a hard abdominal area right now, but it’s only when she stands up. She took a pregnancy test last night and it came back negative, and now we think she is on her period, could the hard abdominal have just been bloating or something like that?

    • unwirklich admin

      Bloating is a fair possibility. If she was far enough along that the baby was above her pubic bone to see a “bump” she would be 10+ weeks pregnant.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for you time, she has been bleeding heavily for the past 4days which is normal. So I wouldn’t think there’s anything to worry about anymore.