Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period 2245

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!

2,245 thoughts on “Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period

  • Lourdes

    So I have an iud that was supposed to be for 5 months, when I went to get it taken it my doctor told me they didn’t have any in at the moment that i would have to wait a few months(3 max) and she told me it was ok to keep it in for a few more months that it would still be protecting me. Well this month my period was late 6 days I’m never late I’ve always had my period since I got my iud as well. Well on the 6th day I started spotting it was a light pink and I thought I had started my period but the whole day went by and nothing but a light spotting was occurring. The next day I wake up to a heavy flow. The thing is I’ve been experiencing sytoms like fatigue and tender breast and morning sickness. Is there a possibility I could be pregnant??????

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Which IUD do you have? Some of them use a combination method involving progesterone. If yours was supposed to be replaced at a certain time, it’s possible the hormone levels being released are just becoming irregular (essentially running out). That irregular dosage would be sort of like skipping and then taking birth control pills, it’s bound to cause some hormonal imbalance symptoms (tender breasts and nausea among them). It would also slightly reduce the effectiveness of the device, but pregnancy would still be very unlikely. Because IUDs can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, I’d recommend a test either way just to be sure.

      • Brisa Adame

        I have the mirena, it’s supposddd to be for 5 years I wrote 5 months instead on top. But the day after my heavy flow I got close to nothing of a period. I took a test and it says negative tho.

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          Mirena is indeed hormone-based, so yep, I’d bet it just needs to be replaced and the hormone stick is mostly depleted. Once it’s out completely, it might take a few weeks but the symptoms should go away. If you wanted to avoid that, you could go in, ask to have it removed and take an oral BC until your office has another mirena for you.

  • crystal

    ok I ha four kids but they where all different. I feel like I am pregnant cant stand the smell of food, headaches everyday, very bad cramping in my stomach (scared because it hurts so bad), boobs gotten bigger, clothes barely fit any more. I had my tubes tied 2 1/2 years ago me and my husband is intiment every day. I missed my period by 4 days last month then I got it It was heavy and lasted for 6 days i am very scared of what is going on with my body. please help I know you aint a dr or anything but if you know anything or anything advice please let me know. thank you.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If your tubes are tied pregnancy is very unlikely (though stranger things have happened). My guess is actually you’ve got a bit of hormonal imbalance. Pregnancy symptoms themselves are just a result of the hormonal imbalance pregnancy creates. As a result, you can have pregnancy-like symptoms without pregnancy, usually as a result of high progesterone. Coincidentally, progesterone is also the hormone that maintains the uterine lining, and a high progesterone cycle will often delay your period. A delayed period is often heavier. A one-off cycle like this isn’t cause for concern, but if you see a pattern, and would like that pattern to stop, you can always speak with your health care provider. The other thing to watch out for would be extreme lower abdominal pain, as in the very rare cases when pregnancy does occur in those with tubals, ectopic pregnancy is a big risk.

  • Corrinna Jordan

    Hello. I can take a blood test in a couple of days, but am curious. Shoe background: I am 46. I conceived naturally at 45, but miscarried at 5 weeks. So, I am on cd32. I have an app that tracks my ovulation and periods. I’ve used it for a few years and it is usually, fairly accurate on my period time. As for ovulation, I only started tracking that 2-3 months ago, by taking my bbt in the mornings. I’m not 100% sure about the axcuracy of that, yet. I tested pregnant at about cd36 the last time. I have felt many symptoms, which obviously can be af or pregnancy but Ive felt wheezy and under the weather for a couple of weeks. My Question: Can you have very light amount of tan cm and still be pregnant? I have had a scant amount of light brown/tan discharge. Yesterday a scant amount on my panty liner and today a couple of times with wipe. My cm has been pretty copious for several days. I do get brown/old blood discharge in the 1-2 days before my period starts, but it’s darker and a fair amount. Sorry so long. Appreciate any feedback. Thank you, Corrinna

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Bleeding in pregnancy is actually more common in those over 35, but in general about 1 in 4 pregnant women see some sort of bleeding. What you’re describing, a light spotting, is the most common type. If all you’re seeing is tan discharge, it’s even possible it’s not a uterine bleed at all, but just a bit of cervical bleeding (the cervix becomes engorged with blood in early pregnancy, and can sometimes bleed a bit). You can always retest after the discharge stops. If it’s still positive, you’re still pregnant. 🙂

  • Shauny

    Okay, so I’ve been pregnant six times, five kids, my youngest is almost 6 months. I’ve had four periods since he was born. All range between 34-37 day cycles. This last period, I had sex on two of my fertile days. Those days post ovulation I had consistent nausea (literally the day after ovulation) fatigue, mild cramping 9dpo and increased appetite. My period before that was 08/17 for 4 days. I had this last period come 3 days early (was due one the 22 of Sept.but came on the 19th). It started with cramping, and some red/brown spotting before the period came. It lasted 4-5 days. I’ve never had my period come early. Is there a chance I may still be pregnant? I know it’s not common, but it’s still common enough to wonder.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If your symptoms started just after ovulation, they aren’t pregnancy related. It takes a minimum of 6 days for an egg to implant (and so pregnancy hormones even come into play). It is possible though to have a high hormone cycle like this (which is what would cause the symptoms) and still become pregnant. I am guessing you may still be breast feeding, and that can account for cycle fluctuations like this (including the early period and symptoms). Given that, my bet is not pregnant, but you can always take a test to be sure.

  • Aliza

    my last period was on 20 July. Had unprotected sex on 30 July and got my periods on 14 august which was early by 4 or 5 days with severe pain and then did home pregnancy test on 28 August and on 4 September, it showed negative result both times. Could I still be pregnant?? Worried…pls help

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It’s possible to become pregnancy from sex on cycle day 10, but it would pose a lower chance of pregnancy than if you had sex 4-5 days later, if that makes sense, because sperm can survive up to 5 days, but are most viable in the first 48 hours, and ovulation was likely around day 14 (4 days after intercourse). This means your chances were already less than 25%, factor in bleeding albeit a smidge early (normal period variance is +/-3 days) and 2 negative tests, and I’d feel comfortable saying you probably aren’t pregnant. Nothing is impossible (except maybe impossibility), but in this case it’s very improbable.

  • Krystal

    Okay so my period was august 18th and my cycle is 34 days. Me and my husband are trying to conceive. I took pregnancy test and they were negative. Got my period September 23rd. When I calculate when I could of implanted if I was pregnant it says 6 days before I got my period. My question is since it was so close to my period start date could I started my “period” anyways but still be pregnant? I am not lactose intolerant but now every time I drink milk I get a upset stomach. And I didn’t think anything of it till my husband asked what I’ve been eating everything it gets upset and then mentioned he thought I was.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Possibly. On a 34-day cycle, you likely ovulate around day 17, implantation would be possible at earliest around day 23, more likely between day 31-32, making the best time to test after around day 33-35 (the later the better though). I’m not sure why your app would be telling you 6 days before your period, unless you are ovulation tracking with tests or BTT and are known to ovulate earlier in your cycle…day 28 would be way too early for you if your cycle is regular at 34 days.

  • Zané Fourie

    Good day

    My period started last week Saturday (today in Friday in the next week).

    Although I had cramps etc, it is a very light period and I now have a light brownish discharge.

    On Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday I was feeling nauseous the whole time and even had to stay home because of my dizziness.

    I don’t know if I might be pregnant and if so, whether I can take a at home pregnancy test already? My period has only been finished for about two days

    My cycle is approximately 29 days.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If your cycle is over, then yes, you should be safe to take a test. If your cycles are regular, 4 days after your projected period start date is optimal timing wise. If they are irregular, 14+ days from the last unprotected sex act is best.

  • Hayley

    Hello, I’m really hoping you can help me! I have a 26day cycle, LMP 30/08 on 23/09 (3days before due period) I had a spot of bloodtinged yellow/white mucas blob (tmi sorry!), followed by 3 days or brown to light pink spotting mainly when I wiped used 2 pads over the 3 days as it was sporadic It stoped and I had intercourses on the Monday and durning Intercourses bleed slightly, then Tuesday and today have continued to bleed with slight mucus but not like my period it’s not as much again mainly if I wipe have used 3 pads in 2 days but it is light and sometimes dark red. I did a Pregnancy test and there was a faint pink second line but after the 5mins. I have had very tender breasts for abut 2 1/2 weeks and this is unusual for me. Do you think items work taking another test and if so how long should I wait to do it? Thank you!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      How long you wait really depends on how long you can handle waiting lol at minimum though, you want to give it 48 hours. hCG levels in a healthy pregnancy should roughly double in that time and give you a darker line if you are pregnant. If you can stand waiting a bit longer than that, well, the longer you wait the darker that line would be. If it’s negative, and you’re 100% sure that first test had a line, it was likely a chemical pregnancy (very early loss).

      • Hayley

        Thank you for your reply! I have today stopped bleeding, would you recommend waiting to do another test, as I have read that decidual bleeding can cause false negative due to hormone imbalance, if this is true, when would I be likely to get bfp if pregnany? Thank you!!

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          No, there’s no medical reason decidual bleeding (which is really just any bleed from the uterine lining) would cause a false negative. Slight lining shed is caused by low progesterone and is unrelated to hCG (which is what a pregnancy test is looking for). Some women do get a dip in progesterone at implantation and/or when the placenta begins to take over progesterone production around week 6-8ish. Also, some women do get a slow hCG rise, and there are some conditions (such as etopic or molar pregnancy) that can cause unstable hCG levels. The most common cause of a positive, then negative test though is a loss I’m afraid. IF your bleeding has stopped and it’s been at least 48 hours from the first test, it’s fine to retest when you’re ready.

  • Caitlyn

    Hi! This article was so helpful! Sometimes TTC makes me feel so clueless! Hubby and I are trying for babes #1, and I overanalyze everything!
    I took a home pregnancy test 10DPO (yes, early because I’m THAT girl) and saw a pretty clear, but faint, line. I tested again on 12DPO and got a VERY clear negative. The next day I got a visit from (what I think was) AF. I have an almost perfectly regular 30 day cycle, 5 day period. I started AF VERY heavy the first day, horrible cramps, stayed heavy-ish day 2 with no symptoms and then day 3 next to nothing spotting with no symptoms, day 4 not a dang thing at all. Not typical. Any chance it’s anything? Either to be concerned about, or to think pregnancy is still possible?
    Thank you so much!
    -Totally Lost, Forever Overthinking, Newbie

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If you are 100% sure there was a line on that first test, my guess here is what’s called a chemical pregnancy (basically a super early loss). They happen very frequently, most women just don’t realize because they aren’t testing so early (another reason to wait, avoid that heartache). There’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop an early loss like this, especially if you already have a healthy, regular cycle and are taking a good prenatal. Try not to stress it so much, conception happens, eventually.

  • Jen

    I just want to ask my last period around at 2nd week of august and im 30-33 days cycle on aug 20 to 31 on his visits my husband and i had sex regularly every other day, im on my fertile window according to the apps i had. At the last week of august i had this wierd symptoms like nausea ramdomly without vomiting, dizziness and feeling so tired and justt want to stay in bed and thought i was preggy not until i had my preg test 3days before my period it came negative but still symptoms still there, my period came late i think 1-2 days but its not usual as its start with stomach pain and cramps it was my first time and the first day was already heavy and with clots but the 2nd upto tje 6thdays was as normal periods. During my periods i dont feel the pregnancy symptoms not aftr menstration my nausea feelibg came back and im very sensitive to smell and usually burping and increase salivation. I havent done pt yet again. Its possible im pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Possibly, about 1 in 4 women have bleeding in pregnancy, and 3 days before a missed period can sometimes be a bit early to test. I always say when in doubt, there’s no harm in easing your mind with a test.

  • Kay

    My girlfriend’s period is late. She has irregular cycles but they have never been this late. This makes day 36 and no period yet she says she feels it commin. We did not have vaginal sex heck I didn’t even take off my pants but I’m scared she could be pregnant. her last period was August 21st.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Without semen entering the vagina during a fertile time, pregnancy can’t occur. So if you were messing around fully clothed, there’s no chance of pregnancy. In teens, irregular periods as you describe are entirely normal as hormone levels are still in flux.

  • Blue

    Hi. I had sex during my fertile period last month. I had 28 days cycle. Then, I just had my period this month but 2 days late. Normal bleeding for 2 days and spotting for 3 days. Then after a week and a half from my last period, i had brown spotting along with a milky discharge. I do have symptoms like, itchy breast, belly and shoulders, frequently urinating, bloated, constipated and severe moodswings. Could i be possibly pregnant even if i had my late period?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Normal period variance is +/-3 days, so your period wasn’t actually late. It is still possible you’re pregnant, but with a timely period it’s a lot less likely. The more probable cause is a bit of hormonal imbalance which would also explain the symptoms and spotting. When in doubt though, a test is always the easiest answer. If the symptoms are pregnancy related, the test would be positive.