Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period 2101

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 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.  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 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. Another note here though, timely monthly bleeding in pregnancy is uncommon. When bleeding occurs beyond that first month, it’s usually erratic, not the sort of thing you can see a clear pattern in like a regular monthly period.

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.

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 gets left unread, your comments are moderated and won't appear until approved. Sorry about that, and thanks for reading!

2,101 thoughts on “Period While Pregnant? 3 Ways You Can Be Pregnant and Still Get a Period

    • unwirklich admin

      I’m sorry for your loss 🙁 Miscarriages are most commonly a result of chromosomal abnormalities, basically, the body recognizes the fertilized egg is somehow how flawed and aborts it. Poor implantation can also cause miscarriage, low progesterone– lots of things unfortunately, and in most cases you never find out. Doctors won’t perform testing even if a loss is late enough there is tissue to test until your 4th loss in most cases. I had 2 back to back and never did find out why.

  • Lily

    I went to a specialist today, he did an ultrasound (doesn’t show that it is an ectopic pregnancy)
    You will have to be 6 weeks before they can see where the egg is growing on the ultrasound.
    They take blood tests to see if the HCG level will go up or down. If it goes up, pregnancy is good, but if it goes down, it’s a miscarriage.

  • Lucy

    Hi think its amazing how you are answering all these questions ,so helpful! I would just like to know if you would experience what feels like usual period cramps with breakthrough bleeding? Ruling out the possibility of cramps from the implantation since this is not my first period. Is there any noticeable differences between a normal period and breakthrough bleeding?

    • unwirklich admin

      Not really, many women do report that it’s a lighter than usual period though. Yes,cramping would be entirely normal, and is entirely normal in early pregnancy with or without bleeding. Extreme cramping coupled with minor back pain or heavy bleeding is usually an early loss though. At five weeks if you are having bleeding and the positive tests keep up, most doctors will do a blood test to measure hcG levels and follow that by an ultrasound to rule out ectopic pregnancy and find out the source of the bleed (which is not uncommonly unknown.)

    • unwirklich admin

      I don’t want to scare you, but you could have an ectopic pregnancy where the baby implants in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside the uterus and causes pain as it grows, if that pain continues to get worse, seek medical attention immediately. Ectopic pregnancies can be fatal or cause permanent infertility. Though pelvic pains can also be normal in healthy pregnancies, early losses, and even PMS.

      • Kat

        You could also have a ruptured Ovarian Cyst. My first one sent me to the ER for fears it was my appendix. They did a CT scan and found that the little bugger was fine, but I had a fair number of large cysts, and they figured one had just ruptured. I’ve had them on both sides before… in any case, if you’re in a lot of pain or if it continues for more than a week, go see your doctor.

  • Lily

    I was supposed to start my period on
    March 13, 2015, but I didn’t.
    On March 20, 2015, I took a pregnancy test, it showed pregnant.
    On March 22, 2015 I have started bleeding, is it normal?

    • unwirklich admin

      This could be a few things.
      -False positive
      -Early loss
      -Normal early pregnancy bleeding

      I’d test again in about a week, assume pregnancy lifestyle wise until you’ve confirmed 🙂

  • MissTeach


    We last had sex around the end of January which was ovulation time. My period came in the first two weeks of Feb. No period has shown up this month – could I be pregnant? I’ve had a bit of spotting, but nothing to note. I did a pg test when I got in from work but it was negative. Perhaps no show of period means I’m stressed? I’m a 28 day kind of gyal.

    • unwirklich admin

      Yes, it is possible to have what seems like a period while pregnant and even a negative pregnancy test (I have known women personally who never had a positive home test and now have children). Both are a good indication you aren’t pregnant though, if you continue to miss periods I’d recommend seeing your doc to be sure you aren’t pregnant and sort out what’s going on.

  • Love

    I had sex 24 weeks ago during ovulation period and unprotected. I’ve been having my period since then but I have had all pregnant symptoms at each stage. I even gained 17 pounds in last 2 months.
    So since last week, i have been feeling muscle twitches on my lower left abdomen, I felt it was all in my head, till four days ago, i felt a really hard one while eating at night. The next day, on my way back from work, I bought a HPT, when i got back that night, i took the test, it was POSITIVE. So yesterday i went to see the doctor but i tested negative to his blood and urine test. On my way back from hospital, i bought another HPT different brand and decided to take another test, this time with my FMU. And it came back negative.
    I have no idea what’s going on. If I am pregnant, based on their method of due date calculation, I should be 27 weeks by now. I don’t know what to do.

    • unwirklich admin

      That is a tough spot, I mean, it isn’t impossible to have bleeding during pregnancy even for the first 22 weeks (you would be roughly 20-22 weeks along), or false positives, or false negatives via lab mistakes, but what concerns me most here is the weight gain, symptoms, etc. that your doctor did not explore further on a negative blood test to find out what the underlying cause there may be. 17 lbs in 8 weeks is rather rapid weight gain for most. I would seek a second opinion. While a negative blood test is pretty conclusive, especially paired with bleeding, so you are likely not pregnant, at the same time whatever is causing the weight gain and irregular symptoms for you could be affecting your health negatively or your ability to conceive if you are trying.

  • hope

    Since TTC, my cycle looks like changed.This is the 2 nd month of TTC. Since then for the past 2 months i had early period(last month 23day cycle n this month it is 25days). Is it normal? or is this because of TTC?

    • unwirklich admin

      It could be. One thought is if you’ve begun taking any supplements for conceiving, that can change your cycle. If you weren’t paying close attention before, you may also have already had slight differences in your cycle, that’s not horribly abnormal, most women do have some variance each month, and may have not noticed before. (It’s crazy how much more you notice when so much more focus is put on conception.) If you are really stressing over conceiving, letting the emotion really get to you, that can also have an effect on cycles. Either way, 2 days is actually not a huge change, even though 23 days is on the shorter side for a cycle. You may give Vitex a try. It can be a great for regulating cycle length and increasing fertility.

      • hope

        i’m taking Folic acid and vitamin supplements. but not sure whether that was the reason for change , since i’m taking them for more than past 4 months. And my cycles are very regular.
        but im too worried,anxious about the conception, might be that caused the changes.
        in addition to a bit earlier period, my last period was very light too and this month one is little heavier and don’t had much cramps(usually i have major cramps). But i had cramps(found mild white discharge, everytime i got cramp) that started 5 days before period started.

        • unwirklich admin

          That really sounds to me like typical cycle variance. White discharge is common after ovulation as is mild cramping. And yes, emotional state can really effect your hormone balance, so try to relax and not over think things. If you continue with the shorter cycles and symptoms that are irregular for you in particular, you may want to seek the opinion of a doctor who can see you in person. Keep in mind though, on average couples try about 6 months before becoming pregnant.

  • kaddy

    Hello I m experiencing the same thing at the moment I had sex on 10 of January the period started on the 25 for 4 days but very heavy and now I am experiencing pregnancy symptoms all king but each time I done a pg test it comes negative and vey confused really please can someone help

    • unwirklich admin

      Unfortunately, there is really no way for someone over the Internet to say you are or aren’t pregnant just based on when you had sex and when you experienced bleeding. As mentioned in comments here before, pregnancy symptoms are actually caused by hormonal imbalance, so it is very possible to feel pregnant and not be at all, but then it is also possible to be pregnant and have a negative test. If you are past your expected period and tests are coming up negative, but you are still concerned with symptoms you are experiencing, you should see a doctor. He/she can perform a blood test to definitively rule out pregnancy and can offer suggestions to deal with symptoms if you aren’t pregnant.

  • Ms. Hoping

    Hi! My husband and i are trying to conceive. My youngest son is 14 and a half yrs old. We made love since december 25 unprotected until the 18th of january. On the 19th i had my period a day earlier. For 2 days it was really heavy like my normal. On the third day it went out. We had sex again and had a light blood. The 4th day had unprotected sex again and had too little blood. On the 5th day just spotting. Since the 25th been experiencing common pregnancy symptoms. Had pt but negative. Just wondering if there is a posibility that i am pregnant. But still waiting for my next period and some symptoms. Thanks.

    • unwirklich admin

      It is possible for a hpt to show negative and still be pregnant, yes, but sadly, bleeding, even if a bit irregular, coupled with a negative test puts the odds pretty heavily against you. If your oldest is 14 years old, I’m going to assume you are probably a bit older. You may want to see a doc just in case. On one hand, you get to ease your mind as far as pregnancy, on the other hand you also get some expert advice on conceiving at an older age (I apologize if I am assuming wrong). There’s nothing wrong with trying for a baby if you’re say, over 35, but it can be more of a challenge and have health concerns you probably didn’t have with your last kiddo. Good luck and baby dust. 🙂

  • J

    My scenario is similar to Stephanie’s, kinda… I had a normal period earlier this month, and had unprotected sex numerous times after the fact. Today I started again, but this time I have bright red blood with some clots, and a gnarly backache. . But I also have a “shock like” feeling in my right breast. I don’t know if this is my period or not.. Any thoughts?

    • unwirklich admin

      Depending on how long ago you had said sex, you could be seeing a very early miscarriage (hence the heavy bleeding, clots and back pain). I have had an early confirmed loss before, and that was about how I’d describe it, though all of the above can also come with a regular old period too, and realistically, periods sometimes just come early or late for no reason at all (Well, there is a reason, you either did not ovulate or you ovulated early or late so your period came early/late). Pregnancy can be an explanation, but heavy bleeding is usually a very good indication that’s not the case unless its a miscarriage, in which case, kind of a moat point. Hope you guys get things figured out.

  • Stephanie

    I had unprotected exactly one week ago and today I started what seems to be my period. What’s strange is: 1) I had my period already at the very beginning of this month which lasted for about 6 days and now it appears I’ve started again on the last day of the same month. 2) my periods are *always* extremely heavy from day 1 to day 5 or 6, deep red in color almost black with huge clots and its always very thick-the whole nine yards. This period is very runny, bright bright red almost orange and is full of discharge. I’ve never in my life had a period like this. Ever.

    I keep reading through your posts about different types of periods and implantation bleeding and signs that you’re pregnant but when I read one I’m like, oh OK so I’m probably not pregnant. Then I read another and I’m like, ahh maybe I’m pregnant. Then another, ya I’m not pregnant. Just back and forth.
    What do you think? Is it probably just my body changing?

    • unwirklich admin

      lol Yeah, unfortunately things like pregnancy signs can also be signs of hormonal imbalance (being that’s what about pregnancy causes them), which can also cause weird bleeding, so that back and forth feeling is normal. If it’s only been 1 week, I’m going to lean towards probably not pregnant, but also not impossible if you’re an early implanter. If the sex was about midway through your normal cycle length, that could tip the scale a little more towards pregnancy. Personally, I’d go ahead and take a pregnancy test (wait at least 14 days after the date you had sex) and see what it says. If you get a negative and are still experiencing some weirdness, see your doc. In that case, you’d either be one of the rare cases where only a blood test shows positive or you have some hormonal issues going on you’ll want checked out anyway.

  • Tonisha

    I was trying to figure out if I could really be pregnant I haven’t took a pregnacy test yet , but that’s only because I’ve been having a regular period but somethings different. Could I be 3 months pregnant and not know?

    • unwirklich admin

      You could yes, I wouldn’t say it’s highly likely, as more often than not period-like bleeding is a period, but it is possible to have monthly bleeding like a period and be pregnant. I have personally known two women (and know their children now) that did. In one case her doctor had no idea why, the other was low progesterone.