Someone asked us:
Is it possible to be pregnant and still have your period?
Hundreds of people ask us this question every day on our chat and text lines. Maybe your aunt said she had her period the whole time she was pregnant with your cousin, or maybe you’ve had unprotected sex and even though you got your period you want to be really sure — and there’s nothing wrong with that!
So here’s what you need to know: Women who are pregnant don’t get a period (meaning a monthly shedding of the uterine lining) during the time that they’re pregnant. But sometimes bleeding happens for other reasons. Some women experience light spotting in the beginning of their pregnancy, called implantation bleeding, but for most women this bleeding is much lighter and does not last as long as a normal period.
It’s definitely possible for women who normally have very light periods to mistake that for their period, just as it’s possible for women who have irregular cycles to not notice if they miss a period, and not find out that they’re pregnant until several months down the line. But if you get your period at the time you expect it, and it’s not unlike the bleeding you usually have, then it’s super unlikely that you’re pregnant. If your bleeding is much lighter and/or shorter than usual, there’s no harm in taking a pregnancy test to be certain.
Other than implantation bleeding, there are a few other reasons why pregnant women have vaginal bleeding. The causes vary and depend on how long a woman has been pregnant. A pregnant woman who discovers that she has vaginal bleeding should contact her health care provider immediately to make sure everything is okay. Bleeding happens to one out of five pregnant women. What’s unlikely is for the bleeding to be as heavy or last as long as a regular period, or coincide closely enough with the time you normally get your period for you to mistake it as one for nine months in a row.
The vast majority of pregnant women find out they’re pregnant long before their due date, and most of them do not bleed at all during pregnancy.
- Emily at Planned Parenthood