It is Possible to be Pregnant – and still have a Period?
Explanations for bleeding during pregnancy.
A missed period may be one of the first pregnancy symptoms you experience – along with a bit of morning sickness or a positive pregnancy test. However, some customers have contacted us and asked if it is possible to have a period and still be pregnant? The answer, in simple terms, is “no”. That’s because, when you become pregnant, certain hormones are produced to maintain the pregnancy and prevent the endometrium from shedding – otherwise known as menstruation, or your period.
Once you achieve pregnancy (when the fertilized embryo “implants” in your uterus), a hormone is secreted by the nascent placenta called hCG. This is the hormone detected by our high-sensitivity pregnancy tests. hCG sends a hormonal message to the body to produce more of the hormone progesterone, which in turn warms the body and prevents your period from showing on time, typically around 2 weeks after you ovulate.
While you cannot have a period and still be pregnant, you may experience bleeding or spotting that is not associated with your menstrual cycle/period. If you are trying-to-conceive, its important to pay attention to symptoms of spotting or bleeding, particularly if you have already confirmed a pregnancy with a pregnancy test. Some possible explanations include implantation bleeding or atypical bleeding during early pregnancy.
While the term “implantation bleeding” sounds a bit dire, it is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it may actually be the first pregnancy sign you experience. Implantation is the process whereby a fertilized egg connects to – or implants in – the lining of your womb (the endometrium). Implantation typically takes place about a week or so after you conceive, though it could happen sooner. Signs of implantation bleeding include just small amounts of blood or light spotting. The appearance of implantation blood/spotting is typically different than red menstrual blood – usually a just a light pink or brown color tone.
Not every woman will experience this pregnancy symptom, so if you fail to spot some days after ovulation, this certainly does not indicate that you missed your chance to achieve pregnancy that month. We recommend that you take an early pregnancy tests, but wait at least 7-10 days past ovulation (this is when our tests can begin to detect the pregnancy hormone). If you are concerned about unusual bleeding at any time during your cycle, you should contact your doctor.
Bleeding during early pregnancy (not related to the process of implantation) can also be experienced by some women. In these cases, bleeding may emulate that of your period (which can be confusing – because this is not actually a menstrual cycle period). If you experience bleeding during pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor, as it could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
One possible explanation for bleeding during pregnancy is an “ectopic pregnancy” – when the pregnancy takes place in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterine lining of the womb. An ectopic pregnancy may pose a risk of damage to the fallopian tube, so any bleeding during early pregnancy should signal you to contact your doctor. A doctor can check your hCG levels to determine if an ectopic pregnancy is indicated (as women with ectopic pregnancies will typically have lower-than-normal hCG levels in their blood).
The possibility of miscarriage is also a possibility if bleeding takes place during early pregnancy. Symptoms of bleeding do not necessarily suggest that a miscarriage will take place; in fact, half of women who experience early pregnancy bleeding do not end up having a miscarriage. That said, a miscarriage very early in pregnancy is not uncommon. In some cases, a woman may have a miscarriage before she even discovers she is pregnant. For TTC women who test for pregnancy each cycle, a “chemical pregnancy” is a phenomenon in which a pregnancy takes place for a short time – just long enough to determine a positive result on a pregnancy tests. A “chemical pregnancy” is followed by a very early miscarriage and typically no other pregnancy symptoms will be felt. Most other miscarriages occur with the first twelve weeks and miscarriage is not atypical: they occur in between fifteen and twenty percent of pregnancies.
With the exception of light spotting that may be attributed to “implantation bleeding”, if you do experience bleeding any time during pregnancy, it is advised to contact your physician.
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