Both your period and pregnancy cause fluctuations in hormones. Because both events can bring on their own unique set of challenges, it’s easy to wonder if you can expect to get your period—or something like it—while you’re pregnant.
About 25-30 percent of women will have light bleeding in pregnancy, which can be from various reasons including implantation bleeding, cervical issues, placenta abnormalities, ectopic pregnancies, and miscarriages. In general, you will not get your period while you are pregnant. There is a small percentage of women who could have longer-than-usual periods and may continue to bleed, but will also be ovulating at the same time. If this occurs, you could technically be pregnant while on your period. However, you would not typically know at this stage because it would be extremely early (as in 1-3 days) into your pregnancy.
With this exception, you will not get your period while you are pregnant. This is due to the fact that your body has a menstrual cycle when you have not conceived and when you do become pregnant, the hormone shift prevents ovulation and therefore any further periods.
However, many women experience bleeding when they are pregnant and can mistake this for a period. It is important to be aware of all the reasons you could experience vaginal bleeding while pregnant and notify your physician if you think your bleeding is cause for concern. Possible causes of bleeding include:
- Implantation Bleeding. This occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus.
- Ectopic Pregnancy. This is a life-threatening event where a fertilized egg implants in another location instead of the uterus. The degree of bleeding can vary but is often accompanied by pain on the right or left side of your lower abdomen, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
- Miscarriage. A miscarriage or threatened miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends on its own without carrying to term. A miscarriage causes bleeding, which possibly has large blood clots in the blood. A woman will also experience uterine cramping.
Other times, you may experience some mild spotting with brown or light pink blood throughout your pregnancy. This bleeding is typically very light. This could be due to cervical irritation or infection. Talk with your physician immediately if the bleeding starts to worsen.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, April 2020
- For the most part, pregnant women will not have their period while pregnant.
- Bleeding that women can mistake for a period may occur when a woman becomes pregnant. This is known as implantation bleeding.
- Causes for vaginal bleeding can range from emergencies, such as an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, to minor concerns, such as cervical irritation.
While this may be the “norm”, there are some women who actually *do* continue to get their period while pregnant. Unfortunately, the medical field doesn’t seem aware of this somehow (how?!), but if you research it enough you will definitely hear about it directly from women on blogs, etc. It would be extremely helpful if Dr’s did know about this & were properly versed in the wide array of phenomena that the female body is capable of. Alternatively, those few women who do encounter this are left to be scared, confused, and without knowledge for themselves or their society. It’s nature folks. Anything is possible.
Hi Fran, If a woman continued to bleed throughout her pregnancy she should definitely talk to her doctor or midwife. I would be wary to trust blogs on this subject.
And I would be wary to trust anyone with a limited scope of the possibilities, even (esp) if that person were a doctor convinced they’d seen it all & “knew” it weren’t a possibility free of any health concerns. How can you NOT listen to WOMEN who have gone through it themselves??! That’s scandalous & irresponsible, esp for a doctor. Women’s bodies have been going through pregnancies & births forever. It’s ridiculous to try & impose rules on their bodies because you think you know everything & can dictate exactly how they operate in every single instance. Attempting to silence & cast doubt on women in such ways is dangerous, at best. Shame on you.
How scary! Thanks for the info.