Think you're pregnant but still getting your period? We look at wether you can be pregnant and still get your periods.
Technically it is not possible to have a 'proper' menstrual period while you are pregnant however there are a number of reasons why you may experience 'period like' bleeding very early on in your pregnancy, we explain more:
Why don't you have periods during pregnancy?
During a 'normal' menstrual cycle, hormonal responses will stimulate your reproductive system to prepare itself for a potential pregnancy; maturing and releasing an egg while simultaneously causing the lining of your womb to thicken. If the egg is not fertilised the lining and egg will be shed as part of your period. However, if, on its way down the fallopian tube your egg is fertilised, the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) will over ride the hormones that control your menstrual cycle, suspending your menstrual cycle and therefore your periods. Your body will remain in this state throughout your pregnancy and it is for this reason that it's impossible to experience a proper menstrual period once you have conceived.
I think i'm pregnant, what else could the bleeding be?
The most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period so unfortunately if you experience menstruation as normal during a cycle, in all likelihood you didn't conceive. However, if you took an early test that came up positive, have BBT results that suggest you could be pregnant or were late and noticed a significant change in your flow, there are a number of other causes that could stimulate 'non menstrual' bleeding early on in pregnancy. These include:
Some women experience spotting when their fertilised egg implants into the wall of their uterus and the connection that will later support the placenta is established. Rather than the heavier flow associated with 'normal' periods, implantation bleeding tends to be very light, pink or brownish in colour and usually only lasts for a day or so. However, as implantation typically occurs 6 - 10 days after ovulation, and therefore in all likelihood only a few days before your period is due, it is possible to confuse this with a very light period.
A few women go on to experience period-like bleeding throughout the first few months of their pregnancy and, although this is quite rare, lighter bleeding occurs in schedule with their previously established menstrual cycle each month. This is known as 'decidual bleeding' and is thought to occur because fluctuations in hormone levels cause areas of the womb lining that aren't yet actively involved in supporting a pregnancies development to shed.
occur when a fertilised egg implants and begins to develop outside the womb (usually in the fallopian tube from which the egg was released). In this instance bleeding is likely to be accompanied by severe pain on one side of the lower abdomen, sickness, fainting, collapse or pain in the shoulder tip. If you experience these symptoms, it's essential to seek help from your health care provider right away.
Sadly some pregnancies do end in miscarriage very early on in their development and unfortunately this can sometimes be the reason for 'period like' bleeding. Signs of a miscarriage include very heavy, clotted bleeding that tends to be more intense than a usual period and accompanied by strong abdominal cramps. Again, if this is something you are concerned about it's important to contact your health care provider for information and reassurance.
I'm bleeding but I think I'm pregnant, should I be worried?
Many women experience spotting in very early pregnancy and go on to give birth to healthy babies, so this should be little of little concern. However, if you have reason to believe that you might be expecting but go on to experience heavy, painful bleeding, it is advisable to make a visit to your health care provider.
Wherever you are on your journey to getting pregnant, why not visit the AskBaby forums and share your questions, advice and support with others who are trying to conceive.