Is it possible to be pregnant and have your period?

Ventre de femme enceinte de profil

Can I be pregnant and have my period ? ". This is a question that many future mothers ask themselves during their pregnancy , especially during the first trimester . For what ? What makes them wonder about the possibility of having their period while pregnant ? And what is the answer: can you be pregnant and have your period , yes or no? Finding it is not an easy thing, lost between abuse of language, myths and enigmas for science. However, the position of health professionals on this point is unambiguous: periods and pregnancy are incompatible terms. Together, let's solve the mystery!

Pregnant woman belly

“Can you be pregnant and have your period? »: why is this question so common?

20 to 30% of pregnant women, or about a quarter of women expecting a child, bleed during the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy (1) . During the remainder of gestation, vaginal bleeding occurs in 3 to 4% of cases (2) . Losing blood genitally during pregnancy is therefore a relatively common phenomenon. Worried about these vaginal bleedings, future mothers rightly wonder about their nature and their cause. “Is this normal?” ", "Does this call into question the fact of being pregnant? ", "Does this have an impact on the development of the baby and the continuation of the pregnancy? ". Looking for an answer to these worrying questions, they have a completely understandable first reflex: to make the connection with what they already know, namely their periods. In fact, each month, at the start of their menstrual cycle, they are used to experiencing menstruation, and have been doing so since their menarche . When they lose blood from their vulva, they know that this discharge corresponds to their period. The reaction is therefore quite natural, when they notice that they have vaginal bleeding during their pregnancy, to ask themselves the question "can I have my period while pregnant?" ". And the answer is… no!

Having your period while pregnant is not possible

Reminder: what are the rules?

Menstruation is blood loss from the uterus of a woman of childbearing age. They are the result of the disintegration and evacuation of the superficial layer of the mucosa covering the uterine wall, the endometrium. This elimination phenomenon occurs in each cycle where fertilization does not take place, that is to say when the egg released at the time of ovulation by one of the ovaries is not fertilized in the hours that followed by a sperm. Indeed, the endometrium, which thickens and becomes enriched with blood vessels during the cycle in order to accommodate a possible fertilized egg, proves useless in the absence of fertilization. It is therefore expelled from the body, in the form of blood flow which is the period, to be replenished during the next cycle and to prepare for a next potential pregnancy. But, in the case where fertilization occurs, the endometrium remains in place. It is preserved in such a way as to allow the fertilized egg to implant there – a stage called implantation. The reproduction process can then take its course, interrupting the classic course of the menstrual cycle. There is then no more premenstrual syndrome , no ovulation, no periods.

Periods and pregnant: two contradictory words

When she is pregnant, a woman no longer has her period. The endometrium is not eliminated in the form of menstrual discharge since it is used for the implantation of the egg and its maturation. The menstrual cycle is paused, to allow the gestation process to take place for 9 months. It will only resume after the postpartum weeks or months, when the child returns. Moreover, it is often this absence of periods that allows a woman to suspect that she is pregnant and to verify it with a pregnancy test or a blood test. Having your period and being pregnant are therefore two biologically incompatible things. Even if they may seem like it, because of their origin, their appearance or their quantity, the vaginal bleeding that pregnant women experience is not a period. But what are they then?

Pregnant woman belly profile

Bleeding that can make you think you are on your period when you are pregnant

Bleeding during pregnancy: pregnancy metrorrhagia

Bleeding in pregnant women is part of the “metrorrhagia” family. This includes all blood loss of genital origin occurring in women outside of menstruation. When they occur during pregnancy, we speak of “metrorrhagia of pregnancy”. The latter, occurring mainly during the first trimester, can be caused by various known phenomena, benign or more or less serious.

Metrorrhagia in early pregnancy is often due, among other things, to:

  • The nidation;
  • a miscarriage ;
  • an ectopic pregnancy.

Metrorrhagia at the end of pregnancy is generally explained by:

  • the start of labor in most cases;
  • more serious, but less common, problems related to the placenta or uterus (placental abruption, uterine rupture, etc.).

The “birthday rules”, a myth

The term "period anniversary" is often used to refer to bleeding that occurs in a pregnant woman on the date she would have had her period in the absence of pregnancy. However, this name is not recognized by the medical profession. These are not periods that would repeat themselves on their pre-pregnancy birthday. These are in reality metrorrhagia of pregnancy as described above, the origin of which is not always known.

In general, the phenomenon, if it occurs, only happens once, at the very beginning of pregnancy: it then often corresponds to implantation bleeding. In fact, this occurs approximately 6 to 12 days after fertilization, i.e. around the expected date of periods, theoretically expected between 11 and 16 days after ovulation.

If the phenomenon continues for several months during pregnancy, then it is:

  • or pure coincidence – these are metrorrhagia which are triggered by chance at the same time as menstruation;
  • or the very particular case of denial of pregnancy.

Bleeding in case of denial of pregnancy, an enigma

Denial of pregnancy is the fact that a pregnant woman is not aware of being pregnant. In this case, said woman is so convinced of not expecting a child, or so strongly rejects this idea, that her mind tricks her body into behaving as if nothing had happened. She does not feel any symptoms of pregnancy, and thinks she is having her period as usual. But even in this situation, it is not about menstruation. These are artificial bleedings that the body produces out of habit, metrorrhagia which gives the illusion of periods. Scientists have not yet found an explanation for this strange and rare phenomenon.

Pregnant woman lower abdomen

So, to the question “can you be pregnant and have your period?” ", The answer is no. Menstruation is the result of monthly disintegration of the endometrium in the absence of pregnancy; if there is a pregnancy, the endometrium remains intact and menstruation does not occur. On the other hand, to the question “can you be pregnant and have vaginal bleeding?” ", The answer is yes. Frequent, of known or unknown origin, these pregnancy metrorrhagia can be more easily managed using menstrual underwear . In all cases, their occurrence, at any time during pregnancy, must alert and lead you to consult a competent health professional.

To extend reading:

Written by cd


  1. Bunce, EE, & Heine, RP (2023, January 31). Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy . MSD Manuals for the general public.
  2. Bunce, EE, & Heine, RP (2023, September 5). Vaginal bleeding at the end of pregnancy . MSD Manuals for the general public.