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Can you Ovulate on your Period?

If you’re trying to get pregnant, one of the most important things you can do is build your understanding of ovulation: when does it happen?; how can you recognise it?; and what does it mean for your fertility?

The day you ovulate is an important event, because it’s only for this twenty-four hours that you have a fertile egg in your system, ready to be fertilised. A day after ovulation, that egg is no longer fertile and it will be ejected from the body with the lining that is built up in the uterus.

For many women, ovulation comes roughly two weeks after their period. It follows the follicular phase, beginning the same day your period starts and is normally 11-23 days in length. It’s so called because it’s during this time that your ovaries are maturing eggs to be potentially ovulated in small sacs called follicles. As many as twenty could be growing during your follicular phase, but only the largest, healthiest one will be released.

Because so many people ‘know’ that ovulation comes about two weeks after your period, it’s an extremely widespread belief that you can’t ovulate while your period is actually happening. This isn’t actually correct!

Both your period and your menstrual cycle are subject to change and irregularity. Someone may have irregular cycles that are different from month to month. Others normally have very regular cycles, which can be affected by medication, stress or health issues. If you combine a very short follicular phase with a long period, then the two can overlap!

This has a few different implications. For one thing, if you were using this belief as a method of birth control, you now know you can’t fully rely on it – it is possible to be fertile and get pregnant during your period!

It’s also important if you are trying to get pregnant. Most fertility tracking methods require some input from you, whether it’s taking your basal body temperature or testing your urine with an OPK. As these methods can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, it makes sense to ‘rest’ them during your period, when it’s natural to assume they’ll have nothing to detect. As we’ve discovered, though, you can ovulate during your period, so you might miss a vital opportunity to conceive if you’re not checking your fertility at this time.