Can You Be Pregnant and Still Have a Period?

It’s a common question among those who suspect they might be pregnant: Can you experience bleeding during pregnancy? Contrary to popular belief, you cannot have a period, or menstrual cycle, while pregnant. However, various factors can lead to bleeding or spotting during pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Periods: An Incompatible Duo

woman, pregnant, motherhood-6785370.jpgDespite what some may claim, experiencing a period while pregnant is biologically impossible. Menstruation only occurs in the absence of pregnancy. Typically, menstruation happens when an egg released during ovulation remains unfertilized and is shed along with the uterine lining. However, during pregnancy, ovulation ceases, and the menstrual cycle is interrupted.Your menstruation stops as soon as the body begins producing the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).

Understanding Pregnancy Bleeding

While you can’t have a period during pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to experience light bleeding or spotting, especially during the early stages. This bleeding is often light pink or dark brown and usually resolves without issue. Here are some common reasons for bleeding during pregnancy:

Implantation Bleeding: Around 10 to 14 days after conception, some individuals may experience implantation bleeding. This occurs as the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining. Implantation bleeding is typically lighter and shorter than a regular period.

Cervical Changes: Pregnancy can cause changes to the cervix, which may result in spotting, especially after sexual intercourse. In the absence of infection, this type of bleeding is usually harmless.

  • Other Causes: Heavier bleeding during pregnancy may indicate more serious issues, including 
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infection
  • Miscarriage
  • Molar pregnancy
  • Subchorionic hemorrhage, also known as subchorionic hematoma (bleeding between the placenta and the wall of the uterus)
  • Gestational trophoblast disease (GTD), a rare group of tumors that grow from the cells that normally develop into the placenta.

These conditions require immediate medical attention and may present with additional symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, fever, or unusual vaginal discharge.

Navigating Pregnancy Bleeding

ai generated, woman, pregnant-8374858.jpgBleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy is relatively common, occurring in approximately 25 to 30 percent of pregnancies. However, any bleeding during pregnancy should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to rule out potential complications.

Later in pregnancy, bleeding may occur due to factors such as sexual intercourse, preterm or term labor, placenta previa, placental abruption, or uterine rupture. While some causes of bleeding are less concerning, others may require urgent medical intervention.

Bleeding later in pregnancy: Why it occurs 

We’ve already covered the reasons why it’s impossible to have your period while pregnant and the reasons why some women may get minor spotting or bleeding in the first trimester. Although uncommon, bleeding can occur in the second and third trimesters and could be a sign of another condition. It’s crucial to consult your healthcare professional if you start bleeding later in your pregnancy.

Mid- or late-term pregnancy bleeding may occur for a number of causes, including: 

  • Sexual activity: Because the cervical and vaginal tissues are more sensitive during this period, having sex in the middle to late stages of pregnancy may result in minor spotting or light bleeding.
  • Preterm or term labor: Delivery of the baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy is referred to as preterm or term labour. In order to assist the foetus in moving down, cervical dilatation and uterine contractions often occur. This might cause bleeding and copious amounts of vaginal discharge. Back pain, cramping in the abdomen, variations in vaginal discharge, and a feeling of vaginal pressure are some more symptoms.
  • Placenta previa: The placenta is situated above or near the cervical opening in this situation. Other than vaginal bleeding, there are no signs, and labour and delivery might be impeded.
  • Placental abruption: When the placenta begins to separate from the uterine lining before to the baby’s delivery, it might cause a medical emergency during the late stages of pregnancy. It might result in severe cramping and stomach pain in addition to excessive vaginal bleeding. Your chance of experiencing placental abruption may be heightened by certain medical conditions, like as hypertension.
  • Uterine rupture:  The uterine muscles can break or detach either prior to or during labour, resulting in uterine rupture. It is regarded as a medical emergency as it might cause uncontrollable vaginal bleeding. Despite being uncommon, the illness typically affects those who have a history of uterine surgery or cesarean delivery.

When to Seek Medical Care

It’s essential to seek medical attention if you experience bleeding during pregnancy, particularly if it is accompanied by severe pain, dizziness, or passing of clots. Bright red bleeding that saturates a pad warrants immediate evaluation, as it may indicate conditions such as ectopic pregnancy or placental abruption.

While it’s not possible to have a period during pregnancy, bleeding or spotting can occur for various reasons. Understanding the potential causes of bleeding during pregnancy and knowing when to seek medical care are crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of both the pregnant individual and the developing fetus. If you have concerns about bleeding during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized guidance and care.



Gerard G Nahum, MD. “Uterine Rupture in Pregnancy.” Overview, Rupture of the Unscarred Uterus, Previous Uterine Myomectomy and Uterine Rupture, Medscape,

“Bleeding during Pregnancy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research,

The Office on Women’s Health. “Menstrual Cycle.” Editorial Staff. “How Much Bleeding Is Normal In Early Pregnancy?”

“Bleeding During Pregnancy.” ACOG, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


Scroll to Top