Tracking your cycle is one of the most important things you can do when trying to get pregnant (or NOT get pregnant). But, it can be tricky! Every woman’s cycle is different. And many women experience wildly varying cycles at different points in their lives. If you’re on the TTC (trying to conceive) train, or want extra assurances so you don’t get pregnant, knowing when you can and can’t conceive is a good place to start. A lot of women wonder: can you get pregnant right after your period? Short answer: YEP! Longer answer: it’s a bit complicated.

A typical menstrual cycle lasts 28-30 days. Again, many women have shorter or longer cycles. But generally speaking, 28-30 days is most common. When you’re trying to figure out when you’re the most or least fertile, you’ll need to know your “window”. For example, if your cycle lasts 30 days, the first day of your period is Day 1. Most women’s fertility window falls on days 11-21. This is when you are the MOST fertile.

So, can you get pregnant right after your period? Let’s do the math and check the window!

If your period starts on Day 1, and lasts 7 days, the last day will fall on Day 7 or 8. Now, if you have a predictable cycle, your baby window opens 3-4 days later. So if you have sex the first few days after your period ends, you’re not technically at your most fertile.

But wait! Guess what? Sperm can live in your body for anywhere between 2-5 days. I MEAN.

Taking that into consideration, if you get busy on Day 9, and your window opens on Day 11, you could have ninja sperm hiding out in your fallopian tubes just waiting to fertilize the egg you’re about to drop. The later you have sex after your period, the closer you are to your fertility window, when the odds of you conceiving go up.

So, can you get pregnant right after your period? Yes, yes you can. You can also get pregnant ON your period, in case you were wondering. You can even get pregnant if you don’t get a period or you’re on birth control! If you’re TTC, tracking and understanding your cycle can relieve some of the stress of figuring out when to try. If you’re Not TTC, knowing your cycle can save you the shock of a “surprise” pregnancy. But remember: nothing is foolproof. So if you don’t want to wind up pregnant, always use one (or two) forms of birth control, no matter when you do the deed. Better safe than HOLY CRAP I’M PREGNANT!

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(Image: iStock / Milkos)