Can You Be Pregnant and Still Get Your Period?

I've heard that some women still have their periods for the first few months of pregnancy. Is this true?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Women who are pregnant do not get a real "period" but they do bleed occasionally, sometimes heavy enough that it resembles an actual period. It may occur at approximately the correct time of the month, as well.

With a careful history, however, a care provider can usually determine that this was not a typical menses. For most women, this bleeding was unusual in some way. It is often lighter and/or shorter; it can be slightly early or late. Perhaps it is not associated with symptoms that may be typical for that woman, such as bloating, cramps and headaches.

The reason for the bleeding is often unknown but it can be due to a slight decrease in estrogen that results from an increased progesterone in pregnancy. It may also be due to a release of a bit of blood from the lining of the uterus as the embryo implants. In rare cases, it could be a very early miscarriage.

All women who put themselves at risk for pregnancy should carefully monitor their cycles for anything unusual. When a pregnancy is diagnosed early, the mother has more options, calculation of dates is improved, the health of the mother and baby can be better assessed and preventive intervention and education can be initiated.

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