How Soon Can a Woman Get Pregnant After a Period?

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Pregnant woman with husband. (Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

From the movies and TV it would appear that getting pregnant is a difficult thing to do. For most women, however, it is a simple thing that can happen at almost anytime during a woman's cycle, including before a period begins, during a cycle (although this is rare), according to Robert Zurawin, an obstetrician and fertility specialist, and right after. For women who have regular 28 day menstrual cycles, ovulation generally takes place around the 14th day after the beginning of a period. But this can vary widely from woman to woman.

Pregnant woman laying on bed. (Photo: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Signs of Ovulation

The American Pregnancy Association lists a number of symptoms you may notice when ovulation takes place. They include a change in vaginal discharge, a brief twinge of pain or dull ache that is felt on one side of the abdomen, light spotting of blood that is pink or brown, an increase in sex drive, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating or a heightened sense of vision, smell or taste. You may feel one or two of these symptoms or all of them when you ovulate.

If you are trying to get pregnant, these are the signs to look for. If you feel any of these symptoms a few days after your period it is possible you are ovulating. This is more likely if you have a 21-day cycle rather that a 28- to 32-day cycle.

Because sperm can live in the body for up to five days, and because it is possible for a woman to ovulate soon after her period, it is possible to get pregnant from sex during a period or soon after.

Ovulation kit. (Photo: Ivan Kmit/iStock/Getty Images)

Understanding Ovulation

A woman is born with millions of immature eggs waiting for ovulation. She will never make more eggs than she was born with. When released during ovulation, they live between 12 and 24 hours. Generally, only one egg is released, although twins can be the result of the release of two eggs. If the egg is not fertilized, it dies and is absorbed into the woman's uterine lining.

A woman's ovulation cycle is generally between 28 and 32 days, but can vary widely, especially if she is on a hormone-based birth control option. Ovulation generally occurs between the 12th and 16th day after the first day of her menstrual period. Stress, illness and disruption of your normal routine can affect this cycle.

Ovulation kits can be purchased and ovulation calendars can be found online if you would like help in tracking your fertility.

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