Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Tracking your menstrual cycle has many benefits. If you’re trying to get pregnant, knowing when you’re most likely to be fertile can help you conceive more quickly. If you don’t want to get pregnant, then knowing your most fertile days can help you plan accordingly.
However, there’s a significant amount of inaccurate and misleading information out there. For instance, some believe that you can’t get pregnant during or right after your period.
So are you fertile after your period? Can you get pregnant after you’ve put away your tampons and go-to period snacks? The answer is yes.
While you might not be at your most fertile right after your period, you can still get pregnant. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about your cycle, fertility, fertile period, peak fertility, and preventing unwanted pregnancy.
We probably don’t need to tell you that no two menstrual cycles are alike. Some people who menstruate have consistent, 28-day cycles. Others have shorter, more inconsistent cycles. Cycle length and consistency are two key factors in fertility, so let’s look at some basic facts about your cycle: 
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of your menstrual cycle, let’s discuss how your period can impact your likelihood of becoming pregnant. While it’s possible to get pregnant right after your period, three key factors make it more likely to occur.
The first factor that might make you more likely to become pregnant right after your period is your age.  Although your fertility declines as you get older, your cycle becomes more unpredictable for the following reasons:
Therefore, if you are approaching menopause or in your later thirties or early forties, you may ovulate on day 8 or 9 of your cycle, for example. If your period lasts from days 1 through 6, you could be fertile on day 8 or right after your period ends.
Many people have an irregular cycle. Sometimes the length can vary from month to month. Other times, ovulation can occur on different days during the cycle. Several factors can change the regularity of your cycle, including: 
While these specific factors may not directly affect your fertility, they can change your cycle and make it more difficult to know exactly when ovulation occurs and when you’re most likely to conceive.
As we mentioned earlier, an egg is viable for conception for about 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. Sperm, however, have a longer lifespan. In fact, sperm can live inside your body for up to five days. 
Therefore, if you frequently have unprotected sexual intercourse while on your period and immediately afterward, it’s more likely that viable sperm will be around when you ovulate. Since your egg can be fertilized during that small, 24-hour window, having viable sperm present makes it more likely that you can become pregnant.
Now that you know the answer to the question of “are you fertile after your period?” is maybe, let’s talk numbers. According to a 2018 study, the likelihood of conception in individuals between the ages of 25 to 40 typically follows these patterns: 
However, keep in mind that your cycle isn’t perfect. A lower likelihood doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance for pregnancy to occur. Ovulation can happen at different times each month, and you can still get pregnant if you have sexual intercourse while you have your period.
Luckily, you can prevent unwanted pregnancy by using some of the widely available and highly effective contraceptive options out there. Some of the most effective forms of birth control include: 
Further methods of birth control include barrier protection such as condoms, diaphragms, and a birth control sponge. These are all effective approximately 70 to 80% of the time when used properly. Fertility awareness methods, withdrawal, and other “natural” birth control measures are not as likely to be effective and have a higher chance of failure.
If you aren’t currently using any form of contraception and you don’t want to become pregnant, you should speak with a healthcare provider about the best options for your situation.
Does birth control affect fertility when you stop taking them? Not necessarily. Once you stop contraceptive use, it will not delay or negatively affect your ability to conceive. 
Even when you use highly effective forms of birth control, there is still a tiny chance that you may become pregnant when you have sex. Some of the earliest signs of pregnancy can be tricky to detect, especially because they often mirror the symptoms you get before your period. A few signs that indicate you might be pregnant can include: 
While you don’t get your period if you’re pregnant, you may have light bleeding or spotting. Some people mistake this for their period and don’t realize they are pregnant. If you think you might be pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test to confirm.
Pregnancy testing is quite simple, and most tests are 99 to 100% accurate. You can find pregnancy tests at many stores. They rely on hormones in your urine to determine if you are pregnant or not. 
Some things you should know about pregnancy tests include:
If you're trying to get pregnant and haven't been able to for over a year, you might want to speak with your healthcare provider about checking your hormone levels. You may have other health-related factors contributing to infertility.
It’s a fairly common misconception that you cannot get pregnant if you have sex while you have your period or right after your period ends. However, this is not true. It is possible to become pregnant during or after your period. This is because there can be irregularities in your menstrual cycle and ovulation days. As you get older, it becomes more difficult to pinpoint precisely when you are at your most fertile.
One way you might be able to get a better handle on your fertility levels is to take a test that measures certain hormones that influence your fertility. The Everlywell Women’s Fertility Test is a simple, at-home test that can do just that. The test requires a finger-prick blood sample. You send that sample to a secure lab and receive your results shortly after.
This allows you to better understand your fertility levels so that you can take action as needed, whether you want to either conceive or prevent pregnancy.
Does birth control affect fertility? Effects of birth control on fertility
What are the signs of high fertility in a woman?
Understanding the relationship between endometriosis and fertility
3 symptoms of failed implantation of fertilized egg
Understanding high fertility vs. peak fertility: key points to know