Can You Get Pregnant Not Ovulating – Can you get pregnant at any time of the month is the most common question women ask in my clinical practice. Heck, this was something I wasn’t sure about until I entered naturopathic medical school. And this is a question that many women do not know the answer to until they become pregnant for the first time.
I had the opportunity to interview Sam Gladdish about her birth control journey and she explained that understanding when you are fertile and how ovulation works is something she wished her doctor had explained to her as a child.
- 1 Can You Get Pregnant Not Ovulating
- 2 Can You Get Pregnant With Endometriosis?
- 3 Ovulation Calculator & Calendar
- 4 I Missed One Birth Control Pill. Can I Get Pregnant?
- 5 What Are Ovulation Test Strips And How Can They Help You Get Pregnant
Can You Get Pregnant Not Ovulating
You can watch the interview at the bottom of this post and I’ll share the highlights with you here, as well as what you need to know about getting pregnant or not getting pregnant.
What Days Are Safe For Not Getting Pregnant?
Did you know that in the United States only 17 states require by law that health education classes be medically accurate? Or that the 29 states need to be suppressed?
To emphasize abstinence, some teachers resort to frightening false information and thus the myth that you can get pregnant every day is born. If we learn false information during our formative years from people we see as authority and trust, it can be very difficult to accept the truth when it is presented to us later in life.
Listen, if you believe in abstinence, want to practice it, or feel it should be part of education, let me make it clear that I’m not telling you otherwise. But what I am saying is that lying about physiology to make someone fit the purpose is wrong.
But for humans, it may not even be that he told you the wrong thing. It could be as simple as never being taught about your body.
Can I Get Pregnant While On My Period?
When we ovulate, we usually release only one egg a month and that’s when we can get pregnant. Most experts agree that if the egg is not fertilized within 24 hours it will dissolve. Once the egg is gone you cannot get pregnant. You will not be fertile again until your next period.
Sam was young when he started the pill. She felt frustrated that she, like many of us, was not educated about her body, her hormones, or how her menstrual cycle worked.
“I was angry that I was young and no one taught me about ovulation and how technically you can get pregnant at one time of the month. When she is young, she is taught that she can get pregnant any day,” she said. He felt angry and betrayed, especially as he began to learn what the pill had been doing to his body for 8 years.
I understand Sam’s feelings of frustration. It wasn’t until I entered medical school that I came to understand that you couldn’t just get pregnant any day but a month. I was upset that I was taking the pill every day when I ovulated the other day.
Can You Get Pregnant With Endometriosis?
But most of us learn that we can get pregnant on any day except the month. Or we don’t learn anything about ovulation and what are the signs that we are fertile.
In fact, most of us are not taught when we get pregnant until we actually want to get pregnant. In the decades of our reproductive lives we are finally given the information we should have been given the day we started our period.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is a brain hormone that increases and triggers ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge. If you use LH test strips to track your basal body temperature then it is past the ovulation tracking point. However, once the egg is released it is only viable for 24 hours if it is not fertilized.
Generally, women are fertile for about 24 hours, maybe 36 hours, per month. Well, one day a month.
Ovulation Symptoms: 10 Signs You’re Ovulating
Sperm can live for 5 to 6 days in the female reproductive tract. This means you can have unprotected sex 6 days before you expect to ovulate and get pregnant. Yes! That sounds a little scary, but it really isn’t.
Your fertile window is about 5 days before ovulation and then the day of ovulation. As explained above, you can ovulate 1-2 days after the LH spike, which is why the fertile window is said to be 6-7 days.
If you are a woman using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), you can call this to know when to avoid sex or use a barrier method such as a condom. And these days, Femtech devices make it very easy to know your cycle and avoid pregnancy naturally. Daysy is one fertility monitor that can help you do just that. You can read more about it here.
Natural cycles is another way to avoid pregnancy. It is the first FDA-approved contraceptive device that uses technology to help you avoid unwanted pregnancy.
Can You Get Pregnant When You’re Not Ovulating?
But even if you are using a device, you still need to pay attention to your physical symptoms. Read on and I’ll explain.
Was your Sex Ed an epic fail? Yes, mine too. It was the same with Sam. In her interview she made some powerful statements about how we are taught about our cycles, ovulation and how we get it wrong when it comes to our health.
It is unlikely that you will get pregnant on your period, however, if you have a long or short cycle you may be fertile while bleeding. Remember, sperm can live for a few days.
Let me make an example. Let’s say your period is 6-7 days, but you ovulate on days 10-12 of your cycle. Note, day 1 is the first day of your period. If you have sexual days 5-7 of your period and you ovulate on day 10-12, then you may be pregnant due to the sperm surviving in your reproductive system.
Ovulation Calculator & Calendar
Using a basal body temperature tracker can help you dial this in so there are no “whoops” in the room.
“What is that underwear of mine?” I have had patients who never had fertile cervical mucus until their 40s. This is because they are put on hormonal birth control at a young age and left on it for 20-30 years!
Usually your temperature drops just before ovulation and a spike will follow ovulation. This spike can be as subtle as a temperature increase of 0.4 or as much as a whole degree. To track BBT, take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. You can do this with a thermometer and insert a paper chart or plug the data into an app or you can use a femtech device.
The texture is sticky and stretchy like an egg white consistency. You can also feel and expand the mystery with a wet and smooth quality.
I Missed One Birth Control Pill. Can I Get Pregnant?
Not every woman experiences this, but if you do during the cycle it can be a sign that you are in your fertile window.
This may take some time to get the hang of, but you may feel that your cervix becomes softer, higher, and the os (opening of the cervix) will be more open in your ovulation window.
This is known as Mittelschmerz, which is when some women feel ovulation. I explain in Beyond the Pill how to manage this if it’s too uncomfortable.
You may have light spotting with ovulation. Of course, if you are concerned about mid-cycle bleeding you should definitely see your doctor to get it under control.
What Are Ovulation Test Strips And How Can They Help You Get Pregnant
Sam started the pill because that’s what all her friends her age were doing and she could see the freedom and ease they had with menstruation. Can you blame anyone who wants to get into this?
Before starting hormonal birth control she had cramps, acne, and migraines. As soon as she started her cramps improved, but the mood swings increased and the migraines persisted. Her skin looked clear, but she felt anxiety and irritation rising leading up to her period. In fact, her PMS symptoms were worse.
But like many women, Sam had side effects that made it difficult to live a full and happy life. As we discussed, the pill can make some women feel very depressed.
As I explain in my book, Beyond the Pill, emotional symptoms are commonly reported among women who start hormonal contraception.
Cervical Mucus And Early Pregancy
In a large epidemiological study published in JAMA, it was found that women were more likely to be diagnosed with depression and prescribed antidepressants after starting hormonal contraception. This study followed women for 13 years and found that women who were given the birth control pill, which is estrogen and progestin, were 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant.
As Sam explained, her doctor lectured her endlessly about starting hormonal birth control. He didn’t know what effect it might have or what to look for. Worse, she felt she had never been taught about her body, ovulation, or when to get pregnant.
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