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Are you trying to get pregnant and wondering if you can conceive a week before your period? Or did you have unplanned unprotected sex and are worried that you could be pregnant as a result?

Let's take a look at your chances of getting pregnant a week before your period should have come along! 

Conceiving a week before your period?

Here at SteadyHealth, we receive questions from readers who are unsure what is going on with their menstrual cycle or ovulation, or whether they are pregnant. One of the questions that pops up relatively frequently is whether it's possible to get pregnant a week before menstruation is due. We have already given a detailed answer to the question if it is possible to get pregnant during a period (the short answer is NO), so we'll take a look at this similar question now. Let's assume that a woman asking this particular question has regular menstrual cycles and that she knows exactly when her next period is due. Let's also assume that a week, in this context, means exactly seven days.

When can you get pregnant? Is seven days before your period is due a good time to conceive? A woman's fertile period is the period lasting from five days before her ovulation to ovulation itself. Not many people ovulate seven days before their period, and those who do generally have a luteal phase so short that they can't get pregnant. More about that later. There is the odd woman who, with a luteal phase defect and all, does ovulate exactly a week before her menstruation is expected and who still, by some miracle, conceives a baby. Can you get pregnant a week before your period, then? It's highly unlikely, but it has happened to some women and is therefore a theoretical possibility.

Ovulation and the luteal phase

Ovulation is the point at which a mature egg is released from one of a woman's two ovaries. The egg remains viable for a maximum of 24 hours following that event, and it is at this point that the egg can be fertilized. This can either happen when a woman has sexual intercourse right during her ovulation, or when sperm that had previously entered is already waiting in the fallopian tube when the egg gets there. The luteal phase is the phase of the menstrual cycle lasting from the end of ovulation to the next expected period. It's also simply known as "the second half of the menstrual cycle", and this time carries a lot of significance.[1]

During the luteal phase, a woman's cervical mucus will thicken, creating an unwelcome environment for sperm. If an egg was fertilized at ovulation, the egg will take an average of seven days to make its way to the uterus and to start implanting there. This is the very earliest stage of a pregnancy. A fertilized egg needs to have time to implant in the endometrium the uterine lining in order to send signals to the body that the woman is indeed pregnant and menstruation should not come along. Women who have a short luteal phase may have trouble getting pregnant, because of a simple lack of time. Any fertilized egg is usually washed away with menstruation in that case. A luteal phase that is too short is known as a Luteal Phase Defect, or LDP. We'll take a closer look at having a LDP now.[2]

Luteal Phase Defect

A Luteal Phase Defect is, in short, a problem with the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. It can involve either low progesterone levels during the luteal phase, or a luteal phase that is shorter than normal. A luteal phase can come in several grades of severity. Progesterone injections during the luteal phase and, if pregnant, until the embryo has reached the stage where the placenta can nurture it, is the most effective treatment for those women who suffer from a Luteal Phase Defect.[3

Did you conceive with a Luteal Phase Defect, a week before your period? If so, we would really love to hear your story! Leave a comment! And if you are someone with a question about the timing of intercourse and your chances of being pregnant, feel free to ask in a comment, or to join our forums, too.

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