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Finding yourself pregnant and not knowing who the father is, because you have had intercourse with multiple partners, can be a constant source of stress. Whether you can solve this mystery without a paternity test depends on a few factors. Though if you had unprotected intercourse with more than one partner during your fertile window it won't be possible to work out who the father is, if you had sex with one person a week before you had sex with the other person, the question already becomes slightly easier to solve. 

Your Menstrual Cycle: An Informative Tool

Women who have regular menstrual cycles and make regular notes of the dates on which their periods start have a great advantage here. Interestingly, the luteal phase, the part of your cycle that falls after ovulation, is pretty consistently around 14 days long — regardless of the length of your cycle. Though variations do exist, they hover between 10 and 16 days. 

Therefore, take the date on which your last menstruation began, calculate the date on which your next period would have started if you hadn't become pregnant by adding the number of days your cycle usually lasts, and subtract 14 days. That is most likely to be the date on which you ovulated. Once you ovulate, your egg remains viable for 24 hours. However, the five days before ovulation are also considered fertile days, because sperm cells have the capacity of surviving within the female reproductive system for this duration, and can meet an egg once it is released. 

If you had intercourse with a partner on the day of ovulation or within the five days preceding it. but had intercourse with another partner only outside of those days, then the odds are very good that this first partner is the father of your baby. 

And If Your Cycle Is Irregular?

Women who experience irregular menstrual cycles or those who really can't remember when their last period started still have a weapon in their hands — the first ultrasound scan. You may ask for an early transvaginal ultrasound scan to accurately determine the gestational length of your pregnancy. Based on that, you can think back and remember with whom you had intercourse when you conceived.

Still No Idea?

You will have to carry out a paternity test. The simplest way of achieving this is after the baby is born. However, prenatal paternity tests are indeed available:

  • Chorionic Villus Sampling, CVS, is generally performed between 10 and 13 weeks into your pregnancy. Cells are removed from your baby's placenta with this method, and those are typically collected through your cervix, though also sometimes through your abdomen. 
  • Amniocentesis is performed trandabdominally, usually between weeks 14 and 20 but sometimes also as early as 11 weeks. 

These tests are also used for diagnostic purposes, and depending on the risk of your pregnancy, you may be advised to have these tests regardless of your wish to determine your baby's paternity. However, if determining paternity is your sole reason for having these tests, you will certainly want to be aware that the tests carry small but significant risks of miscarriage.

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