No. You can’t have your menstrual period while you’re pregnant.
Some women do have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some even report intermittent bleeding that seems like a regular period to them. But vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is not the same thing as menstruation.
Menstruation only happens when you’re not pregnant: Each month, your uterus grows a thick blood-rich lining in preparation for an egg to embed there. If you don’t get pregnant that month, you shed this tissue and blood – that’s your menstrual period.
But once an egg embeds in the uterine lining, hormones tell the blood-rich tissue to stay intact to support the growing baby. And you won’t shed it and start having your period again until your pregnancy is over.
Bleeding occurs during pregnancy for various reasons, some serious and some not. Some women have light bleeding or spotting in the week before their period is due and they may mistake that for a period. It’s generally a lot lighter than a typical period and lasts just a day or two.
This spotting has been called “implantation bleeding” because of the idea that it might be caused by the fertilized egg burrowing into the blood-rich lining of the uterus. But no one knows what really causes it.
You may have spotting after a Pap smear, vaginal exam, or sex. This is because there’s more blood going to your cervix during pregnancy.
Bleeding can also be a sign of something seriously wrong, such as an infection, placental problems, miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening.
If you notice bleeding while you’re pregnant, call your doctor or midwife right away, even if the bleeding has stopped. Many women who bleed a little during pregnancy deliver without complications, but you may need an evaluation to rule out a serious problem.
If you’re actively bleeding or have severe pain of any kind and can’t immediately reach your practitioner, head straight to the emergency room.