Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers the best time to get pregnant with Emma Howard.
Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello Catherine! Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello! Emma Howard: I have got a question here from a young woman saying, my boyfriend and I recently had unprotected sex while I was on my period, am I still at risk of becoming pregnant? I think that’s a concern of lots of young women who have sex during the time they are bleeding. Dr. Catherine Hood: And I think that’s a misconception that you can’t get pregnant at that time. The thing is you can, yes it's probably less likely than if you have sex in the middle of your cycle, when you are ovulating. But the thing to remember is that particularly when you are younger, sperm can live inside the vagina for 7 days, so then you maybe having sex at the time you think is safe, and that they know is ages before you ovulate. You know what, some of those nifty little sperm could still be hanging around, so when you do ovulate, it's possible to get pregnant. Emma Howard: They are ready to take action. Dr. Catherine Hood: Exactly. So they are ready and primed and in the right place. Emma Howard: So we are back to that old chestnut that unprotected sex always carries a risk. Dr. Catherine Hood: Yeah, always carries a risk. And I think you get into danger if you start talking about safe time of your cycle, or safer time of your cycle. I mean you have to take it, particular if you are young, that you are not anytime unprotected or without contraception there is a risk of pregnancy. Emma Howard: I would have thought that those with the cycle, that’s not so regular are at even a greater risk. Dr. Catherine Hood: Exactly because the thing all people with the short cycle, because if you have got a very short cycle, then you are likely to ovulate quite close to when your period actually finishes. So that’s more risky and also if you have got an irregular cycle, then you have no idea when you are going to be ovulating. So it can be, it could be very dangerous to just rely on having sex during your period has been a safe time in terms of pregnancy. Emma Howard: So in this young woman’s case, should she be going to the doctor, talking about what she might want to do? Dr. Catherine Hood: Yeah, get yourself sorted out, on a really decent form of contraception, there are lots of different ones available. A lot of women think, oh it's a just pill and I don’t want to take that, that’s fine. There are other alternative to the pill and in fact there is a lot of different longer acting forms of contraception that can be even better for younger people particularly if they are a little bit, prone to forgetfulness in terms of taking their contraceptive pills. So, there are -- you can have the injections, you can have implants, you can -- there is lots available. Go and talk to your doctor about it and get the things sorted out, that’s reliable. Emma Howard: Catherine, good advice, thank you very much indeed. And if you have a similar problem, we hope we might have given you some help. But remember, it's always best to see to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we will be back with more health questions and answers.