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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

How Can I Get Pregnant With An Irregular Period

Updated: May 15, 2023

Those trying to conceive with an irregular period might find it quite challenging. In one month you might have a 32-day cycle the next month it's a 25-day cycle and for this reason, identifying when you ovulate becomes difficult. However, that doesn’t mean that natural conception is impossible and many women with irregular cycles go on to have healthy pregnancies despite an irregular period. So how can you go about it? How then can you conceive when you can’t be sure when you ovulate?

Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is an irregular period?

Let’s first start by defining what an irregular period is. An irregular period is defined as a menstrual cycle that is either shorter than 21 days or longer than 40 days. Your cycle may also be considered irregular if it varies significantly from month to month. For example, if one month your cycle is 23 days, and another it's 35, your cycles would be considered irregular. When your cycles are off by a day or two from month to month, you don’t need to worry. You should only be concerned when they vary for five days or more. Once in a while, it is also normal to have an irregular cycle. Factors like stress or illness can delay ovulation or menstruation, causing your cycle to be longer, and sometimes shorter, than usual.

How does an irregular period affect ovulation?

For most women ovulation occurs about 14 days before their next period no matter the length of their period. For example, if you have a 28-day cycle, you’ll ovulate on day 14, and if you have a 32-day cycle, you’ll ovulate on day 18. But with an irregular cycle, it can be hard to know when to count back 14 days if you don’t know when you’re going to get your period. But It’s also possible to have menstrual-like bleeding without ovulation and also ovulate without later bleeding like a period.

What causes an irregular period?

There are many possible causes for irregular menstruation. Some causes that may affect ovulation and your ability to carry a pregnancy include:

  • Anovulation - Anovulatory cycles are menstrual cycles where ovulation doesn't take place.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - Is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance that often interferes with menstruation cycles and as a result, cycle irregularity. It affects up to 21 per cent of women and is the most common cause of infertility from lack of ovulation.

  • Uterine fibroids - These are non-cancerous growths that can appear during the childbearing years.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - This is an infection that occurs when bacteria in the vagina spreads to the female reproductive organs through the cervix.

  • Thyroid Imbalance - This is an underactive or overactive thyroid which can cause irregular periods, as well as infertility.

  • Hyperprolactinemia - Also known as Prolactin, this is a hormone responsible for stimulating breast milk production. Hyperprolactinemia is when the hormone is elevated even if a woman is not pregnant or currently breastfeeding. Abnormally high levels of prolactin can cause irregular periods or even cause your periods to cease completely.

  • Weight - Being over- or underweight can cause your body to interrupt hormonal function. That can lead to absent or irregular ovulation, which can also lead to absent or irregular menstruation.

  • Stress - Those with higher levels of perceived stress are more likely to have menstrual irregularities compared with those who didn’t feel highly stressed.

So how can I get pregnant?

Make healthy lifestyle changes

Improving your overall health before pregnancy is crucial for women with irregular periods. Some changes you can make include:

  • Quit smoking cigarettes

  • Quit consuming alcohol

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

  • Get light to moderate exercise

  • Avoid excessive dieting or exercise

  • Take a daily multivitamin

  • Take folic acid and supplements

Reduce stress and anxiety

  • Learning stress management techniques such as deep breathing or meditation

  • Seeking support through counselling or support groups

  • Exercising regularly to increase endorphins

  • Getting consistent amounts of sleep

Increase the frequency of intercourse

Since it’s hard to predict when your most fertile days are having sex more often can improve your chances of getting pregnant. Try to have intercourse frequently during your five-to-six-day fertile window.

When to seek help

See a doctor if:

  • You haven’t had a period for three or more months.

  • You have menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than a week.

  • You’re soaking through a pad or tampon every hour or two, for several hours, during your period.

  • Your periods are very painful.

  • You’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for one year and you are younger than 35 or you have been trying to conceive for six months or longer and you are 35 years or older.

In summary

While infrequent ovulation can make it harder to get pregnant, understanding the main cause can help you better address the problem. Remember with proper care and treatment you can increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.

Stay informed, stay in control Was this helpful for all those TTC?

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