6 Myths About Your Period, Debunked!

wrote this on August 15, 2014

I can’t even tell you how often I hear inaccurate information about periods. There is so much misinformation flying around out there about the female reproductive system. This obviously can’t be blamed on just one thing, but I think a lot of this stems from inadequate sex education and from misguided personal anecdotes about what is “normal.” That’s why I’m going to bust six of the most common myths about “that time of the month” so you know not to buy the lies.

1. “Normal” menstrual cycles should be 28 days long.

This is one of the most common myths I hear about the menstrual cycle. In an effort to simplify sex ed, many of us were led to believe that anything other than a 28-day cycle is abnormal. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Unless your cycles are highly irregular (we’re talking 40+ days between every period), variations in cycle length are completely normal and should be expected in a healthy, menstruating woman.

2. You ovulate 14 days after the start of your period.

If variation in menstrual cycle length is totally normal, it makes perfect sense that the day of ovulation would vary from month to month, as well. This is precisely why some (but not all) natural methods of pregnancy prevention, like the rhythm method, have such high failure rates. Things like stress, illness, diet, and heavy exercise can all delay ovulation. You might ovulate anywhere from nine to 20 days after your period, and there’s no cause for alarm. Everyone’s body is different.

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3. You can’t get pregnant during your period.

This myth isn’t quite as cut-and-dry as the previous two. While it’s generally true that you can’t get pregnant from unprotected sex that happens during your period, this is only the case if you can confirm that you are experiencing a true menstrual period. Confused? Stay with me. Not every type of bleeding is a true period, so you really have to know how to categorize your bleeding before assuming you can’t get pregnant. You also have to consider the length of your period and the length of your overall cycles before assuming you’re safe. My advice: you really shouldn’t assume you can’t get pregnant during your period unless you know and practice a method called the sympto-thermal method. You can read more about the sympto-thermal method right here on our website.

4. You can ovulate at any time during your cycle.

While it’s true that you can ovulate multiple times during a single menstrual cycle, it’s not something that can happen anytime at random. You’re not going to ovulate during your period and then again a week later, for example. Ovulation is the culmination of many weeks of subtle hormone changes, and if you confirm ovulation via the sympto-thermal method (yes, it’s possible to detect ovulation!), you will not ovulate again until after your next period. If you do happen to release multiple eggs, it will occur within a 24-hour time frame. Menstruating ladies can’t just pop eggs out left and right, so don’t be fooled by this myth!

5. You can get pregnant at any time during your cycle.

Did you know that there are only certain times during your menstrual cycle when you can actually get pregnant? This piece of info is often omitted from sex ed classes, but there’s actually only about a six-day window during each cycle when a pregnancy is possible. Bananas! Pinpointing this window is easy to do, but it does take a certain amount of education and training. Detecting when you’re fertile can help you prevent pregnancy without hormones, maximize your chances of getting pregnant quickly, and help you accurately predict upcoming periods. You can read all about it for free right from our website, but be warned! Don’t assume you know when your fertile window occurs (especially if you are trying to prevent pregnancy) unless you know and practice the sympto-thermal method.

6. If your period is late, it’s very likely that you’re pregnant.

I haven’t even had sex, but I’m probably somehow pregnant. Sound familiar? A late period is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, and I know I’m not the only one who has jumped the gun and assumed pregnancy because of a late period. The truth is, if you’ve experienced a delay in ovulation for any reason, your period will seem late even if you’re not pregnant. This can cause you to totally stress out for absolutely no reason…ugh. But what if I told you that there’s an accurate way to know whether your late period is the result of a pregnancy? Practicing the sympto-thermal method can help you predict your next period right down to the day, even if ovulation has been delayed. Pretty amazing, right?

So there you have it…six of the most common period myths, debunked! I realize that periods aren’t the most comfortable topic to discuss with people, but it’s an important conversation to have if we hope to eliminate these rampant misconceptions. So I hope that next time you hear someone utter one of these myths, you’ll spread some of your newfound period knowledge.

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.