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Period MIA: Is There A Risk?

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Anonymous asks:

My girlfriend stopped having her periods but she hasn't had sex and it's been two years since her last period. If we have unprotected sex is there still an opportunity for her to get pregnant?

Stephanie replies:

The best rule of thumb when considering risk for pregnancy - always assume unless you’re using a reliable method of birth control that pregnancy can happen.

The process that takes place in women is called the menstrual cycle because it’s a full process that takes place, not just the period. So what does this mean? This means that when a woman has a regular period it’s actually about every 28 days that her period begins. Ovulation is just one step of this process, and this is when the egg is released from the ovary and begins to travel to the uterus.

Okay, so let’s look then at when a woman can potentially become pregnant. The answer is – potentially any day that she has direct vaginal contact with sperm without a reliable form of birth control being used. Usually this happens during intercourse, but that’s not always the case. Yes, every woman will have times when she is most likely and when she is least likely to become pregnant, and there’s even times when it’s very unlikely for pregnancy to occur.

The only problem with that is that women don’t just know that they are ovulating, and because every woman’s cycle is so different there is no one safe time for everyone and no one fertile time for everyone. For this reason, even when a woman has a period around the same time every month, counting to the 14 day mark between one and the next isn’t likely to be very accurate at preventing pregnancy because cycles from one woman to the next can vary so much. Actually, trying to predict the times when ovulation is occurring is usually something that is done by people that are trying to get pregnant – not when trying to avoid it.

So what does this all mean to you both? While your girlfriend has not had a period in about two years, there’s no way of knowing if she will have a period again this month or next month or five months from now. Because she won’t know when her next period will come she also won’t know when she will ovulate next, or if she is ovulating now.
This same concept is applied before a girl begins her first period, because there’s no way for her to know before her first period that she had been ovulating or that her first period was going to begin any particular month. She would also not likely know right away that she is pregnant if it were to occur since often times the first signal of pregnancy is a missed period.

There’s a lot of reasons for a woman to miss her period – stress, being very underweight, exercise (serious athletes can often have this problem), and some illnesses can cause missed periods. Most of the time when a period is missed it shows up in its own good time – and if pregnancy isn’t suspected its okay to not worry. Missing more than two periods is usually the time when you want to be seen by a doctor. If she has not yet been seen by a healthcare provider, she really needs to make an appointment soon.

The reason this is so important is because sometimes missed periods are caused by other health problems or sexual health problems which may require treatment by a doctor. Additionally, long-term absence of menstruation can cause some other problems if left untreated – and this is something that really should be investigated.

I've added a few articles here at the bottom that I think will be beneficial for you to read over:

written 30 Jan 2009 . updated 22 Jan 2014

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