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The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, isn’t the same for every woman. Menstrual flow might occur every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days.  The first day that bleeding begins is considered day 1 of the menstrual cycle.  

Ovulation (releasing of the egg) occurs around the middle of the month, or 2 weeks prior to your period.   If you have a period every 28 days, that would be around the 14th day, if your periods are farther apart or shorter than 28 days, you could ovulate anywhere from day 12 to day 21.  When ovulation occurs, you may feel a dull pain on one side of your abdomen.  Your vaginal discharge may increase and/or get thicker. Ovulation typically lasts 3 days.  

If you have sex during ovulation, there is a high probability that you will get pregnant. Because the egg lasts for 3 days, and sperm survive for about 3 or more days, you could get pregnant if you have sex anywhere from 3 days before ovulation to 3 days after ovulation. (total of a 9 day span). 

If the egg is not fertilized by the sperm, the egg will pass through and there will not be a pregnancy.  Then, anywhere from day 21 -35 you will shed the lining of the uterus by having your period.  

Pregnancy – Pregnancy occurs when the sperm fertilizes the egg, and the fertilized egg then implants into the uterus.  It is best to take a pregnancy test when you have missed a period or 1- 2 weeks after the date you should have started your period.  The pregnancy hormone (HCG) usually cannot be detected until at least one day after a missed period. (urine pregnancy test). 
Days 1-5: Menses phase – bleeding occurs 
Days 6-14: Follicular phase – an egg matures in the ovarian follicle, and the uterine lining prepares to receive a fertilized egg (embryo) 
Day 14: Ovulation – the ovary releases the egg, which can be fertilized by a man’s sperm if present 
Days 15-28: Luteal phase – the egg travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus; if fertilized, the embryo may attach to the uterine lining and the woman will become pregnant; if the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining will shed and the cycle will begin again. 
Most of the time, you won’t know the exact day you got pregnant.  Your doctor will count the start of your pregnancy from the first day of your last period. This is about 2 weeks prior to when conception occurred. 

The only way to confirm a pregnancy is through a positive pregnancy test followed by an ultrasound. Hands of Hope Tucson offers no-cost pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and limited STI testing and treatment. If you think you may be pregnant, use the button below to request an appointment today! We’re here for you. No judgment, no matter what. 

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