How Can I Get Pregnant With Irregular Periods?
While irregular periods do happen occasionally and aren’t generally a cause for concern, they can be an issue when you experience irregular periods every menstrual cycle. An irregular cycle is one that’s shorter than 21 days or longer than 36 days, or one that fluctuates wildly every cycle. For example, your periods may be 30 days apart one cycle and 20 days apart the next. Irregular periods don’t necessarily mean that you can’t get pregnant, but they can make it more difficult. Here’s why, and what you can do to increase your chances.
Can you get pregnant with irregular periods?
If you have irregular periods, you will likely be able to get pregnant as long as your irregular periods aren’t caused by a condition affecting ovulation. If you’re not ovulating, you can’t get pregnant. A fertility specialist may be able to help in these cases, as we’ll discuss later in this post.
To determine what’s causing your irregular cycle, always talk to your doctor first. They can diagnose the cause of your irregular periods, suggest treatments for serious conditions, and test for ovulation.
Common causes of irregular periods include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid issues
- Hormonal imbalances
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic and severe stress
- Extreme exercise or dieting
How do I know if I’m ovulating with irregular periods?
If your doctor confirms that you are ovulating and there are no serious health conditions causing your irregular periods, it is usually possible for you to get pregnant. One of the biggest challenges for these couples, though, is tracking ovulation. An irregular period simply makes it more difficult to know when you should have sex to get pregnant.
Thankfully, there are a number of tools couples can use. To start, always track your periods using a paper calendar or app. Even if your cycle is irregular, you still may see patterns and you can share these with your doctor.
In addition to tracking, the American Pregnancy Association suggests:
- Testing cervical mucus consistency
- Tracking your basal body temperature
- Using an ovulation predictor kit that detects luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine (note that people with PCOS may see multiple “false positives”)
Another option is to have sex more frequently—three to four times a week—so you increase your chances of intercourse lining up with ovulation.
How to regulate periods naturally
You can also attempt to regulate your periods naturally. This is most easily done when your irregular periods are due to things in your control, like stress and weight. Lifestyle changes can help with other causes of irregular periods though, and its always a good idea to form better habits before pregnancy.
Try the following changes to regulate your periods naturally:
- Lose weight
- Eat a more balanced diet
- Take pre-natal vitamins
- Avoid chronic stress
- Practice safe levels of exercise
- Stop smoking and drinking
An earlier post on The Fertility Institute blog talks more about lifestyle changes you can make now to boost your fertility.
How to confirm pregnancy for irregular periods
If you have irregular periods, it can also be difficult to confirm when you’re actually pregnant. Instead of waiting for a delayed period, pay attention for common early signs of pregnancy including:
- Light implantation bleeding
- Sore breasts
- Aversions to certain foods or smells
You may experience all or none of these, so it’s important to also regularly use pregnancy tests if you believe you may be pregnant.
What if I’m not ovulating?
Finally, your irregular periods may be due to infertility issues that are affecting your ability to ovulate. In these cases, it’s important to talk to a fertility specialist as they’ll be able to suggest options.
If you’re in Louisiana, contact The Fertility Institute today to talk to one of our fertility doctors in Mandeville, Metairie, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.