Getting Your Period When You're Trying to Conceive

How to Cope With Monthly Disappointment

Woman leaning over the sink with her head in her hand, disappointed she got her period when she wanted to be pregnant
Terry Vine / Blend Images / Getty Images

Getting your period when you’re trying to get pregnant can be frustrating. The two-week wait—the time between ovulation and the earliest you can take a pregnancy test—is full of hope and anxiety.

You may spend those days taking note of every possible early pregnancy sign. You might even feel pregnant and believe wholeheartedly that this month will be your month. And then, your period shows up. If you are dealing with another month where your period makes an unwanted appearance, we have some suggestions to help you get through this disappointing time.

Know That What You're Feeling Is Normal

Maybe you imagine taking a pregnancy test and finally seeing a positive result. Maybe your period is even late by a day or two. But then...your period comes. It can be disappointing—heartbreaking even. Regardless of whether you have gone through this over and over for months, or this is the first month you have experienced it, it can still hurt.

And, if this time around was a fertility treatment cycle, the emotional distress can be even greater. These feelings of sadness, frustration, and disappointment are normal, so do not beat yourself up for the way you are feeling.

When Bleeding Is a Sign of Pregnancy

Sometimes bleeding can be a sign of pregnancy, not a period. Often called implantation bleeding, this bleeding consists of light spotting that is typically pink or brown and usually occurs 1 to 2 weeks after conception. Implantation bleeding, which occurs in 25% of pregnancies, is thought to occur when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. The cervix may bleed more easily because your blood vessels are developing in this area.

If your bleeding is light and you think you are experiencing implantation bleeding instead of your period, consider taking a pregnancy test and scheduling a visit with a healthcare provider. They can help you determine if you are pregnant or if something else is causing the bleeding, such as ectopic pregnancy.

Schedule Time to Grieve

It is completely normal to feel sadness and frustration when your period arrives. But you do not want to be feeling that sadness and frustration for long stretches of time.

One way to cope is to plan some time to grieve. For instance, tell yourself that you’re going to get all of your tears out on the day you get your period. And that on the second day of your cycle, you’re going to do your best to move forward.

But if you’re still feeling the sadness on day two, don’t push your feelings aside. Instead, try scheduling time for letting out your tears.

If you have never set aside time to feel sadness or grieve, it may seem unusual at first. But scheduling a time when you allow yourself the freedom to express your feelings can be helpful. Plus, it keeps the grief from potentially taking over and interfering with your day-to-day life.

The goal is to find balance between grieving and living your life. While you do not want to deny your feelings, you also do not want them to consume your life either.

Practice Self-Care

Menstruation is a great time for extra self-care. Try setting aside time to pamper yourself with scented lotions or soaps. Light some candles. Dim the lights and spend time drawing, knitting, reading, or doing something you enjoy.

This time spent relaxing isn't wasting time. And, it is not silly to take extra care of yourself when you're feeling down. Actually, practicing self-care is one of the best ways to start feeling better.

If you have a strong urge to snack on junk food, it helps to recognize that these cravings can be partially due to hormones and partially due to stress. While you should not feel guilty if you eat an order of French fries or a bowl of ice cream, you might feel even better after a nutritious, satiating meal.

If you find cooking relaxing, take some time to make a meal that takes more effort than you normally have time for, or look up a new recipe to try. If this isn't enjoyable for you, consider ordering a hearty, yet healthy meal from a restaurant or picking up something pre-made from the grocery store.

Invest in Cloth Menstrual Pads

This may sound a little odd, but investing in cloth menstrual pads may help you cope when getting your period (and you won't have to keep going to the store to stock up on disposables). Some brands include LunaPads, GladRags, and Heartfelt Bamboo Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads.

Of course, menstrual cups, such as the DivaCup, are another option. They can also make your period more comfortable. After all, you're already having a difficult time emotionally. You might as well be physically comfortable.

Avoid Repeated Pregnancy Tests

Taking multiple pregnancy tests before your period is late does not make getting your period any easier. Once you do get your period, you may regret taking so many tests and possibly need to purchase more. Instead, refrain from taking a pregnancy test until your period is late.

Taking a pregnancy test early may seem like the best way to find out if you’re expecting—especially if you are trying to conceive. But taking a test too early could give you a negative result, even when you actually are pregnant. Instead, it is best to take a pregnancy test after your period is late.

Share Your Feelings

Perhaps the only thing worse than feeling depressed when you get your period is feeling alone with your sadness. So, don't try to keep your feelings all to yourself.

Call a supportive friend who understands the challenges you are facing trying to conceive. Talking to someone about how you are feeling is almost always helpful. You also can connect with other people who are struggling to conceive through online forums and support groups.

You might also consider seeing and speaking with a mental health professional, especially one with experience with infertility clients. Speaking to a counselor can help you find your way through two-week waits, disappointing periods, and stressful fertility treatments.

When You're Trying to Conceive and Your Period Came Early

If your period comes earlier than you thought it would, check if you are pinpointing ovulation correctly. Your period should come about 10 to 16 days after you ovulate. You can figure out when you are ovulating with ovulation predictor kits or by taking your temperature each morning. When you see a jump in temperature that indicates that you have already released an egg.

The two-week period between ovulation and the first day of your period is called the luteal phase. Research is mixed, but a luteal phase shorter than 10 days might affect your ability to conceive. If you think that you might have a short luteal phase, reach out to your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

Though your period signals the end of one cycle, it is at the same time the beginning of a new one. Even though the idea of yet another cycle may feel overwhelming, remind yourself that a new cycle is also another chance—a new hope. Maybe this period will be the last one for the next nine months.

If you have been trying to get pregnant for a year or more with no results, you may want to see a healthcare provider. Or, if you are over 35 years old, you should see a healthcare provider after six months of trying to conceive.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Rachel Gurevich, RN
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about women’s health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.