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Menarche - Topic Overview

Your menstrual cycle

Your period is part of your menstrual cycle, the time from the first day of your period to the first day of the next period. A normal menstrual cycle for teenagers can be anywhere from 21 days to 45 days.

For the first year or two, your cycle may not be regular and you may not have a period sometimes. If you are underweight because of dieting or exercise, have a lot of stress in your life, or are overweight, your periods may be hard to predict.

Keep a calendar, and mark the day you start your period each month. This can help you predict when you'll have your next period and is also useful when you talk with your doctor.

Your menstrual cycle makes it possible for you to get pregnant. Sometime around the middle of each cycle, you will ovulate camera.gif, which means one of your ovaries will release an egg. You may have a slight discharge from your vagina or some spotting of blood when you ovulate.

You are most likely to get pregnant if you have sexual intercourse on the day of ovulation or on any of the five days before it. For more information, see:

How Pregnancy (Conception) Occurs.

Pregnancy facts

You should assume you can get pregnant any time of the month. The timing of ovulation is different for everyone, especially those who have periods that don't start at the same time every month.

Don't rely on your friends' advice about how and when you can get pregnant. Talk to a health professional—your doctor, school nurse, or nurse practitioner—and parents, if possible, for reliable information about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

The following is a list of myths about sex and pregnancy:

Myths about sex and pregnancy
Myth Truth

You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex.

Getting pregnant has nothing to do with how many times you have sex. If you are near the time of ovulation when you have sexual intercourse, you can get pregnant.

You can't get pregnant if you're very young.

If you have started your periods, you can get pregnant, even if your body is not mature enough to handle the stress of pregnancy. Girls age 10 or 11, or even younger, have become pregnant. You can also get pregnant in the month before you start your first period.

You can't get pregnant if you have sex standing up.

Position has nothing to do with getting pregnant. The egg and sperm can move no matter what position your body is in.

You can't get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Although the chance of getting pregnant at this time is less for most women, if you have short cycles (less than 28 days) or irregular periods, you may be able to get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

You can't get pregnant if you have sex in a hot tub.

If you have unprotected sex, you can get pregnant, regardless of where you are.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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