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    5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Period

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    Think you know Aunt Flo? Women have about 450 periods during their lifetimes, which means you have plenty of chances to get acquainted.

    Even so, your period can still manage to surprise you-and not just by showing up when you least expect it.

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    Here are five facts you may not have known about your monthly visitor.

    1. You can get pregnant during your period.

    It’s time to squash the age-old myth: Your period doesn’t protect you from pregnancy.

    There are a few reasons why. First, some women may bleed when their ovaries release an egg each month, called ovulation, and mistake it for their periods. You’re at your peak fertility when you ovulate, so having sex during this time could actually make you more likely to get pregnant.

    Second, you may ovulate before your period is over or within a few days after the bleeding stops. Since sperm can hang out in your body for up to 3 days, having sex during your period could lead to conception.

    The bottom line: Use a condom to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, no matter what time of the month it is.

    2. The period you get while on the pill isn’t a 'true' period.

    Sure, you bleed during the week that you take the sugar pills, but technically that’s “monthly withdrawal bleeding.” It’s slightly different than a regular period.

    Normally, you ovulate in the middle of your menstrual cycle. If the egg your ovaries release isn’t fertilized, your hormone levels drop, causing you to shed the lining inside your uterus, and you get your period.

    Birth control pills, though, prevent ovulation. With most types, you take hormones for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of pills without them. Though they keep your body from releasing an egg, they don’t prevent it from building up the lining of your uterus all month. The period-like bleeding during that fourth week is your body’s reaction to the lack of hormones from the last week of the pill.

    3. Your period changes throughout your life.

    Just when you start to feel like you can predict exactly when your period is going to show, everything can change. For that, you can thank the hormone shifts that happen throughout your lifetime.

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