When Is A Woman Most Fertile?
Get the Timing Right
What might maximize your chances in getting pregnant, besides of course being in optimal health? Well, sex obviously! Or, if we are getting technical, intercourse at the exact right time. This article will serve as a guide to women everywhere wanting to learn more about their ovulation cycle.
When Are You Most Fertile?
The best time to try to conceive a baby is during the ‘fertile window’ of a woman’s menstrual cycle; this is different for most women. When we say ‘fertile window,’ we are talking about the days in a woman’s cycle where she is the most fertile and pregnancy is possible. Technically speaking, you can only get pregnant during the five days before ovulation all the way through to the day that you ovulate.
These six days are what’s considered your ‘fertile window’ in your menstrual cycle. The fertile window mirrors the lifespan of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of an ovum (24 hours). To put this into perspective, if a woman has sex six or more days before she ovulates, she has almost zero chance of getting pregnant.
However, having sex five days before ovulation increases chances to 10%. This increases steadily, the probability of pregnancy rising until two days before and including the day she ovulates. Once this period ends, the probability of a woman conceiving declines precipitously—12 to 24 hours after she has ovulated, a woman can no longer get pregnant during that cycle.
But…When Does Ovulation Occur?
You can, at the very least, take some of the guess work out of determining when you are most fertile by following these steps:
- Start Tracking Your Periods On A Calendar
Do you know if your cycle is regular? How many days elapse between periods? This crucial information is a must-know before you move any further. If you aren’t sure, you can find out by:
- On the first day you get your period, mark your calendar. Count every day until your next period arrives. (Beginning at day one again.)
- Do this for three to four months to get an accurate measure of both the length and regularity of your menstrual cycle. On average, a menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but this can range from 23 to 35 days in length. Cycles can also vary in length from month to month.
- Calculate The Days That You Ovulate
The big secret to successfully getting pregnant is to have sex during that small window of time in the ovulation cycle when an egg is released from one of your ovaries and moves into the fallopian tube. Sounds complicated and daunting, right? Let’s break this down and make it a little easier:
- If you determined from Step 1 that your cycles are regular, you can determine ovulation by doing simple math—in the average menstrual cycle, a woman will ovulate 14 days before she begins menstruating. So, day 14 of a 28 day cycle. Subtract 14 days from the length of your cycle, you’ll get an idea of when you ovulate every month.
- If you determined from Step 1 that you have an irregular cycle or would just like a more accurate picture of your fertile window and ovulation you can pinpoint it more accurately by:
- Tracking your temperature. One tip off that ovulation has occurred is that your resting body temperature (the basal body temperature) increases slightly. By using a fertility computer like Daysy, you can detect this thermal shift of sorts by taking your temperature every morning when you wake up. Daysy will help you chart your cycles and will help you see the patterns that will predict your ovulation with a 99.4% accuracy—most women have temperature spikes of about a half of a degree 24-48 hours after ovulation.
- Get Down! It’s Time to Have Sex (At the Right Time!)
Once you’ve gotten a clear picture of your ovulation cycle, it’s time to get down to business! Many people misunderstand this part of getting pregnant—if you have intercourse once you’ve ovulated, you may be too late. It’s best to have sex every day or every other day starting at about five days before you ovulate. Even though sperm can live as long as three to five days inside of a woman’s body, an egg’s lifespan is about 12-24 hours. By having intercourse before you ovulate, the day of ovulation, and the day after, you maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
Don’t worry about having frequent sex—it won’t deplete the man’s sperm supply. Healthy testes constantly generate fresh sperm, so daily sex shouldn’t pose a problem.
Take this time to enjoy your partner and the experience that you’re sharing together! You’re making a baby, have fun!