Timing is really important if you want to conceive. Knowing the right time to get pregnant will help you know when to have sex.
The ‘fertile window’ is the days in a woman’s menstrual cycle when pregnancy is possible. The ‘fertile window’ depends on the length of the menstrual cycle, which varies among women.
The ‘fertile window’ is the day an egg is released from the ovary (ovulation) and the five days beforehand. Having sex (intercourse) during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant.
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Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary. The egg then moves down the Fallopian tube where it can be fertilized. If sperm are in the Fallopian tube when the egg is released, there is a good chance that the egg will be fertilized, creating an embryo, which can grow into a baby.
Pregnancy is technically only possible if you have sex during the five days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation. But the most fertile days are the three days leading up to and including ovulation. Having sex during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant.
By 12-24 hours after ovulation, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that menstrual cycle because the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube.
There’s almost no chance of getting pregnant if you have sex before or after the fertile window.
Knowing when you ovulate can help you plan for sex at the right time and improve your chance of getting pregnant. You can keep track of your menstrual cycles on a chart, in a diary, or on a free period-tracker app on your smartphone.
To work out the length of your menstrual cycle, record the first day you start bleeding (first day of your period). This is day 1. The last day of your cycle is the day before your next period begins.
Here are several ways to figure out when ovulation happens:
- Menstrual cycle. Ovulation typically happens around day 14 of a 28-day menstrual cycle, counting from the first day of your period.
- Vaginal discharge. There’s likely more of it around the time of ovulation. It’s usually more clear and more slippery.
- Using at-home trackers. Over-the-counter (OTC) options include ovulation predictor kits and fertility monitors.
Using several of these methods together is more likely to give you an accurate answer.
If your period is irregular or absent, this may be a sign that you are not ovulating each month.
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