Many people have only a vague understanding of a woman’s menstrual cycle and when she is most likely to get pregnant.
For people trying for a baby, it helps to know when a woman is most fertile and when to have sex to increase their chances of having a baby.
Knowing when’s the right time
When a woman ovulates, an egg is released from the ovary and if there is sperm waiting around at that time there is a good chance that it will be fertilised and grow into a baby over the next nine months.
Ovulation happens about 14 days before a period starts, but women’s menstrual cycles are not all the same length. To work out the day of ovulation, it helps to know how to count the days in a menstrual cycle. A cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the day before the next period. So, the day a woman’s ovulation occurs depends on the length of her cycle.
Conception is possible during the ‘fertile window’ – the five days leading up to, plus the day of ovulation. There is even more chance of a woman becoming pregnant if she has sex during the two days leading up to or on the day of ovulation.
Women who have a period every 28 days will ovulate around day 14 and their best chance of conceiving is between days 11 and 14. For a woman whose cycle is 24 days, ovulation happens around day 10 and her most fertile days are between days 7 and 10, while someone who has a 35 day cycle will be most fertile between days 18 and 21.
Noticing when it’s the right time
A woman’s body goes through changes at different stages of her cycle. Knowing how it changes when ovulation is approaching can be really helpful. A few days before ovulation the vaginal mucus changes and becomes clear and slippery – a bit like egg white and perfect for sperm to swim along! When you notice this change, it’s time for sex.
Getting technology involved
For people who want to be precise about things, an ovulation predictor kit, available at any pharmacy or supermarket, can be useful.
A few days before she thinks she will be ovulate, a woman can test her urine. When the test turns positive it means that ovulation is likely to occur in the next 24-36 hours which means it’s time for sex.
If all this seems too hard, then the best thing to do is to have sex every two to three days to cover all bases and to increase the chance of conceiving. This might also be the best approach for women whose cycles are not regular.
So, armed with this new information, for those of you who are trying to have a baby, get ready for the next fertile window and good luck.