Conceiving a child is a momentous decision for an individual/a couple. While many factors contribute to successful conception, understanding the best time to conceive is crucial to maximising the chances of becoming pregnant.
Fertility is a complex interplay of various biological factors, and knowing when the body is most receptive can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle plays a central role in fertility and conception. On average, the menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, although it can vary from woman to woman. The cycle is divided into two main phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
Follicular Phase: This phase begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts until ovulation. During this period, the body releases follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) that stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles, each containing an egg. While multiple follicles may begin to mature, typically, only one becomes dominant, while the others regress.
Ovulation: Around the middle of the menstrual cycle, usually between days 12 and 16 for a 28-day cycle, the dominant follicle releases a mature egg in a process called ovulation. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube, where it has the potential to be fertilized by sperm.
Luteal Phase: After ovulation, the luteal phase commences. During this time, the empty follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, which releases progesterone to prepare the uterus for potential implantation. If fertilization does not occur, hormone levels drop, and menstruation begins anew.
The best time to get pregnant is during your fertile window. This may differ for every woman as it is dependent on the length of your menstrual cycle. The fertile window is described as the day that an egg is released from the ovary (otherwise known as ovulation) and the 5 /6 days beforehand. Having sex during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant.
How do you increase your chances of getting pregnant?
Having unprotected sex every 2-3 days a week starting soon after your period ends will increase your chances of conception.
If you are trying to get pregnant then timing is everything, sperm can live for around 5 days, but eggs can only be fertilised for 24 hours after being released from the ovary. The eggs and the sperm need to come together at the right time for ovulation to happen to create an embryo.
How long will it take to get pregnant?
Some women will get pregnant quicker than others, approx. 80% of couples will conceive within a year of having regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
The time it takes to get pregnant depends on factors such as
- Family and medical history
Do irregular periods make it harder to get pregnant?
Irregular periods can make it more difficult to know when you are ovulating. It is worth seeing the doctor if:
- Your periods suddenly become irregular.
- Your periods are less than 21 days and more than 35 days apart.
- Your periods last longer than seven days.
- You are struggling to conceive.
While some women may experience physical signs of ovulation, such as changes in cervical mucus or mild pelvic discomfort, predicting ovulation with precision can be challenging.
There are several methods available to assist in identifying the fertile window:
- Tracking Basal Body Temperature (BBT): Measuring BBT each morning before getting out of bed can help pinpoint the time of ovulation. A slight rise in BBT typically occurs after ovulation.
- Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs): These kits detect the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) that precedes ovulation, providing a more accurate prediction of fertile days.
- Cervical Mucus Monitoring: Observing changes in cervical mucus can indicate when ovulation is approaching. During fertile days, mucus becomes clearer and thinner.
Fertility Apps: Several smartphone apps are available that help track menstrual cycles, BBT, and other fertility-related data to predict ovulation.
If you and your partner have any questions related to family forming and have access to myTamarin fertility support with your employer book in a 1-1 consultation with a fertility expert, or have a chat with them via the app.
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