You might be surprised to learn that there are certain times throughout your cycle where it is much easier to get pregnant, and other times where it can be virtually impossible. The trick is knowing which is which, so you can have the best chances of conception that month.
If you had to guess the best time during your cycle to get pregnant, what would you guess? The days around ovulation, right? It stands to reason that getting pregnant is a matter of getting the sperm to meet up with the egg when it is released. (You’re right about that, by the way.) But there are a few other factors that should weigh in when talking about timing.
Let’s start with some basic facts about women’s cycles. On average, a woman’s cycle will last about 26-34 days, during which her body will release one or two eggs around ovulation. In general, ovulation usually occurs close to the middle of the cycle, about a week or two after her period ends. The most fertile time in a woman’s cycle are usually the few days leading up to ovulation, not after!
If this is your first time hearing this, let’s say it again for emphasis: trying to get pregnant involves more intercourse pre-ovulation than post-ovulation. This is because your body produces fertile cervical fluid in the days leading up to ovulation. This life-sustaining fluid provides a safe passage for sperm to get through the cervix, and can nourish and protect sperm for up to 5 days while it safely waits in the fallopian tubes for the egg’s release. Without this cervical fluid, sperm can die in a matter of hours. This means that having sex up to five days before ovulation can lead to pregnancy, as long you are producing fertile cervical fluid!
Why don’t you have a lot of sex after the egg is released? Seems like that would be the logical thing to do. There are two big reasons why this isn’t as lucrative: once the egg is released, its lifespan without being fertilized is a mere 12 to 24 hours. So, while having sex after ovulation has been confirmed certainly wouldn’t hurt, there’s very little evidence to say that it would actually help. The second reason is that after ovulation, your cervical fluid tends to dry up. This means that any sperm that might have made it to the egg in time have much less of a chance now without the protective advantages of fertile cervical fluid.
In general, the best way to time intercourse for conception is in the days leading up to ovulation, especially the days where your body is producing fertile cervical fluid. Need help figuring out when you’re fertile? Download the Ovatemp App and start tracking!
A little bit about Danielle and how awesome she is!
Danielle learned first about fertility awareness almost three years ago, and has been hooked ever since. After being frustrated by the limited online resources for other women using FAM, she started her own website, Appleseed Fertility. She is passionate as an advocate for using fertility awareness and works to educate women on their bodies, their cycles, and their fertility.