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Which are the best days to get pregnant?

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 08, 2021

A lot of women worldwide face a lot of difficulties to get pregnant. According to WHO, the incidence of primary infertility in India is 3.9% to 16%. Overall, about 15% of couples face difficulty in conceiving worldwide. There are many reasons that could be responsible for this. One of these is when you don’t properly plan the pregnancy. While a simple sexual intercourse may lead to a pregnancy in many women, it is important to note that this is not always the case. The timing of intercourse plays a very important role in determining whether or not a woman will conceive from that sexual act.

The question that arises here, is how do you know when you have a higher chance of getting pregnant? What can you do to improve your chances of getting pregnant? We will aim to answer a lot of these questions through this article. So, if you are someone who is trying to conceive, you have landed at the perfect page.

When is a woman most fertile?

Well, in order to understand fertility, it is important to have a basic idea about the menstruation and the phases of menstrual cycle. A menstrual cycle is typically 22-35 days long i.e the interval between the first day of two consecutive cycles is normally 22-35 days.This interval is divided into two parts:

  • Follicular phase- This is the phase when the egg is growing in the ovary and lasts from the first day of the period till the day that the egg is released from the ovary
  • Luteal phase- This is the phase from the release of the egg to the first day of the next period. Typically , this phase is about 14-15 days long & the variation in the length of menstrual cycle is because of the variation in the duration of the follicular phase.This implies that no matter when the egg is released from the ovary, if it is not fertilized, the woman will get her period after 14 -15 days.

Additionally, the sperms can survive in the female reproductive tract for upto 5 days. Hence your chances of conceiving are highest if you have intercourse within 4-5 days of ovulation including the day of ovulation. This is also called the ‘fertile window’ or ‘fertile period’. The fertile window varies from one woman to another depending on the length of her menstrual cycle. For instance, if you have a 28 days’ cycle, the ovulation would happen on the 14th day and so the fertile period will be from 10th to 15th day , counting from the first day of your period. However, if the length of your menstrual cycle is short ( varying from 22-26 days), the ovulation may take place anytime between the 8th- 12th day of the menstrual cycle and if the length of the menstrual cycle is long( 34-38 days), the ovulation may happen even as late as the 20th - 24th day of the cycle. So your fertile days would be the 5 days leading upto the day of ovulation & including the ovulation day. Knowing about your fertile period can actually help you to plan a pregnancy and also to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Unfortunately, if you have irregular periods or delayed periods, this method will not be of much help to you. So in case your periods are irregular, it is best to have regular intercourse every 2nd or 3rd day throughout the month to maximize your chances of getting pregnant

Quick Fact

If you have sex close to your ovulation date, it can increase your chances of getting pregnant.

How can you identify whether ovulation is happening or not?

Since these processes happen inside the body, it is difficult to be sure of the exact date of ovulation without the help of an ultrasound or other tests. Nonetheless, there are certain practices and methods you can try to predict an approximate date of the ovulation.

  1. Cervical mucus: Cervical mucus is the fluid produced by the cervix and serves to modulate the movement of sperms into the reproductive tract, helps fight infections and keeps the cervix & vagina moist . It changes in consistency, colour & texture in response to the hormonal variations throughout the menstrual cycle. In the days soon after your period is over, the cervical mucus is thick, gluey , sticky & yellowish in colour. The cervical mucus then becomes watery, thin & strechy , just like egg-white in the days surrounding the ovulation period. This is the time when you are most fertile and should try for pregnancy. Soon after the ovulation, the mucus again becomes sticky, thicker & scanty so as to become almost negligible in the days immediately before your next period. So, you can track the consistency , colour & amount of cervical mucus to figure out your fertile days and try for pregnancy accordingly .
  2. Basal body temperature: Basal body temperature ( BBT) is the temperature of your body taken when you are rested. Hence it is checked at the same time everyday in the morning when you wake up, before you get out of bed. Your body temperature decreases a little just before ovulation & subsequently, rises by 0.5°C to 1°C after ovulation. This rise in temperature is sustained until just before your next period. So, tracking your BBT will give you an indication when the ovulation is likely to happen and you can try for pregnancy within 24 hours of ovulation.
  3. Ovulation tests: There are ovulation tests kits available in the market, that can be used to predict ovulation by testing a urine sample. These are similar to home pregnancy test kits. These tests help you to determine the rise of the Luteinizing hormone ( LH) in your urine sample. The surge in LH is usually followed by ovulation within the next 36 hours and so the day that you notice 2 lines on the test kit after using the urine sample will help you determine the timing of ovulation and you should try for pregnancy within the next 12-36 hours.
  4. Pain in the abdomen: Many women feel discomfort and pain in the abdomen at the time of ovulation. This is also known as Mittelschmerz which means ‘middle pain’ in German as it happens roughly in the middle of the menstrual cycle. This could be a sign of ovulation if you notice it over a period of few months & understand the character of the pain.
  5. Breast changes: Just before ovulation you might feel heaviness in your breasts. Your nipples and breasts might feel achy and tender. This heaviness and tenderness is because of the water retention & hormonal changes that occur around the time of ovulation and can last for a few days just before your next period.
  6. With the technology advancing many folds, there is no limit to how technology can help you to properly track your menstrual cycle. Nowadays, we even have mobile phone apps that can help you to calculate the ovulation date. You can feed any changes that your body has been through in the app and it will calculate the ovulation date for you. You can feed information like your mood changes , any symptoms that you are facing, any medication you are taking in case you are sick, etc.
  7. Other factors that can help you to determine the period during which you are ovulating are:
  • Strong sense of smell – Some women experience a heightened sense of smell around the time of ovulation. A study published in 2013 claimed that women are more sensitive to smell of musk, male hormones & other odours around the time of ovulation. This is because nature influences our bodies in a way that favours reproduction.
  • Increased sex drive- It has been proven that women have an increased sexual drive during the days when ovulation is imminent. This is again, a physiological adaptation to promote procreation and continuity of species.

How often should you have sex in order to get pregnant?

There are no limits or a certain count to have sex in order to ensure pregnancy. You might feel that having sex very frequently can increase the chance of getting pregnant but sometimes, it can also result in low sperm count in each ejaculate of semen. At the same time, abstaining from engaging in sexual intercourse and only having sex during ovulation can result in low sperm motility. Sometimes, you may miscalculate your ovulation date and may miss the fertile window completely, especially if you have irregular periods. Hence, if you are trying for pregnancy, it is better to have frequent intercourse not only during your fertile period, but also have regular intercourse every 2-3 days throughout the month. You can also speak to your doctor about this and you can ask questions regarding any specific personal concerns that you might have.

How long does it take to get pregnant?

Once a man ejaculates, the sperms swim out and directly reach the fallopian tubes via the cervical mucus. Sperms can stay alive inside the body for up to 5 days. If you have had ovulation, there is a good chance that at least one sperm will attach to the egg.

When a sperm attaches to an egg in the reproductive tract, the fertilised zygote travels to the uterus and implants itself in the uterine lining. This marks the beginning of a pregnancy. The process of a sperm attaching to an egg & then implantation, can take anywhere between 6-12 days.

For a normal couple, where both the male & the female partner are healthy and fertile, the chances of pregnancy in a single menstrual cycle are actually only ~30%. This rate of conception is cumulative & most couples conceive within 6-12 months of trying actively for pregnancy. According to statistics, 75% couples conceive within 6 months and 90% conceive within 1 year of trying. So don’t lose heart if you don’t get pregnant in the first month of trying to conceive. Keep trying regularly every month , keep the faith & you are sure to succeed.

If you don’t get pregnant in spite of trying actively for 12 months, you should reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider and have a detailed discussion about the same. Your doctor may advise you and your partner to undergo certain tests to check if there are any underlying problems that need to be addressed to help you get pregnant soon.

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 08, 2021

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