Find out what time of the month you are most likely to get pregnant and how you can maximise your chances.
When you're trying to get pregnant you'll hear advice from all corners about how to conceive. Some advice might conflict with other advice, leaving you unsure of when really is the best time to have sex to enhance your chances of getting pregnant. However by keeping in mind a few simple guidelines you should be able to separate fact from fiction.
How can I conceive?
First things first: to get pregnant, you will have to have sex as near to the point of ovulation as possible. Ovulation is the most fertile stage in your cycle because it is the point at which an egg is released from your ovaries. By having sex around this time you will increase the chances of sperm being ready to fertilise the egg when it is released from your ovaries.
As sperm can live in your body for up to 7 days, experts agree that it's a good idea to have sex a couple of days before you ovulate. However, this doesn't mean that you should only have sex on the days around ovulation.
Doing so will probably make baby-making a lot more regimented and a lot less fun for both of you - plus you can in fact increase your chances by having regular sex all month round.
At least 2-3 times a week is a good guide to go by, so that intercourse and the release of sperm has more of a chance of coinciding with your ovulation.
When will I ovulate?
Of course this is hard to predict, and the time of ovulation will be different for every woman according to her cycle. On average the menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, although this can vary widely from one woman to the next. One cycle lasts from the start of your period to the day before your period of the next month. It may help to start counting the days between your periods to see how long your cycle is.
On average ovulation happens about 14 days into your cycle - so this means about 2 weeks after the day your period starts. However this is only a guideline and for those who have irregular periods, ovulation can be even harder to predict. Luckily there are some natural signs
you can look out for that may indicate you are approaching ovulation, which is the most fertile time of the month. You may notice:
- Your breasts feel tender or sore
- You feel some slight discomfort on one side of your abdomen
- Your libido is heightened
By no means are these a sure-fire indication that you are ovulating, but if you pay attention to your body's goings-on from one month to the next you should see some patterns emerging. It may help to note down anything you notice from week to week, so that you can review it at the end of the month and see what conclusions you can draw.
Another thing worth paying attention to is cervical mucus
, as this can tell you a lot about what stage of your cycle you are in. Towards ovulation the mucus, which acts as a barrier between your cervix and your womb, will start to thin and you may notice a milky discharge. The mucus thins during ovulation to allow sperm easier access to your egg, making it the prime time for conception.
You might also want to try ovulation kits
which can help you detect the time at which your ovaries will release an egg.
How else can I increase my chances?
You can also increase your chances of getting pregnant by making sure you are getting plenty of exercise
, eating lots of fruit and leafy greens
, and minimising stress
as much as possible.
Finally, remember that getting pregnant is always a matter of chance and there is no guaranteed way to conceive. Though there are lots of different methods out there to help you time your ovulation down to the minute, the best approach to take is to have sex regularly throughout the month and attempt to keep it as fun and stress-free as possible. That way when you do ovulate, sperm is more likely to be at the ready to fertilise your egg, and result in pregnancy.