Apart from being healthy, what might help you get pregnant? Sex! (Or intercourse at the right time, to be technical about it.)
The best time to try and conceive is during the ‘fertile window’ of the menstrual cycle; this is different for different women.
We’re talking about the days in a woman’s menstrual cycle when pregnancy is possible. Pregnancy is technically only possible during the five days before ovulation through to the day of ovulation.
These six days are the ‘fertile window’ in a woman’s cycle, and reflect the lifespan of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of the ovum (24 hours).
If a woman has sex six or more days before she ovulates, the chance she will get pregnant is virtually zero. If she has sex five days before she ovulates, her probability of pregnancy is about 10%.
The probability of pregnancy rises steadily until the two days before and including the day of ovulation.
At the end of the ‘fertile window’, the probability of pregnancy declines rapidly and by 12-24 hours after she ovulates, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that cycle.
For those women who are not aware of their ‘fertile window’ or when they ovulate, sexual intercourse is recommended every 2 to 3 days to help optimise their chance of conceiving.
The likelihood of actually becoming pregnant is dramatically increased if you have intercourse in the three days leading up to and including ovulation.
Adapted from data by Wilcox, A.J. et al. NEJM (1995) 333:1517
"The best time to try to conceive is day 14 of your menstrual cycle. "
The only time a woman can conceive is during the ‘fertile window’ of the menstrual cycle. This window will vary depending on the individual’s cycle, however timing intercourse in the 6 days leading up to and including ovulation is the window with highest chance of conception.
Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary, moves down the fallopian tube, and is available in the fallopian tube to be fertilised.
If you have a 28 day cycle, with ovulation typically happening on day 14, the ‘fertile window’ starts on day 12. If you have longer cycles, say 35 days between periods and ovulation happens on day 21, the ‘fertile window’ starts on day 19. If you have very short cycles, say 21 days and ovulation happens on day 7, your ‘fertile window’ would start on day 5.
Women’s cycles can vary and are not always as regular as clockwork, so to know that you are ovulating and on which day of your cycle you are ovulating, observe your fertility signs throughout your cycle and record them on a chart.
The most accurate methods of working out when ovulation is about to occur are:
Kerry Hampton, a registered nurse and fertility specialist, discusses the importance of fertility awareness, and how to determine your fertile window to improve your chances of conceiving.
When you’re trying to get pregnant, timing is everything, as Justine and Mick are well aware.