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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
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.
Remember the ‘fertile window’ is the six days leading up to and including ovulation.
The three days leading up to and including ovulation are the most fertile. Depending on your cycle length the most fertile days in the cycle varies:
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.
"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.
Professor Sarah Robertson, Director of The Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide highlights the key time before pregnancy that your health is most important to ensure your child has the best start to life.
These fertility fact sheets for general public have been developed by the Fertility Coalition in association with the Fertility Society of […]
These useful resources can help you learn more about the lifestyle factors that affect fertility
In a hurry? Take the fast lane from "Your Fertility" to your Doctor.1, 2, 3 go!
When you’re trying to get pregnant, timing is everything, as Justine and Mick are well aware.
Looking to start a family? Fill out the quick questionnaire and make an appointment to see your doctor for a preconception health check.