”Finding Out When to Get Pregnant” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional.
Being that my husband and I were married for almost 11 years before our first child was born, I really understand the frustration of infertility. For our first several years of marriage, we were not “trying” to get pregnant but eventually when we did want to increase our family of him and me to him, me, and babies, it caused some depression and sadness between us each month as we weren’t getting pregnant. Finally, after a couple years we were blessed with our first full term baby. I’m so thankful for my kids and am hopeful this article will help you in your quest to have babies of your own.
Getting pregnant is based far more on timing than you might think. There is a stretch of time in each month – or rather in each menstrual cycle – when the life span of sperm after ejaculation in a woman’s body overlaps with the time the egg is viable after ovulation. If you know when this will happen, when your fertile window will be, you can target those six days. This gives you a boosted chance of conceiving compared to people who don’t know when their fertile window is and can’t consciously target it.
Finding Out When You’re Fertile
It’s not always easy to find out when your fertile window will be. It relies on knowing when you’re going to ovulate, and if you have an irregular cycle this can be a difficult date to discover.
If you’re menstrual cycle is reliably regular, with the same number of days passing between the start of your period each time, then it’s relatively easy to find and then predict the date of your ovulation. You can plot your cycle on a calendar – digital or physical – and then look for the half-way point. Most people ovulate roughly halfway through your cycle. Though if you want to use that date to find out when you should get pregnant, you need to be more precise. I actually ovulate very early in my cycle between day 6 and 10 even though I have a regular 28 day cycle. You can take a test to confirm when you’re ovulating, and having found out how soon after your period it is. This can help you predict it in future cycles.
If your cycle is irregular then you need to work a little harder to pinpoint when you’re going to ovulate and therefore when your fertile window will be. Finding the best ovulation test is important: if you’re experiencing an irregular cycle due to a hormone condition like PCOS, then hormone based tests, known as Ovulation Predictor Kits (or OPKs) aren’t as effective for you. If stress is causing your cycle to vary in length, then tracking your BBT – a more demanding method of ovulation prediction – could cause you more stress and exacerbate the irregularity of your cycle.
A more reliable test is to track your progesterone levels – this hormone maps very directly to your body’s preparations for ovulation, and if you have an app or fertility device that will process the results of a serum progesterone test or your core temperature (which changes by tiny amounts as your progesterone levels do), then you can get an accurate prediction of when you ovulate in time to take full advantage of your fertile window.
Calculating Your Fertile Window
When you know the date you ovulate – either from a test or because your cycle is regular enough for you to confidently predict it – you can plot out your fertile window.
Having marked the dates of your period (and therefore the length of your cycle) on the calendar, add the date you’re ovulate. Count back five days from the ovulation date, and highlight it. Then count forward a day from the ovulation date and highlight that – the days between are your fertile window, when you need to be trying to conceive to boost your chances of getting pregnant!
The science-y part of trying to become pregnant can sometimes strip away the fun spark of romance. Keep in mind this is not a “job.” Remember that intimacy is part of your love between you and your partner and it producing a baby is a miracle bonus for this time together. It was sometimes easy for me to forget about enjoying the pleasure of being with my husband while we were first trying to conceive after not getting pregnant for so long. Don’t lose sight of the joy of spending life with the one you love while you waiting for your little addition.