To conceive normal babies, a woman must have a healthy body. However, this is not enough. Having sexual intimacy at the right point of time during the monthly reproductive cycle is even more important for conception.
In case you are planning a baby, the best time to get intimate with your partner is during the “fertile period” of your menstrual cycle, around the time when ovulation is about to take place. However, have you ever wondered how to track ovulation? ” It can seem challenging, but isn’t impossible at all.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation refers to the time when the ovary releases a matured egg for fertilization. The matured egg, once released, moves to the Fallopian tube and waits for the sperms to arrive.
Typically, the egg remains available for 12 to 24 hours and there are chances of pregnancy in case a sperm meets the egg during that time period. Ovulation is, thus, one of the most important part of the female menstrual cycle that dictates pregnancy.
Ovulation is characterized by a surge in two hormones released by the pituitary gland – the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The time at which ovulation exactly occurs typically depends on the length of the female menstrual cycle and it may take place between 10th and 19th day into the cycle.
If you wish to know more about how to assess whether you are making eggs normally and ovulating each month or not, click here.
What is Fertile Period? ”
Fertile period specifically refers to those days during a menstrual cycle when the chances of pregnancy are the highest. Also referred to as “fertile window,” the days when there are maximum chances of conception technically includes:
- Five days prior to ovulation
- Actual day of ovulation
This makes up to six days, which includes the maximum lifespan of a sperm (five days) and the egg (one day).
Having a sexual intercourse during the fertile period makes it possible for the egg to meet a sperm in the Fallopian tube. However, if a woman has sex six days before the actual day of ovulation, then there are almost no chances of pregnancy. For a menstrual cycle of 28 days, the following days represent the fertile period, counting day 1 as the first day of menstrual flow:
To roughly calculate your day of egg release or ovulation, subtract 14 days from the expected day of period. For eg if you typically have a 28 day cycle, you would normally ovulate on day 14 of cycle, while if its a 30 day cycle, you would ovulate on day 16 (30-14 days).
Depending on the average length of your cycle, click here to calculate your most fertile days of conceiving each month.
As the sperm can survive inside the body for around 3-4 days, it is not necessary to have intercourse daily during the fertile period. Trying every alternate day during your fertile period is good enough, and if possible, daily on the 3 most fertile days.
It’s very important to understand that the egg survives or is fertilizable for only 12-24 hours after its release, so if you keep waiting for the day of ovulation to arrive before you have intercourse it may already be late as even the next day after ovulation the fertility potential would go down dramatically.
We also need to be realistic and understand that for us humans, the maximal chance of conception every month (fecundity) for even the most fertile couples, with the best of intercourse timing, is still around 20-25%, so do not get disheartened if it doesn’t work out for you in 2-3 cycles.
If you have no other problems, have regular menses and timed intercourse, and still fail to get pregnant after 6 months or so, you should consider seeing an infertility specialist for further evaluation.
Click here to check if you need medical help to assess yourself with “Do I need medical help” calculator.