Though it may seem like everyone around you gets pregnant the minute they decide to have a baby, there’s actually only a small amount of time that you can get pregnant each month–less than 24 hours. If you are trying to get pregnant–or want to use natural methods to avoid pregnancy–you need to learn how to pinpoint the time when you are most likely to get pregnant.
Ovulation is the time when your ovaries release an egg, which can meet with your partner’s sperm for fertilization. After ovulation is the only time a woman can become pregnant, although her partner’s sperm can remain viable for up to seven days inside her. If you have a normal 28-day cycle, ovulation typically happens around Day 14, where Day 1 is the first day that you get your period. However, all women are different, and your exact day of ovulation may vary from this average.
A fertility monitor can help you determine your exact day of ovulation. Some work by testing your urine for estrogen and luteinizing hormone levels. Others measure the changes in your sweat. The computerized tool then attempts to tell you when you are likely to ovulate. Fertility monitors are pricey–more than $100, as of 2010–but they work well for some women.
Self-Monitoring Your Fertility
You don’t need a computerized program to tell you when you are most fertile. You can also pay attention to your body to look for the signs. One way to do this is by tracking your basal body temperature every morning. Use a special thermometer to take your temperature first thing in the morning. You can then chart it over time. The day after you ovulate, you’ll see a spike in your temperature. Tracking over time will show you which day of your cycle you are most likely to ovulate. Additionally, you can check your cervical mucus for signs that ovulation is about to occur. To do this, you must insert your finger inside your vagina and swipe around your cervix. When you are close to ovulation, the mucus will look like egg white, and you’ll be able to stretch it between two fingers.
Using these methods to determine the easiest time of the month to get pregnant only works if you have regular cycles. If you frequently skip cycles or the number of days varies greatly, you may have problems ovulating. Talk to your doctor to diagnose any fertility problems.
Improving Your Chances of Conception
The more frequently you have sex, the better your chances of getting pregnant. These methods can predict ovulation, but by the day of ovulation, it may be too late to become pregnant. Your goal should be to have sex a day or two before you ovulate. Additionally, you may want to take efforts to become healthier, which can encourage your body to be a hospitable place for a baby.