The start of a monthly period signals the beginning of a complex cycle that can end with or without pregnancy. For women who are trying to get pregnant, understanding this cycle and the role menstruation plays is crucial. Knowing when to have sexual intercourse after your period can increase the chances that you’ll get pregnant quickly.
The Menstruation Cycle
To prepare for possible pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a series of hormonal and physical changes. Once per month, the uterus lining thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg. When no fertilized egg is present, the uterus lining is shed. This shedding is called menstruation, or a period, and the time between periods is the menstrual cycle. The first day of shedding, or bleeding, occurs on day 1 of the menstrual cycle. According to the American Pregnancy Association, an average menstrual cycle is between 28 and 32 days, although some women may have shorter or longer cycles. Between days 11 and 21 of an average cycle, an egg is released from an ovary. This is referred to as ovulation. A woman is most likely to get pregnant during ovulation, or roughly 11 to 21 days after the first day of her last period.
Timing Intercourse with Ovulation
Timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation increases your chances of getting pregnant. An egg lives for 12 to 24 hours after being released from an ovary and ejaculated sperm can live for up to five days in a woman’s body. For women who have a normal cycle, having intercourse every few days starting from the 11th day after the first day of menstruation, until the 21st day after the first day of menstruation, will increase the likelihood of pregnancy.
Chances of Getting Pregnant
According to BabyCenter, couples who time sexual intercourse to coincide with ovulation get pregnant faster. In fact, 38 percent of couples who have sex during ovulation will get pregnant after one menstrual cycle and 93 percent get pregnant after 12 cycles. In comparison, of all couples who are trying to get pregnant, 30 percent get pregnant during the first cycle and 85 percent get pregnant within 12 cycles.
Increasing Chances of Pregnancy
Having intercourse a few days before ovulation occurs and on the day you ovulate maximizes your chances of getting pregnant. Pinpointing how many days after your period you ovulate is vital to increasing the likelihood of pregnancy. Charting your basal body temperature can help you pinpoint ovulation. For some woman, when their daily morning temperature dips, it can indicate ovulation. Monitoring cervical mucus can also help you to know when ovulation is occurring. When cervical mucus resembles uncooked egg whites, you may be ovulating. Ovulation predictor tests that detect the luteinizing hormone, a hormone that rises just prior to ovulation, are also available for purchase.
Every woman is different. Women may get a monthly period when they are not ovulating and may ovulate when they do not get a monthly period. If you are trying not to get pregnant after your period, using birth control is strongly advised. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and have not been successful, you may wish to consult your gynecologist or a fertility specialist for assistance.