A woman who is part of a reproductively healthy couple (one where neither partner has fertility problems) has about a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each month when contraceptive measures are not used. Therefore, it should not be a concern if a woman trying to get pregnant does not succeed right away. Many different biological factors must coordinate properly in order to conceive and timing is a very important consideration.
When Is a Woman Most Fertile?
While fertility varies somewhat from woman to woman and conception can occur at any time, the fertility cycle typically follows a predictable pattern. A fertility calendar can be used to chart this cycle. Each month, the four days in which a woman is most likely to become pregnant are those immediately preceding and following ovulation. These days usually occur in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation refers to the release of a mature egg or ovum, which can be fertilized by sperm from a male.
To best capitalize on a woman's fertility period, intercourse should begin before ovulation since sperm survive an average of three to four days in the fallopian tubes. This enables sperm to travel into position to fertilize the egg. The ovum can be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours after being released from the ovaries.
Monitoring Your Fertility Cycle
For couples trying to get pregnant, paying close attention to the woman's menstrual cycle is often the first and most important step toward a successful conception. Understanding the fertility cycle of the woman through fertility charting can be extremely helpful for couples. By paying close attention to subtle changes in the woman's body using fertility monitors or an ovulation calendar, a couple can predict, to some extent, the best times of the month to try to conceive, increasing their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Select the first day of your last period to see which days are the most fertile.
An ovulation calculator operates on the principle that relatively regular menstrual cycles can be used to predict the most likely time of ovulation. Basically, an ovulation calculator takes the same information that can be gleaned from an ovulation calendar and determines fertility mathematically rather than by charting dates.
An ovulation calendar, also called a fertility calendar, is an aid that can be used by those trying to get pregnant. By charting certain information, the peak of the fertility cycle, the most likely time to conceive, can be calculated. Your fertility calendar should include the following information:
- Basal body temperature
- Details on cervical mucus and cervical position
- The length of your menstrual cycle
- The date of your last period
The three main fertility signs are basal body temperature (the temperature of the body immediately following the longest sleep period of the day), cervical mucus, and cervical position. Keeping track of these three signals on a fertility calendar, and noting any patterns or marked changes, will make it easier for a couple to conceive.
A fertility monitor is an electronic device that measures the changes that take place in a woman's body during ovulation and alerts users when they have the best chance to conceive. There are many different types of fertility monitors, from inexpensive kits that allow patients to monitor subtle changes in the structure of their saliva during ovulation to pricier but easier-to-use devices that electronically monitor estrogen levels in the saliva and vaginal fluids. Fertility monitors can give accurate and immediate readings on the readiness of a body to conceive. Fertility monitors can be used instead of fertility charting or in conjunction as part of a more thorough conception strategy.
The following signs may indicate that a woman is ovulating:
- Changes in cervical mucus
- Position and feel of the cervix
- Increased basal body temperature
- Increased sexual arousal
- Tenderness of the breasts
The Conception Process
Understanding the process of conception can help you when trying to get pregnant. For conception to occur an egg must be present, which is released when a woman ovulates. Ovulation is the process of a mature egg breaking free from the ovary, traveling down the fallopian tube, and being available for fertilization.
Ovulation is stimulated by the pituitary gland's release of luteinizing hormone (LH) midway through a woman's menstrual cycle (11 to 21 days after the first day of a woman's menstrual period). Conception is most likely to occur around the time of ovulation. Sperm can live inside the female body for up to three days, but each mature egg can only be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours after it is released from the ovary.
Find a Fertility Clinic
If you are having trouble conceiving, contact a fertility clinic in your area. A fertility doctor can run tests to see if you are suffering from fertility problems, and recommend fertility treatments to boost your chances of conception.