Myth: I can get pregnant any day of my cycle.
Truth: There are only a limited number of days during a woman's cycle when pregnancy is possible.
Many women grow up hearing that they can get pregnant any day of the month. This is usually information given to them by well meaning, but protective adults who may themselves be misinformed. The fact is that there are only a limited number of days each cycle when a woman can get pregnant - the five days before she ovulates and the 24 hours after she ovulates. These six days are the only fertile days of a woman's cycle and they take into account the lifespan of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of the ovum (24 hours).
When is Ovulation?
Ovulation usually occurs around the mid-point of a woman's cycle, approximately 14 days before her next period begins, but it does not always occur on precisely the same day each cycle. This variability makes many people nervous about trying to "predict" ovulation and has been one reason that women are so often told that they can get pregnant at anytime. However, the timing of ovulation has been well researched and as the graph below shows, most women ovulate at or near the midpoint of their cycles.
How Can I Use This Information to Plan or Prevent Pregnancy?
The Standard Days Method, the family planning method on which the family planning option CycleBeads is based, identifies days 8 - 19 as the potentially fertile days for women with cycles between 26 and 32 days long. This fertile window takes into account the variation in the timing of ovulation from one cycle to the next, the lifespan of the sperm and ovum, as well as cycle lengths for the majority of women*.
Efficacy studies conducted by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University have shown that when women avoid unprotected intercourse on these potentially fertile days, they are very unlikely to become pregnant.
* According to analysis of data from the World Health Organization conducted by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, approximately 80% of cycles are in the 26-32 day range.
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