When we're trying to conceive, many of us drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out exactly when we're most likely to get pregnant. We buy ovulation prediction kits, we download apps that promise to show us our Peak Day, and we tell our partners that they have to be "on call" when we think we're ovulating. It may sound counter-intuitive, but attempting to predict or pinpoint your exact day of ovulation is not necessary for becoming pregnant. And being fixated on it may actually hurt your chances, if you aren't having intercourse throughout your potential fertile window. Fortunately, there are simple, effective guidelines that can help you take much of the stress out of trying to get pregnant.
General Guidelines for Getting Pregnant Quickly
It is helpful - and a relief - to know that when women target intercourse for the high-probability time of their cycles, they become pregnant as quickly as when they try to plan for an exact day of ovulation. Experts recommend that you have intercourse two to three times a week during your potentially fertile time, so you can be confident that you won't be missing your opportunity to conceive that cycle. With this plan, most fertile women achieve pregnancy in one to three months, and if you are not pregnant in six months, it's time for a fertility evaluation for both you AND your partner.
How can you identify your potentially fertile days?
While there are only six days during your cycle when pregnancy is possible (the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation), these days move around from one cycle to the next and it's not possible to identify in advance exactly when these six days will occur. There are a few different approaches to identifying your potentially fertile days - the three with which we work are Standard Days Method®, Dynamic Optimal Timing™, and TwoDay Method®. Other fertility awareness methods require more extensive tracking, such as taking your temperature daily and checking cervical position. All scientifically based fertility awareness methods identify approximately 10-14 days as potentially fertile during a given cycle.
Keep in mind, it's not only ovulation that determines whether you can get pregnant. There are other factors that play a role during any particular cycle, such as sperm quality, receptivenss of the uterus, and so on. But by and large, if you begin by targeting your high probability days, you can take away the uncertainty of predicting when you can get pregnant.
Ok. So to recap - here's a quick run down for you blog scanners:
1. Don't stress.
2. Have sex regularly on potentially fertile days.
3. Focusing too much on your exact day of ovulation may actually hurt your chances of conceiving.
4. If you're not preggers within 6 months of trying, then you AND your partner should have a check up.
5. Have fun.
Arevalo M, Sinai I, Jennings V. A fixed formula to define the fertile window of the menstrual cycle as the basis of a simple method of natural family planning. Contraception 2000;60:357-60
Survey of CycleBeads users trying to conceive; 2012
Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation: effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy nd sex of hte baby. N Engl J Med 1995;333:517-21
Wilcox AJ, Dunson D, Baird DD. The timing of the "fertile window" in the menstrual cycle: day specific edstimates from a prospective study. BMJ 2000;321:1259-62
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