Do you know when are you most fertile? Check out these top 10 questions about fertility and pregnancy timing.

You have decided to start a family and embark on the exciting pregnancy journey. One of the most important aspects of this journey is to find out when are you most fertile so that you can try to conceive during that time. There is a duration called the fertile window when you are most fertile and has a high chance of getting pregnant. By understanding your fertile window, you can plan the right time to have sex and maximise the chances of conceiving. Here are some commonly asked questions about ovulation, fertile window, and fertility.

1. What is ovulation?

Ovulation is when your body releases an egg from your ovary every month for fertilisation. It happens during the mid of your menstrual cycle and lasts only for a day. On an average, most women have their ovulation around the mid-cycle or the 14th day of a 28-days cycle. However, it can vary according to women. Some may ovulate earlier or later, depending on their cycle’s duration.

2. How can I determine when I am ovulating?

There are a few ways to determine ovulation:

–       Tracking the menstrual cycle

One of the most common and easy ways to know your ovulation day is by tracking your menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle. If your menstruation cycle lasts 30 days, then the ovulation day may occur between the 14th to 16th day.

–       Basal body temperature becomes high

Basal body temperature is the temperature when your body is on complete rest. It increases when you are nearing ovulation. Typically, body temperature will be around 35.5 °C to 36.6 °C before ovulation. During ovulation, the temperature will be higher than usual. You may be nearing ovulation if your body is heaty some days after menstruating. It is best to keep track of your body temperature in the morning before you get out of bed.

–       Cervical mucus changes to a wetter texture

Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the cervix. During the fertile window, the mucus becomes clearer, wetter, and stickier. It also has a raw egg-white texture which enables the intercourse to be smoother.

3. When are you most fertile?

You are most fertile during your fertile window, which includes the days leading up to ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. The fertile window lasts about 5-7 days for most women and occurs during the mid-cycle. If you have intimate relations during this time, your chances of getting pregnant are high. It’s important to remember that every woman’s cycle is different, and tracking ovulation can help you determine the timing of your fertile window. In addition, a fertility calculator or ovulation calculator can help you determine your fertile window, provided that your menstrual cycles are regular and ovulation occurs regularly. To use the calculator, you simply need to input the first day of your last menstrual cycle and your average cycle length, and it will estimate your fertile window.

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4. Should I have sexual intercourse daily during my fertile window?

It is not necessary to have intercourse every day during the fertile window. However, it is important to have intercourse regularly during the fertile window to increase the chances of conception. Typically, the fertile window is the six-day period that ends around the day of ovulation. The optimal time to have intercourse is in the days leading up to ovulation when you are most fertile. It is recommended to have intercourse every other day during this period to ensure that sperm is present when ovulation occurs.

Ultimately, the decision of how often to have intercourse during the fertile window is up to you and your partner. Thus, always remember to maintain a healthy and supportive relationship, communicate openly about fertility goals and preferences, and seek medical advice if needed.

5. Does age affect my fertility?

Age impacts fertility rate. Women are most fertile in their 20s and early 30s. However, the older you are, the less fertile you can be. Women have a lifetime supply of eggs in the ovaries. The average number of eggs you have during the first menstrual cycle is around 250 000 eggs. As your age increases, the number of eggs decreases. When you are 30 years old, the number of eggs will be less than 52 000. By 40, it drops even lower to around 9 000. Thus, it is best to get pregnant when your egg count facilitates pregnancy. You can opt for egg freezing earlier to get pregnant after your 30s. If you have been trying for more than six months without success, it is time to seek a doctor.

6. Can stress or lifestyle choices affect my fertility?

Stress and certain lifestyle choices can impact your fertility. Chronic stress can disturb your menstrual cycle and affect ovulation, making it harder to conceive. Having constant stress can lead to shutting down the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, a hormone-regulating mechanism that controls the reproductive system. It can disrupt the connection between your brain and ovaries, causing delays and absences in ovulation or irregular periods. Lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and irregular sleep cycles can also impact fertility negatively. 

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7. When are you least likely to get pregnant?

You are least likely to get pregnant during your period. During period, you may have a low level of fertility. It is because no matured egg is released, making it harder to conceive. During menstruation, the unfertilised egg disintegrates and sheds with the uterus lining built for egg implantation. Another phase where getting pregnant is less probable is during the follicular phase or the first part of the menstrual cycle. This is because the ovary is getting ready to release an egg at this moment, and the cervical mucus is not conducive to sperm survival. The time between ovulation and menstruation, or the late luteal phase, is another time of the month where pregnancy is least likely to happen. This is because the cervical mucus is unfavourable for sperm survival in the late luteal phase. As a result, getting pregnant during this stage is less probable.

8. What if I have an irregular menstrual cycle?

The average length of a normal cycle for most women is around 28 days. However, if your cycle range is within 21 to 35 days, it is considered in a normal menstrual cycle range. However, the pattern of your period can also determine the regularity of the period. If your menstruation falls on an approximately similar number of days, you have a regular cycle. If the pattern of your cycle (e.g., the first cycle is 21 days, 2nd cycle is 35 days, and 3rd cycle is 24 days) shows an irregular cycle, it may be a sign that you have an irregular cycle, and it can be hard to predict when are you most fertile. Irregular cycles can be normal during the first few years of the menstrual cycle. For most women, it may develop into regular cycles as they age. However, if the irregularity continues, it is advised to consult your doctor.

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9. If you have fertility issues, what are the other options available?

If you have fertility issues, there are a few options available to get pregnant. Some of the options are:

  • In-vitro fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is a procedure that fertilises eggs and sperm outside of a woman’s body in a laboratory dish. After fertilisation, it will be transferred to the woman’s body for pregnancy. It is a treatment suggested to couples as a last resort if other fertility options do not work. For example, IVF is usually suggested to women with issues like PCOS, blocked fallopian tubes, older women with fertility issues or low sperm count.

  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is a treatment whereby sperm is injected directly into a woman’s womb. It is an easy procedure and does not require much effort from the couples. Usually, IUI is suggested for couples who have good ovarian reserve and semen health but mild problems associated with low sperm count, endometriosis-related fertility issues and PCOS.

  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

ICSI is another procedure that involves injecting sperm into the egg in a laboratory. It is a procedure similar to IVF. In IVF, thousands of sperm are left to fertilise the egg in a laboratory dish. Meanwhile, in ICSI, a tiny needle containing one sperm is directly inserted into the centre of the egg. After fertilisation, the embryo will be inserted into the woman’s womb. This procedure is usually suggested to men counterparts who have a poor sperm count or sperm that has trouble attaching to the egg.

Having fertility problems does not mean you cannot get pregnant. In today’s world, with ongoing developments in the medical field, there are various ways to help you get pregnant. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor when you need help. Your doctor will help you and your partner to achieve pregnancy. With proper treatment and knowing when are you most fertile, you are one step closer to building your own family

Check out this video to know more about fertile days and how to plan properly for pregnancy : When are you most fertile?

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. All contents here is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consult with your health care professional to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.

(Everybody has a chance to build a family) by Dr Navdeep