Clearblue, a company that make pregnancy tests and fertility monitors, discovered through a survey that two in every three British women don’t know that they can usually only get pregnant during ovulation, a period of two or three days each month. The chance of getting pregnant at other times in the month is less than 5%.
Many women are under the mistaken belief that they can get pregnant at any time during the month, as long as they have stopped their contraception and are having regular intercourse.
This isn’t the case and may lead to frustration for the couple if they are consistantly missing their fertile times when they make love. It may also lead to unnecessary doctor visits and referrals to fertility specialists when there is nothing wrong and it is simply a matter of timing.
Family doctors, gynacologists and family planning clinics also perpetrate the myth that every woman has a 28 day cycle, every month of the year. This is inaccurate. A fertile woman’s cycle can be anything from 21 days to 42 days and often this changes every few months, changing the time that she ovulates. It is also perfectly normal to skip a menstrual period sometimes, particularly if she is stressed, has been ill or very busy.
A lot of women also have little knowledge of ovulation or when it happens and this could hamper their success.
When is the Fertile Time?
The fertile time is immediately before and during ovulation (when an egg is released from the fallopian tube) and this occurs on average two weeks after the woman’s menstrual period, although this varies, so the best time to have intercourse is in the middle of your cycle. It is sometimes possible to get pregnant at other times in the month, such as when the egg is decending down the fallopian tube, but this is quite rare and less than 5 in 100 women can concieve outside of their ovulation.
How do I Know When I’m Ovulating?
If your cycle changes or you have irregular periods, it may be best to buy a fertility monitor. The monitor will test your urine daily and tell you when your fertile time is, so you know when to have intercourse. You can also try before these days as sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to four days.
If you have a regular cycle and you’d rather not spend money on expensive tests, there are natural ways of recognising your ovulation. These signs usually mean you are ovulating:
- Having an increased amount of vaginal secretion
- Feeling in the mood and wanting to have sex more than usual
- Abdominal cramping that feels like period pain
- A dragging, burning or stabbing sensation in one side of your abdomen (this discomfort comes from the fallopian tube that is releasing the egg. Some women can’t feel it at all and others find it painful).
If you have any of these signs and you are mid cycle or nearly mid cycle, you are probably ovulating.
What Else Can I do to Get Pregnant?
- Good sex makes babies! Science has proven that if you orgasm, you are more likely to get pregnant.
- The order in which a couple orgasm can affect their chances of conception. Research has shown that if a man orgasms first, followed by the woman, there is more likely to be a pregnancy. This is because during female orgasm, the woman’s muscles contract around the man, causing deeper penetration and the cervix contracts, sucking sperm into the womb. This may be why women take longer to achieve orgasm than men – it is natures way of ensuring a pregnancy.
- Stay lying down for at least five minutes after intercourse so that more of the sperm can reach your womb.
- Relax! Sometimes thinking about pregnancy actually stops it from happening. Try to switch off from baby making thoughts and do something romantic.
Sexual No No’s
- Don’t abstain from intercourse to save up sperm unless your partner has a low sperm count.
- Don’t abstain when you aren’t ovulating. Sperm can live for days and you’ll maximize your chances if you try once a day.
- Don’t drink lots of alcohol before you have intercourse.
- Don’t have a hot bath after intercourse. If you want to bath, a warm one will do.
- Don’t wear tight fitting clothing, particularly your man.
Finally, remember not to put too much pressure on your partner to try, after all, sex is supposed to be fun!