Getting pregnant: Know the right time to try

Sexual Wellness


You're trying to get pregnant, but that + test result still eludes you. You're trying everything – tracking your cycle, marking the first day of your period on a calendar – even taking your basal body temperature to find out if you're ovulating.

These methods are helpful, especially to plan ahead for your next period or to get a rough estimate of ovulation. But these methods only get you in the vicinity of your peak fertility days. There are actually a few days in each cycle when a woman is most fertile and most likely to become pregnant. So if you've been trying to conceive without luck, maybe you're just trying at the wrong time.

What are the most fertile days? Sperm can survive for several days in the body, so you might be able to get pregnant in the few days before ovulation. So your fertile window is 5 days before ovulation plus your ovulation date.

How do I know when I'm ovulating? Each woman's cycle is different, but most last somewhere between 21 to 35 days. The first day of your period marks Day 1, and ovulation may occur anywhere from Day 11 to Day 21 of your cycle. In the days leading up to ovulation, your body churns out more and more of two hormones – estrogen and luteinizing hormone, also called LH. Ovulation occurs about 1 to 2 days after LH surges. It is your LH that is the key to pinpointing fertile days.

How can I identify my peak fertile days? Ovulation tests and fertility monitors are available over the counter from pharmacies to measure the levels of LH in your urine. Some tests can identify your peak fertility days while others identify the extra days that your fertility may also be high. You may also be able to zero in on your most fertile days through the basal body temperature method (charting your body temperature each day to detect the small increase that occurs with ovulation), or by examining your saliva or cervical mucus.

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