About half of all pregnancies in the United States are planned, meaning that the couple tried to get pregnant. It can be an exciting time in a couple’s life, however, at the same time it can bring a lot of frustration, especially if it doesn’t happen right away. Many people carry the misconception that getting pregnant is easy (I mean people get pregnancy “by accident” all the time) and if you don’t get pregnant right away there must be some underlying fertility issue. That, my friends, is not the case. For many couples experiencing a difficulty in getting pregnant the issue is not necessarily infertility, but rather is likely to be a matter of bad timing.
In any given menstrual cycle a woman has a 20% (1 in 5) chance of sperm meeting egg, egg becoming fertilized and implanting and of getting pregnant. Not really great odds when you think about it, right? Right. But, you can make those odds work in your favor if you pay attention to your timing, pay attention to your body.
For the “average” woman a regular menstrual cycle is about 28 days. Some women will have shorter or longer cycles which is why it is important to pay attention and to know our body. During a regular 28 day cycle you can expect to ovulate on or about the 14th day of your cycle, however ovulation can occur as early as day 11 or as late as day 21. This is where timing and paying attention to your body can make a huge difference in how long it takes you to get pregnant once you start trying.
In order to get pregnant the sperm must meet the egg, right? And in order for that to happen you have to know when you are ovulating. So, here is where it is all about the timing. Your chances of becoming pregnant are greatest if you and your partner have sex in the few days leading up to ovulation and for a window of about 24 hours after you ovulate. Many obstetricians and fertility specialists will recommend that a couple of sexual intercourse every other day while they are trying to get pregnant, this increases the odds that there will be healthy, vibrant sperm present when you ovulate.
So, how do you know when you are going to ovulate. There are several things you can do to determine when in you are ovulating. They including:
- Tracking your basal body temperature. When ovulation has occurred your basal body temperature will rise. You will need to do this for a few months in order to determine when you typically ovulate during your cycle. Remember, once you have ovulate you have a window of about 24 hours before you lose your chance of becoming pregnant that month.
- Checking your cervical mucus. This involves testing the consistency of the mucus around your cervix. As you approach ovulation the consistency of your cervical mucus will change making it a more welcoming environment for sperm. When you are most fertile (just about to ovulate) your cervical mucus will be of an egg white consistency.
- Using an ovulation prediction kit. These can be purchased at any pharmacy in the same aisle as home pregnancy kits. These kits test the LH or luteinizing hormone in our urine. The LH levels will go up the day before you ovulate. These tests can be a bit expensive so you may want to try the other options first before trying out the ovulation prediction kits.
85% of healthy, fertile couples will successfully become pregnant within 1 year of trying to conceive. It is all about your timing and knowing your body. If you know when you are going to ovulate you can plan to have sex around that time to help increase your odds. Timing is everything.
If you have not become pregnant after 1 year (after 6 months if you are over 35) of trying talk to your doctor so they can work with you and determine if there may be some underlying fertility issue.