There is talk that there are two special days within your menstrual cycle when the chances of getting pregnant are the highest. Are these days that effective? Well, let’s find out!
When we are saying “the special days in a menstrual cycle,” we mean “a fertility window,” which is said to be the period when the women are most fertile and chances of conceiving are significantly greater than at other times.
The fertility window is said to be the day when the egg is released from the ovary. This is called ovulation. During this, an egg is released. If fertilized by a sperm, the egg would travel to the uterus and implant itself to develop into a pregnancy. If the egg is unfertilized, it disintegrates, and the uterus line is shed during the days you call “period.”
Therefore, having intercourse two days before and during ovulation is increases the odds of conceiving.
When is the ovulation period in a cycle?
Ovulation usually takes place around the 14th day of a 28-day menstrual cycle. But the “fertility window” is dependent on the length of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, it is considered that ovulation occurs four days before or after your cycle’s midpoint.
How does ovulation take place?
A menstrual cycle resets each time when the periods occur, and anovulation is generally in the middle of such a cycle. The process starts with the release of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) within 6-14 days of a menstrual cycle. The FSH helps the egg to mature and release from the ovary. When the egg matures, the body releases a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers the release of an egg into the ovary.
When the mature egg is released from the ovary, it moves down the fallopian tube. Here it is fertilized. If a sperm is in the fallopian tube when the egg is released, then there is a high chance that the egg will be fertilized, creating an embryo that later turns into a fetus and a baby. If pregnancy occurs, then the hormones will keep the lining from shedding with a menstrual period. The flow will begin around the 28th day of the cycle, marking the beginning of the next cycle.
How long does ovulation last?
Ovulation may happen in the 28 to 36 hours after the luteinizing hormone’s release. Therefore, it lasts for that much time only. The woman will not get pregnant in a cycle, 12-14 after ovulation, as here the egg has left the fallopian tube. Having intercourse during the five days before and on the ovulation day is the path to pregnancy.
How to calculate your fertility window after period?
If you wish to find out your “fertility window,” follow the steps
- Start by monthly recording your beginning and end of periods. Also, count the total number of days the period lasts for. Mark full flow day of period as day 1
- Note the longest and the shortest number of days in a cycle from monthly tracking.
- Calculate the first day of the “fertility window” by subtracting 18 days from the length of your shortest cycle. For instance, if the shortest cycle was 27 days, remove 18 from 27 and write down day 9
- Then calculate the last day of your “fetility window” by subtracting 11 from the longest cycle length. For example 30 days, you will get 19
- Here we got “9” and “19,” which means that the fertility window is between the days “9” and “19”. Having intercourse these days will increase your chance.
Ways track ovulation period or fertility window?
Although the most precise way to confirm ovulation is with a hormonal blood test and ultra-sound, you still track or detect ovulation in the following ways given below:
Try tracking your cycle via a cycle chart. This is a great idea for women with both regular and irregular periods. Through these methods, women having irregular periods might find a pattern through which they can seek help from a gynaecologist. You can use a cycle chart app that allows you to record details of the start and end period dates, results of OPKs, and basal temperature. Through this, you will receive alerts regarding your fertility window.
Ovulation predictor kits and fertility apps
OPKs are typically available over the counter (OTC) at a drugstore. These work by detecting the presence of Luteinizing hormone in urine. These are designed to test urine and saliva for detecting changes in hormone levels occurring before ovulation.
Basal body temperature (BBT) charting
This method involves taking the temperature using a basal thermometer each morning throughout the cycle and recording the changes. Your ovulation is confirmed after your temperature is elevated from your baseline for three days. When you are ovulating, your temperature goes up and stays elevated up until the next period. Once you know how to identify the day you ovulate, you will be able to predict the days of ovulation for future cycles.
You can buy a basal thermometer at any drugstore or supermarket near you.
Similar to OPKs, fertility monitors are also available online but, these are quite expensive. Fertility monitors track luteinizing hormone and estrogen to identify the days in your fertility window. It uses a standard 28-day cycle. This method uses urine test strips and digital monitors to measure the estrogen and LH levels in the body.
Cervical Mucus Method
Hormones rule your menstrual cycles; therefore, they also affect the cervical mucus. After your end, you experience dry days where there is no mucus. When an egg matures, mucus gets produced, and it enters the vaginal opening. Just before ovulation, you have wet days where mucus is clear and slippery and looks similar to that of egg whites. This is when you have elevated chances of conception. Although this works for most women, this is not always accurate.
Is ovulation the only period in which you can get pregnant?
While the egg is fertilized only for 12 to 24 hours after being released into the fallopian tube, sperm can live in the reproductive tract under ideal conditions up to 5 days; therefore, intercourse in the days leading up to ovulation or on the ovulation day itself may get you to conceive.
Can you ovulate more than once in a single cycle?
Yes, some women can certainly ovulate more than one in a single cycle. Some studies have proven that women can ovulate up to twice or thrice times in a given cycle. Also, 10% of women produce two eggs in a single cycle. These multiple releases of eggs might either be due to fertility treatment or just part natural.
Which method is the best?
As we have said before, hormonal blood tests and ultrasounds are the most accurate, but they are always the go-to option. Other methods such as charting the cycle with the use of fertility apps and OPKs are more convenient. But this is not always accurate as these methods are influenced by certain factors such as illness and alcohol use, etc. Fertility monitors are said to increase chances of conceiving even by a month’s use. But even tools might not work for all.
Either way, you should speak to a health care professional
- Before planning to conceive
- Facing issues getting pregnant
- Approaching menopause
- Have given birth recently
- Changed contraceptive methods
After having known all about a menstrual cycle and fertility window, you might be wondering, after trying everything, “how will it take to get pregnant”? We will answer this one just for you.
The answer to this is that it depends on the time of ovulation. The egg and sperm bind and create a fertilized egg within 5 days of intercourse. Further, the fertilized egg may take up to 6-10 days to implant in the uterus, and pregnancy can detect once the implantation is successfully made.
Take a test if your period is delayed. You can buy a pregnancy test kit or visit a health centre and take the test.
Regardless of the menstrual cycle and fertility window, regular intercourse will ensure a successful pregnancy. The sperm will already be present whenever the egg matures and moves to the fallopian tube.
Antara Chowdhury is a Content Marketer and Strategist with 6 years of experience. She is Master degree holder in Journalism and wants to explore everything she can write on.