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You and your partner are ready to start trying for a baby. Getting pregnant may not be as easy as you think.
To improve your chances of conceiving, it helps to know the days when you are most fertile. This is the time when you should have lots of sex — ideally every day or every other day.
In a normal menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs when an ovary releases an egg. The egg then moves into the fallopian tube. An egg can survive in the fallopian tube for about one day after ovulation, and a man’s sperm can survive inside a women’s body for about three days after sex.
Your chance of pregnancy is highest when live sperm are in the fallopian tubes when ovulation occurs —or when an egg is there too. This means you can become pregnant if you have sex anywhere from 5 days before ovulation until 1 day after ovulation. If no sperm is around to fertilize the egg, it moves through the uterus and disintegrates.
How do you know when you ovulate so you can give yourself the best chance to conceive?
A menstrual cycle is defined from the first day of menstrual bleeding to the first day of menstrual bleeding of the next cycle. In an average menstrual cycle of 28 days, ovulation occurs about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual period.
There are ovulation predictor kits and fertility monitors you can buy to help you track when you are ovulating. There are also fertility apps and web sites (e.g., with ovulation calculators) to help you record information about your menstrual cycle and calculate your fertile periods.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) lists four fertility awareness-based methods you can use to improve your chances of getting pregnant:
Remember, it can take normal, healthy couples 12 months to become pregnant, even if you have had intercourse during your most fertile time. If you have been trying to get pregnant for several months without success, talk with your doctor.
Learn more about preparing for pregnancy.
Explore pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
7 steps to take before you start trying for a baby
Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to get your folic acid
Fit mamas benefit during pregnancy and after
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