Timing is everything — especially when you’re trying to conceive (TTC). There’s plenty to do, from timing when your cycle starts, to what time of day to pee on an ovulation test. When I'm charting my fertility window, I even have to find the best time to have sex in order to have the highest chances of conceiving. I know when my period starts each cycle, it's kind of like a compass to follow, so when is the best time after my period to get pregnant?
It turns out if you’re watching your cervical mucus, your basal body temperature, and checking an ovulation test kit, you’ll be able to figure it out pretty easily. The best time after your period to have sex (to get pregnant) is either the day before, the day of, or the day after ovulation.
Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, says that knowing when you’re ovulating is essential to TTC, and that she likes to give her clients a brief biology lesson on knowing when during the menstrual cycle pregnancy can occur. “On average, women have a period every 28 days. Many women don’t have a perfect 28-day cycle, and this can make it challenging to know when the egg is available for conception. Ovulation is the time when the egg is available to be fertilized over a 24-hour period,” Ross tells Romper in an email interview. “Typically, ovulation occurs 14 days prior to getting your period. Some women notice an 'egg-white and slimy' discharge around the time of ovulation, while others actually notice a twinge or slight pelvic discomfort,” she says.
Sperm can live inside you for 72 hours, but knowing when you ovulate makes timing your intercourse a “straightforward process,” Ross says. “The idea is to have the sperm waiting for the egg. For example, if you have determined that you ovulate on day 15 (day one being the first day of your period), then you can have timed intercourse on day 14, 15, and 16. Having intercourse on these days ensures that the sperm and egg are interfacing with hopes of an embryo being formed.”
However, some experts suggest having sex on day 10 and then abstaining until day 14, according to Ross. “This way there is fresh sperm ready to find the egg in the fallopian tube where fertilization takes place. I suggest purchasing an ovulation kit and/or downloading the ‘maybe baby’ app to help identify the fertile period of your cycle. So when the time comes to start trying, you are prepared with the tools to target the fertile days of the month.”
So if you’re timing intercourse by when you ovulate, that is the best time after your period to get pregnant. And depending on your age and barring any fertility problems, Ross says 50 percent of couples will conceive over a three-month period. After six months, 75 percent of couples will conceive, and after 12 months, 90 percent of couples will conceive. Those are some pretty good odds. Good luck and happy baby making.
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