Having a baby isn’t easy. We’re not just talking about the actual act of giving birth or even raising a child although both are obviously very difficult. Sometimes even getting pregnant can be a challenge. It’s definitely a worthwhile challenge but a challenge nonetheless. In many cases, timing is everything so when can you get pregnant? Well, that’s kind of a complicated question that requires a complicated answer. That’s what this article is for. Before we begin though, I would recommend checking out this article. It covers what you should be thinking about before you even start trying to conceive. With that out of the way, let’s start talking about when you can get pregnant.
To be perfectly honest, any fertile woman who has sex with any fertile man can get pregnant at any time whether it’s the intention of the copulating couple or not. This is how many accidental pregnancies happen. If you have unprotected sex at any time of the month, you are running the risk of getting pregnant. In another article, we covered some of the most common pregnancy myths that revolve around conception but I think it’s worth taking a quick look at here. You can get pregnant if:
- You have unprotected sex.
- You have had your period at least once.
- You are still able to get your period/have not reached menopause.
- You are fertile.
- You are breastfeeding.
- The man pulls out before ejaculation.
- You only have anal sex.
- You douche after sex.
- You urinate after sex.
- You have sex while on your period.
- You have sex immediately after your period.
- You have sex once.
- You have unprotected sex once.
- You are taking birth control.
- You use condoms.
- You have sex with a man capable of producing semen.
- You have sex standing up.
The list goes on and on. For many of the above, the chances of getting pregnant are somewhat slim but slim or not, the chance is still there. The point is simple. It is possible to get pregnant at any time. If you’re trying to conceive though, you may want a more specific answer so let’s get to that.
When Can You Get Pregnant?
For many women, ovulation is a bit of a mystery but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re trying to figure out when you can get pregnant, you really need to figure out when you ovulate. Some women will actually feel light cramping when they ovulate but for most women, the signs and symptoms of ovulation aren’t nearly as obvious.
The Day 14 Theory
For a long time, many women believed that the best time to get pregnant was on day 14 of their menstrual cycle because it was often thought that this was when women ovulated. Women would chart their cycles and have sex on day 14 and then find themselves disappointed by the lack of results. There are a few problems with the Day 14 Theory. First, and probably the biggest, is the fact that not every woman ovulates on the 14th day of their cycle. Some women ovulate much earlier while others ovulate much later. Add to that the fact that many women have irregular cycles. Stress, diet and other factors can have a significant impact on your menstrual cycle and for many women, trying to conceive can be a very stressful experience. The odds that you will ovulate right on day 14 are slim rendering the whole theory moot.
This brings us to the second problem with the Day 14 Theory. Having sex when you ovulate is not the best way to conceive. Instead, it’s a better idea to have sex before you ovulate. The reason for this one is simple. Sperm remains a viable inside your womb for as many as five days. Your egg, on the other hand, is only viable for 24 hours. If you focus on trying to conceive within those 24 hours, you could very easily miss the window, especially if you aren’t sure exactly when that 24 hour clock starts ticking. It is much, much easier to work with the five days the sperm offers. It’s really nothing more than simple logic.
How You Can Tell When You’re About to Ovulate
Because making sure that egg you release is fertilized is so important and because you have a relatively small window to make that happen, knowing when you ovulate is important. If you have a regular cycle, you can pinpoint your estimated ovulation date and start having sex prior to that date. If you don’t have a regular cycle, you might have a bit more trouble figuring things out. We talked about how you can increase your chances of getting pregnant in this article so for now let’s just talk about the signs and symptoms of ovulation so you can better understand when you can get pregnant.
Fertile cervical mucus sounds disgusting but it’s extremely useful in figuring out when you can get pregnant. This mucus is a milky white discharge you’ll start noticing before you get your period. It sort of resembles raw egg white. This means you are getting ready to ovulate. This is the time you want to start having sex. Having sex when you start seeing this discharge offers you the best chance of ensuring there is viable sperm inside you when your egg is released, greatly increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
This mucus is not only good for telling you when you can get pregnant but it also actually helps the sperm that’s released do it’s job once it’s inside your body. Fertile cervical mucus helps the sperm survive inside your body for the longest possible time. The mucus also helps the sperm “swim”, so to speak, so it isn’t as difficult for the sperm to reach its destination. In other words, although this mucus is kind of gross and can make you feel uncomfortable, it serves a valuable purpose if you’re trying to conceive.
Of course the main drawback is that cervical mucus isn’t always a sure thing. Some women have cervical mucus even when they’re not about to ovulate. If you’re one of those women, you will not be able to rely on mucus as an indicator. There are other signs of ovulation though which we’ll talk about now.
Changes in the position of your cervix. When you are about to ovulate, the position of your cervix will change. It will sit higher in your body and will feel softer. It will also be more open. All of these changes take place to make your body as fertile as possible for a baby. After all, that is the whole point of ovulation. You can check your cervical position yourself if you’re comfortable exploring your body on your own. Just make sure you have clean hands. Continue checking throughout the month (you can skip your period if that makes you especially uncomfortable) so you know when changes have taken place.
Increases in your sex drive. Many women find themselves wanting to have sex more right before they ovulate. If you’re having trouble conceiving though, are depressed or are under stress, you may feel a lack of sexual desire entirely rendering this one useless. The remedy here is to try to stay calm and hopeful. Things can change. Stressing out will only make things worse.
Changes in your basal body temperature. If you already have a thermometer this is a no-cost way to determine whether or not you’re about to ovulate. When you’re about to ovulate, your basal body temperature will rise slightly. If you keep track of this you can find out when you ovulate. The problem is that the temperature changes after you ovulate so it’s usually too late to take advantage of the egg. It can also become a bit of an obsession for some women. This is really best if you have regular cycles and want to chart your ovulation times.
Increased tenderness in your breasts. This one confuses some women because some of us just naturally have tender breasts. What you’re looking for is whether or not your breasts are more tender than usual. You can simply examine them with your own hands and see if you notice changes. The problem with this one is kind of obvious. Tenderness in the breasts can come before or after ovulation so it’s not exactly accurate. Look for other signs aside from the tender breasts – the mucus, for example – and test your temperature. If your basal body temperature is higher, you’ve missed the window.
Consider an ovulation predictor kit. Many women like to avoid ovulation predictor kits because they can be fairly expensive. They are fairly convenient to use though as you only need to use them once a week but many women prefer to stick with less expensive methods. Some of these kids can also be a bit difficult to read so you should probably keep that in mind as well. It’s your body and it’ll be your baby. Do whatever works best for you and whatever is most comfortable for you.