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Whether you are a woman trying to get pregnant or you're trying to avoid getting pregnant, it is entirely your choice.
In both cases, it can be helpful and extremely important to do your research on fertility and help you identify the best time to get pregnant or prevent possible pregnancy. This article should be able to help and will tell you all about fertility and your period.
Fertility During Your Period
A menstrual cycle is a cycle that begins inside a woman's reproductive system on the first day of her period. This is not to be mistaken for the actual 'period', which is simply the act of bleeding.
Cycles can be regular or irregular and can last anywhere between 21 and 35 days. They are not always consistent and even for the same woman, one cycle can be very different from the next. A regular menstrual cycle only fluctuates between 21 to 35 days while an irregular menstrual cycle can be inconsistent and unpredictable, this usually lasts less than 21 days or more than 35 days. Knowing your menstrual cycle, period, and when you ovulate can help you pick the right time to have unprotected sex to get pregnant.
If you are a woman who has been going through cycles for quite some time now, you will more or less have an idea of what you might find in this article. However, if you are new to all this, perhaps you are a person trying to conceive or are wanting to learn more about contraception, here are some explanations of terms that you need to know before moving forward.
Ovulation: This is when a mature egg cell is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube where it gets a chance to be fertilized by a sperm cell. The egg will stay in the tube for about 24 hours, which is the best time to have sexual intercourse and increase the chances of pregnancy. Whilst ovulation happens as part of a cycle, some women can ovulate early from time to time.
Sexual intercourse: The act that brings the egg cell and sperm cell together, which can lead to the possible fertilization of the egg, which will turn into an embryo and eventually become a fetus.
Fertile window: This is the period in a woman’s menstrual cycle when the possibility of pregnancy is at its highest. This window depends on the length of the cycle, which also differs with every woman.
Getting To Know Your Cycle
Now that you are up to date with those terms, it's time to track your own menstrual cycle. Remember, tracking your monthly cycles will be extremely beneficial whether you are looking to get pregnant or not. This can be done in a more traditional way, like keeping a handwritten journal. Similarly, there are now several smartphone applications powered by artificial intelligence, which make accurate predictions of your cycle based on the information you record.
We know that each cycle varies with each woman. So to get more accurate predictions of where you are in your cycle, you must first get your average cycle length. Here's how:
1. Record a total of three menstrual cycles, beginning with the first day of your next period.
2. If you add the number of days in three cycles and divide the total number by three, it gives you your average cycle length.
Assuming that you now have your average cycle length, it's time to move on to the next step.
Fertility After Your Period
Ovulation (also called the fertile period) happens 14 days after the first day of your period. But since some cycles can be extremely irregular, its best to take note of these adjustments:
If your average cycle length is 28 days, ovulation occurs on day 14.
If your average cycle length is 35 days, ovulation occurs on day 21.
If your average cycle length is 21 days or less, ovulation occurs on day 7.
Please note that the most fertile days are within your ovulation period, specifically, the three days leading up to your ovulation and the day you actually ovulate. These days are the best days to try and conceive or get pregnant.
If you have extremely unpredictable, irregular cycles, figuring out your average cycle length, let alone your fertile period can be challenging. If you really want to get pregnant, having sexual intercourse every other day can help your chances of getting pregnant.
If you are reading this article to prevent pregnancy, the first seven days including your period days are considered a safe window where the egg has not dropped to the fallopian tubes, therefore making it inconducive for pregnancy.
If this is all proving to be too confusing, you can use an ovulation tracker, ovulation calendar, or ovulation calculator, which are all available online. Alternately, there are ovulation prediction kits that are available in most pharmacies. Similar to pregnancy tests, these kits use your urine samples to track your fertility.
If you are a woman who menstruates regularly, you have probably been feeling signs of ovulation all your life without being aware that these are telltale signs that you are ovulating. When you feel any or several of these signs it is likely that you may be ovulating:
Mild to severe cramps in the lower abdomen or lower back.
Clear, wet, and slippery vaginal mucus. Most doctors describe the texture as that of an egg white.
An increase in basal body temperature, making the woman feel warmer than usual.
A higher sex drive or libido.
Mild to severe hormone signs like mood swings, change in appetite, and unexplainable cravings.
Fertility During The Rest Of The Month
Tips For Those Preventing Pregnancy
Have sex only on days that are considered safe. The safest time is six or more days before ovulation, where the chance that a woman will get pregnant is virtually zero. These are the days of your period and a few days after the period. So whilst you can technically pregnant three days after your period, it is less likely on this day of your cycle.
Especially if you are planning to have sex during your fertile period, always use protection. Contraceptives come in many forms and methods. Birth control pills aim to prevent unplanned pregnancy by releasing synthetic hormones that prevent ovulation. However, when dealing with contraceptives, it is important to find the one that is right for you, as not doing so can lead to hormonal imbalances and changes to your body or mood.
Tips For Those Trying To Conceive
Most of the time, it's all about finding the perfect timing. It is important to engage in sexual intercourse right away when you confirm that you are indeed fertile or are currently on your fertile window (the three days leading up to ovulation).
If you do fall pregnant, implantation bleeding can occur 10 to 14 days after conception. This is completely normal and can be a sign of a fertilized egg attaching to the uterus lining.
Factors like a woman's overall reproductive health, hormone health, and age can also affect your chances of pregnancy. Lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, taking certain drugs, and being overweight lessens your chances of getting pregnant.
The best way to know your chances of pregnancy is to know your own body, be aware of its cycles and make sure you are always in optimal health.
If none of these methods seem to be successful, or if you have participated in any type of birth control method in the past three years, it might be best to seek medical advice on planned pregnancy, sex, and safe ways to become pregnant and increase fertility. It is also ideal for your partner to get checked for his sperm count and any underlying medical conditions or hormonal imbalances that may also be preventing you from getting pregnant.
It may be difficult and a little discouraging, especially if you have been trying for a long time, or are of critical age to conceive. But conception happens every single day. It is completely possible as long as you are patient, investigative, and mindful of your own menstrual cycle.
The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.