You’ve decided to add a new member to your family, but maybe things aren’t happening as fast as you’d hoped. Timing really is everything—especially when you’re trying to make a baby. Having sex on your most fertile days will give you the best chance of conception. Here’s how to know when it’s your best time to get pregnant.
The egg comes first.
Once a month, your ovary releases a mature egg in a process called ovulation. The egg travels down the fallopian tube as it heads toward the uterus. Ideally, during this journey your egg will encounter sperm (which can live for about five days) and become fertilized. So, your “fertile window” includes not just the day that you ovulate, but the five days before as well.
Ovulation occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle, which typically lasts 12 or 14 days for most women. To figure out when you ovulate:
- Calculate the average length of your menstrual cycle by counting the days between your periods, starting with the first day of your period and ending on the day before your next period begins.
- Subtract 12 to 14 days from that number.
- If your periods are regular, you'll likely ovulate on one of those days.
- Focus on the midpoint of your cycle; you’ll generally ovulate around day 14 if you have a 28-day cycle.
You can track your menstrual cycle on a calendar, on some smartwatches or with one of these OB/GYN-recommended period-tracking apps featured in Women’sHealth.
Important note: Many women don’t have regular periods or ovulate at the midpoint of their cycles, so there’s really no way to pinpoint ovulation without testing. An over-the-counter ovulation test, which measures Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine, may be helpful for some women. Your body produces a surge of LH in the middle of your menstrual cycle, about one to one-and-a-half days before ovulation.
If you’re still having trouble getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about other ways to confirm ovulation.
Whether conception is an issue for you or not, a well-planned pregnancy begins and ends with your doctor. For our pre-pregnancy checklist with five tips to have a healthy pregnancy, read Babies on the brain? Before you’re pregnant is the perfect time to plan.
When should you see a fertility specialist?
Make an appointment with a doctor if you are:
- Younger than 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for at least 1 year
- 35 or older and have been trying to get pregnant for at least 6 months
There are many factors that may affect your ability to get pregnant. Don’t wait six months or a year if any of these conditions apply to you—call your doctor right away.
- Irregular or no periods
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- A history of miscarriage
- Hernia surgery or a problem with the testicles (in your male partner)
At Medical City Healthcare, moms and babies are cherished and protected. We hope that soon, you will need to know how to spot common pregnancy symptoms and early signs of pregnancy. Just remember that regardless of your journey from conception to delivery and beyond, we are here for you every step of the way.