Ever ask yourself, “when can I get pregnant?” It’s a question many women are really not that clear on, whether you’re trying to conceive or wanting to prevent pregnancy. In this blog post, our Norwich natural fertility expert, homeopath and Foresight Practitioner Kathy Payne reveals some of the answers to help you figure out, When Can I get Pregnant?
It’s a common enough question from women “On what days can I actually fall pregnant?” I wish there was one simple answer!
Let’s start with a fact: women are only able to get pregnant during a very short time during each menstrual cycle: in turn, this means they are actually infertile the majority of the time. I’ve read that taking all factors into account – pre puberty, post menopause and that short time each month, we’re only fertile for about 4% of our lives. Surprised? Many are. Let me share a little more.
Whilst many people are aware of the body’s basic reproductive functions, fewer really understand the natural body processes that result in fertility. Basically, for fertility we need a living, healthy sperm in a man and a living, healthy egg (ovum) in a woman. So far, so good. Women are born with several thousand partly developed eggs in their ovaries and are fertile from puberty until after menopause. Men start producing sperm at puberty and there’s no age limit when it comes to fathering children, although it is generally accepted that male fertility declines with age.
Do you know the average lifespan of an ovum?
From release from the ovary to its disintegration (if unfertilized) it is 12-24 hours only. Yes, that short a lifespan. And what about sperm? Each time a man ejaculates, millions of sperm are released. Yet the sperm can only survive in a woman’s body for as long as 3-5 days.
So When Can I Get Pregnant?
Given all these facts, experts conclude that your “window” to achieve pregnancy is only about 5 to 7 days in the cycle. When these 5 to 7 days fall in any woman’s cycle depends if and when she ovulates in that cycle.
Understanding our Cycle to Control or Support Fertility
Whilst we are not planning a baby, we want to ensure there are no unplanned pregnancies. In the modern age there are a huge range of artificial means of contraception, from the sheath (condom) to Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP), patches and implants, diaphragms and intrauterine devices (IUDs or “coils”). All of these are used on an ongoing basis, often under supervision of your GP, almost as if becoming pregnant was a constant risk. We know from the facts above that it is not a constant risk: there is a relatively small window of opportunity in each cycle and it’s dependent on ovulation occurring.
There are also some natural methods of contraception. Yes, there are reliable natural ways when followed diligently! Some of the artificial methods of regulating fertility e.g. OCP work by “over-riding” the natural hormonal pattern that leads to ovulation. Bleeds are not true menstrual bleeds. When women discontinue its use it can take time for their natural fertile cycle and ovulation to be re-established. These – and other factors- should perhaps form part of our decision making process when making the very personal choice of which method of contraception to use, be it artificial or natural.
Whether you are trying to prevent pregnancy or actually trying to conceive, knowing if and when you ovulate is key.
When Can I Get Pregnant? Supporting Fertility and Optimising Chances of Conception
When we want to have a baby we also want to ensure that our reproductive systems are functioning well and our general health and fertility is optimized, so we can conceive naturally and quickly and help ensure as healthy a pregnancy and baby as possible. If you know when you ovulate you can choose to time intercourse to maximize your chances of conception – i.e. target those 5 to 7 days.
But let’s also bust another myth that’s sometimes still bandied about… ovulating women do not all ovulate on Day 14 of their cycle! The day of ovulation differs from woman to woman and can even be different month to month. Women don’t all have regular 28 days cycles either, as many readers will testify I’m sure. Continuing along the theme of when can I get pregnant, ovulation will be the subject of my next blog post for The Orange Grove Fertility Team, so please visit our blog regularly for more preconception care and fertility related information. In the meantime, you can reach me via our contact page.
Kathy Payne is a Foresight Pre-conception Care Practitioner, Homeopath and Natural Family Planning Student Teacher with special interests in fertility, pregnancy and women’s health. To find out more from Kathy or to book an appointment, please contact her by calling reception or you can go to our contact page.