Understand your cycle to maximise your chances of conceiving.
Most of our reproductive life, we are usually trying to avoid getting pregnant, so when it comes to getting pregnant we have to do some detective work to find out where we are actually fertile!
We’ve worried so much about how easy it is to become pregnant that when you want to have a baby it can come as something of a surprise to find that you can stop using contraception and still not get pregnant for at least a couple of months.
The egg released by one of your ovaries each month at ovulation will only live for a maximum of 24 hours if it's not fertilised. You may release more than one egg over a 24-hour period, extending your fertility to a maximum of 48 hours. But that doesn't mean that you can only get pregnant from sex on those two days though, as men's sperm have a longer life-span than a woman's egg, and it's our combined fertility that's important. In the right conditions healthy sperm can live for up to five days, so extending your fertile phase to about seven days in a month. The best chance for fertilisation occurs when healthy sperm have had time to swim up into the fallopian tubes by the time the egg is released, so before you ovulate.
We've all at some time been taught that women's menstrual cycles last for 28 days and that ovulation takes place two weeks before your period begins, so about day fourteen. Many couples who know that they should try to conceive in the days leading up to ovulation assume that the women will ovulate around day fourteen, so see days 11 through to 14 as the most fertile days: they may well be wrong for three reasons.
Although a fertile egg only survives for 12-24 hours, sperm can live for 12-48 hours, so you don’t have to have intercourse dead on the point of ovulation to get pregnant.
2. It's usual to ovulate not exactly two weeks before your period, but between 12 and 16 days, so if you have a 25-day cycle you could be ovulating as early as day nine of your cycle.
3. Ovulation can vary from cycle to cycle. Plenty of women experience irregular cycle lengths, but even if you have the most regular of cycles ovulation can be delayed be several factors, like stress, travel, a shock or intensive exercise. You can only really be sure about when you're ovulating after it has happened.
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