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.
Getting To Know Your Cycle
Fertility After Your Period
Ovulation 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.
Mild to severe cramps in the lower abdomen or lower back.
How Long After Your Period Are You Fertile
Ascertaining the fertility levels of a womans body after her period can be tricky. The fertility of a woman changes with the changes taking place inside her reproductive system as a result of menstruation. The fertility window after a monthly period may be different for different women. However, generally, it is not quite plausible to get pregnant right after your periods.
According to experts, a woman is most fertile on the 14th day before the beginning of her next period. Thus, from the 14th to the 21st day since the last period, the fertility window of a woman is the most prominent. This is again based on the standard analysis of the menstrual cycle as one that is 28 days long. It is equally significant to acknowledge that there are women who have shorter menstrual cycles that last for only 22 days. In such cases, the fertility window after her period will be slightly different.
Generally, women who have shorter menstrual cycles, tend to be fertile well before the 14th day of the next cycle. She can be fertile as soon as 5 to 7 days after the completion of her last period. In this case, she will be fertile from the 7th to the 14th day of the cycle.
|From the 7th to the 14th day|
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What Is The Best Way To Determine When Youre Most Fertile
Being aware of your menstrual cycle and the changes in your body that happen during this time can help you know when you are most likely to get pregnant.
The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. But normal cycles can vary from 21 to 35 days. The amount of time before ovulation occurs is different in every woman and even can be different from month to month in the same woman, varying from 13 to 20 days long. Learning about this part of the cycle is important because it is when ovulation and pregnancy can occur. After ovulation, every woman will have a period within 14 to 16 days.
Knowing when you’re most fertile will help you plan or prevent pregnancy. There are three ways you can keep track of your fertile times:
How Not To Get Pregnant
If you want to get pregnant, plan to get frisky halfwaybetween periods for the best chances. But if pregnancy is what youre trying toavoid, there are much, much better methods than using your period as a guide.
The best way to prevent pregnancy is to use a reliable form of birth control, Dr. Stephens says.
Yeah, you probably already knew that. But now you know the whole story.
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How Do You Improve Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant
Fertility starts to decline after about 28 years of age, drops significantly after 35, and drops very dramatically after 40. Assisted reproductive methods can help, but often cannot overcome the effects of age.
See your doctor for pre-pregnancy planning. This may include:
- a reproductive health check including a detailed history and examination looking for factors such as:
- genetic or medical conditions
- medications or substance use
Fertile Quality Vaginal Discharge
Your vaginal discharge can let you know if you’re approaching ovulation. The increase in estrogen leads to increased production of cervical mucus. Cervical mucus also changes in form and goes from a stickier, clumpy texture to looking more like raw egg whites.
You can figure out when you’re most likely to get pregnant in a month by paying attention discharge on your underwear, on the toilet paper, or by actually checking your cervical mucus manually yourself.
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How Does The Menstrual Cycle Work
- Your cycle starts on the first day of your period and continues up to the first day of your next period.
- At the same time, eggs begin to mature in the ovary.
- The lining of the womb thickens ready for fertilisation.
- During ovulation your cervical mucus becomes thinner and clearer to help the sperm reach the released egg.
- About 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, an egg is released from one of the ovaries .
- If sperm is present at the moment of ovulation, or some time during the next 24 hours, the egg may be fertilised.
- If the egg has not been fertilised, the egg is re-absorbed by the body, the hormone levels drop, and the womb lining is shed. This is the beginning of your next period.
How Many Days Before And After Ovulation Are You Fertile
But the most fertile days are the three days leading up to and including ovulation. Having sex during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant. By 12-24 hours after ovulation, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that menstrual cycle because the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube.
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What Days Are Fertile Days
Ovulation happens about 14 days before your period starts.
- If your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, you ovulate around day 14, and your most fertile days are days 12, 13 and 14.
- If your average menstrual cycle is 35 days ovulation happens around day 21 and your most fertile days are days 19,20 and 21.
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Your Ovulation Timing Depends On The Length Of Your Cycle
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
You only ovulate once per cycle. You may release more than one egg at a time . But youll never ovulate, then ovulate again without having a period in between.
Ovulation occurs near the middle of your cycleafter your follicular phase, and before your luteal phase. The events play out like this:
Your cycle starts with your period.
Day 1 is considered the first day of steady bleeding . Periods last 5 days on average, but anywhere between 2 and 7 days is normal.
Your follicular phase varies in length.
It starts when your period starts , and ends with ovulation. The length of your follicular phase depends on how quickly youre able to make enough of the hormones that activate your folliclessacs in the ovaries that each contain an egg. Once activated, one dominant sac will rupture and release its egg.
Ovulation takes about 1 day.
The release of an egg triggers the production of hormones that prepare the body for a potential pregnancy.
Those pregnancy hormones rise and fall during your luteal phase.
They rise during the first half of the luteal phase, and you may feel a natural high and more energy as a result. Then they fall during the second half, and you may experience PMS symptoms.
If no egg was fertilized that cycle, pregnancy hormones are no longer needed. Their levels will continue to fall, which will trigger a period, and the cycle starts over again.
While Youre On Your Period
As any woman with a calendar and a bunch of best friends will tell you, the amount of days each woman spends menstruating can vary a lot.
Your menstrual flow may start to diminish and lighten in color, or turn brown towards the end of your cycle. It feels and looks like youre still menstruating, but your body is already gearing up for your next fertile time.
If you have sex towards the end of your period, you may actually be getting close to your fertile window, especially if you have a short cycle. Lets take a look at the math.
Say you ovulate early, about six days after your period starts. You have sex on the third day of your period. The sperm have no egg to fertilize, but theyre also in no hurry to die so they hang out, doin what sperm do.
A few days later, while theyre still swimming around, you ovulate and theyre drawn to that egg like a fish to water. One gets through, and there you have it fertilization has occurred as a result of period sex.
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Your Fertile Window: Odds For Getting Pregnant Before And After Ovulation
There have been many research studies on the best method of ovulation detection and on how fertile a woman is before and after ovulation.
There are a few problems with studies like these. For one, there’s no completely accurate method to detect the day you ovulated. At least, not at home.
It’s possible for an ovulation predictor kit, a body basal temperature chart, and cervical mucus patterns to all indicate a slightly different ovulation day.
Ovulation can be detected with ultrasound or blood work, but this won’t help you have sex on the right day. They can only tell you after you ovulated.
Let’s assume you know approximately when you ovulated, and you know how many days before or after ovulation you had sex. What are your odds of getting pregnant?
Here’s what the research says.
- Five days before ovulation: 0.4 percent to 7 percent chance you’ll conceive
- Four days before ovulation: 8 percent to 17 percent
- Three days before ovulation: 8 percent to 23 percent
- Two days before ovulation: 13 percent to 29 percent
- One day before ovulation: 21 percent to 34 percent
- Ovulation day: 8 percent to 33 percent
- One day past ovulation: 0.8 percent to 11 percent
- Two days past: 3 percent to 9 percent
Looking at the statistics above, you may notice that the odds vary greatly from day-to-day. For example, three days before ovulation, your odds of conceiving are anywhere from 8 percent to 23 percent. So why are there such large variations?
How Do I Know If Im Ovulating
As an adult, you are probably ovulating most of the time if your cycle is generally within range . Cycle that are consistently outside of those ranges âcan be an indication of anovulation, and a reason to talk to your healthcare provider.
To know if youâre ovulating , you might try:
Tracking your cycle length and regularity in Clue
Using ovulation urine tests, bought at your pharmacy
Tracking your physical signs of fertility for a few cycles, including your basal body temperature and cervical fluid
Having your healthcare provider check your hormonal profile
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If Youre Trying To Get Pregnant
If youre trying to get pregnant, pinpointing ovulation is a vital first step. If youve been dutifully baby dancing mid-cycle and havent yet gotten pregnant, you may even wonder if you have more irregular ovulation and would benefit from sex during or right after your period.
There are several ways you can try to figure out your ovulation patterns. They include:
At-home ovulation predictor kits. These tests work by detecting LH , which surges 12 days before ovulation takes place. So these kits can tell you when youre going to ovulate, but they cant tell you when ovulation has taken place.
Progesterone test kits. Some women who have irregular periods, such as those with PCOS, find that using a kit that detects progesterone the hormone released right after ovulation is helpful to use in addition to a standard ovulation kit. Determining whether or not your body produced progesterone will help you to know if you ovulated or not.
Fertility apps.Ovulation-tracking apps compile a monthly record of multiple factors, such as basal body temperature and cervical mucus. They can help women with regular periods determine when theyre ovulating. We wish we could put this in neon flashing lights, though: These apps can help you get pregnant, but theyre not birth control and shouldnt be used to prevent pregnancy.