Fertile Window: Understanding the best time to get pregnant

Contrary to popular belief, there are only a limited number of days in month in which a woman can get pregnant by having sexual intercourse. These few days are known as the fertile window. They are what couples aim for when trying to get pregnant.

If you and your partner have been having sexual intercourse every day for the past few weeks, yet frustrated because you are still not pregnant, then you have come to the right place.

Read on to learn about what is the fertile window, and how understanding this concept can help you to maximise your efforts in order to get pregnant.

Fertile window is a term used to describe a duration (usually around 5 - 7 days) within a month in which a woman has the highest chances of getting pregnant via sexual intercourse. Knowing your fertile window helps you to focus your efforts of trying to conceive on a particular duration each month, rather than simply trying to have sexual intercourse every day.

When is your fertile window?

In order to know when is your fertile window, we first need to understand how ovulation works. Ovulation is the time of the month when a mature egg is released by one of the ovaries. Ovulation is important, because without the egg being released, a woman cannot get pregnant.

In order to get pregnant, the egg has to be fertilised within approximately 12 - 24 hours after ovulation. This often comes as a surprise to most couples, as we often think that a woman is able to get pregnant any day during the month.

However, the fertilie window is longer than just 12 - 24 hours. The main reason for this is that sperm released during sexual intercourse can live in a woman's reproductive tract for up to 5 days.

Hence the fertile window is approximately 6 days; the day that an egg is released from an ovary, and the 5 days prior to that.

How to predict when is your next fertile window?

fertile window

The timing of fertile window varies from one woman to another. They can even differ every month for the same woman. How then, would you know when is your fertile window? You can estimate your fertile window by taking note of the following points:

  • The first day of your menstrual cycle
  • The average length of your menstrual cycle

The first day of your menstrual cycle

The first day of your menstrual cycle, which is defined as the first day you start bleeding (if possible, do record the first day of your period over the past 3 months).

For example, if you start bleeding on 1st January, then this is the first day of your menstrual cycle. For illustration purposes, let's assume this is how your menstrual cycle looks like:

1st month:
1st day of period = 1 March

2nd month:
1st day of period = 29 March

3rd month:
1st day of period = 27 April

Current month:
1st day of period = 24 May

The average length of your menstrual cycle

This can be calculated by adding the total number of days of your past 3 menstrual cycles, and dividing them by 3. A menstrual cycle starts from the day you start bleeding, and ends the day prior to the next bleeding.

Let's continue from the example used earlier. Based on your previous menstrual cycles:

1st month:
1 Mar - 28 Mar
= 28 days

2nd month:
29 Mar - 26 Apr
= 29 days

3rd month:
27 Apr - 23 May
= 27 days

Average length of your menstrual cycle:
(28 days + 29 days + 27 days) / 3
= 28 days

Calculating your fertile window

Ovulation occurs approximately 14 days before your period starts.

Let's continue from the example used earlier. Based on your the start date of your current menstrual cycle, we can calculate your estimate that:

Current month:
1st day of period = 24 May

Estimated date of start of next period:
24 May + 28 days
= 21 June

Estimated ovulation period for this month:
21 June - 14 days
= 7 June

Estimated fertile window:
Ovulation day + 5 days prior to it
= 2 - 7 June

Other methods to predict your next ovulation

If calculating manually is too exhausting or stressful for you, you can always make use of ovulation calculators available online. By knowing the first day of your current menstrual cycle, and the average length of your menstrual cycle, you can easily get the fertile window calculated.

There are also other methods such as using ovulation predictor kits, which are easily available in retail pharmacies near you.

When should we have sexual intercourse to get pregnant?

Some couples have intercourse every day during the fertile window. Some try every alternate day during the fertile window. It ultimately depends on you and your spouse. The every alternate day method may be less stressful for some, especially those who have been trying for months, if not years.

Other couples may even forgo thinking about the fertile window altogether, due to the stress it causes, and instead try every 2 - 3 days throughout the month.

It ultimately depends on you and your partner. However, do take note that the fertile window differs from one woman to another. Also, you may find that the window may be slightly shorter on some other websites (3 days versus 5 days).

Conclusion

In the end, the window is just an estimated duration to guide you, rather than a period of guaranteed success. Having intercourse with your partner while attempting to get pregnant can be stressful, especially if you have been trying for months.

If you and your partner have been actively trying for the past 1 year, without contraception, but still unable to conceive, perhaps it is a good time to consult a fertility specialist near you. There is nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to getting help. In fact, 1 out of 8 couples out there struggle to conceive. It's that common!

We wish you all the best, and hope that you will be able to build a beautiful family of your own!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *