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If you’re like any normal American person out there, your sex ed probably sucked. You most likely came out of high school thinking you were basically just as likely to get pregnant from sex on any day of your cycle.
But then you start trying for a baby. And a month goes by without a positive test. Then 2 months. Then 6 months. Soon a whole year has gone by, and you’re wondering why it’s just not working.
The sad reality is, you’ve been lied to about pregnancy. There are specific days in your cycle when you are most likely to successfully fall pregnant, and the rest of the days in your cycle carry little to no chance of getting you pregnant.
So when is the best time to have sex in order to become pregnant? It all hinges on when you ovulate!
The Ovulation Window Is The Key To Get Pregnant
The best days to have sex when you want to have a baby will be in the window around your time of ovulation. But how can you know when you ovulate? Most women have weird cycles now and then, when ovulation happens at a different day than expected. So is it all just left up to guess work?
Nope! Luckily, there are a few ways to know for sure that you’re shacking up on the right day.
The Basics Of Ovulation
Generally, you will ovulate around 14 days before your next period. Unfortunately, this general advice doesn’t take into account the many women (like me!) that have longer or shorter cycles than the “standard” 28 day cycle.
The best time to get pregnant is the two days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. Within 12 to 24 hours of ovulation, it isn’t possible to get pregnant in that cycle because the egg has left the fallopian tube.
The tips below will allow you to get a more accurate idea of when you ovulate. Set up a notebook to take down a few changes in your body with the tips below.
Track Your Basal Body Temperature
One way to get an idea of when you’ve ovulated is to start tracking your basal body temperature with an inexpensive thermometer. You can buy one online that keeps track of past temperatures. This is an important feature because you’re supposed to take your temp the very second you wake up, when you are probably too groggy to remember a number and it’s probably too dark to see well anyway.
You need a basal temperature thermometer that can detect a temperature change of a tenth of a degree.
Monitor Your Cervical Mucus
Your cervical mucus will change depending on the hormones your body is producing at different times in your cycle. The consistency and appearance will change throughout your cycle, from eggwhite to watery.
Check yourself daily by either looking at your panties (which is less accurate) or scooping some up with your finger (gross, but more accurate).
Egg white discharge is the best for getting pregnant, but some women never get this kind of discharge. This is one tip that is great if it applies to you, but isn’t a deal breaker if it doesn’t.
Use An Ovulation Predictor Kit
OPKs, or ovulation predictor kits, look a lot like pregnancy tests. Instead of testing for the hormone that signals you are pregnant, it tests for hormones that signals you are ovulating. When you get a positive test, that means you need to get it on ASAP.
The hormone the OPK is looking for is the luteinizing hormone, which usually increases 24 to 48 hours before ovulation. However, there will be fluctuations of this hormone throughout your cycle.
Unlike pregnancy tests, which are positive even when faint, OPKs are not positive until they are as dark as the control line.
Try A Fertility Diet
There are a few different fertility diets out there that work to improve your body’s health and increase the nutrients a fetus needs to grow healthfully. There are also some fertility teas that some women swear have helped them to become pregnant.
Go Get Pregnant!
The decision to get pregnant and have a baby is both exciting and terrifying. While the journey to motherhood is often daunting and unpredictable, it can be made a little bit easier to track with the tips above.
Just remember that the healthier you are before you get pregnant, the healthier your baby will be!