Before exploring fertility care and services, couples should first try everything they can to increase their chances for natural conception. In the fourth part of our series on how to get pregnant on your own, we offer this tip.
Step 4: Understand ovulation and conception
Understanding the woman’s menstrual cycle and her ovulation can be critical in attaining pregnancy.
In order to become pregnant, the woman’s ovaries must release an egg that must travel to one of the two fallopian tubes where it can be fertilized by the man’s sperm. The sperm must be presented to the female’s fallopian tubes by entering through the vagina during intercourse at the proper time. The fertilized egg, or embryo, then travels to the uterus where it implants into the uterine lining and develops into a fetus.
Menstrual cycle lengths vary for a number of reasons but generally range from 21-35 days. The average cycle is 28 days. Ovulation, or the release of the egg from the ovaries, typically occurs about two weeks before the start of a menstrual period. For a woman with the typical 28-day cycle, ovulation would be expected on days 13 through 15.
The egg is only viable for 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary, and male sperm is typically viable for up to five days after ejaculation. In theory, having unprotected intercourse the day of, or up to two days prior to, ovulation increases the likelihood of pregnancy. Pregnancies can occur if intercourse occurred up to five days prior to ovulation.
This is why increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse to every other day or every third day prior to and during the “fertile window” (the six-day time period ending on the day the egg is believed to have been released) can help improve the likelihood of conception.
For more tips on how to get pregnant on your own, go to our web page.