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Fertile period: when am I most likely to get pregnant?

Let's understand the menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and continues until the first day of the next period.


You are most fertile at the time of ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovaries), which usually occurs 12 to 14 days before the next menstruation begins. This is the period of the month when you are most likely to become pregnant.


The egg survives up to 48 hours before it can no longer be fertilized by sperm. This short period of time can be considered the period of ovulation However, their total fertile period is how long the egg is fertile and how long the sperm can wait for the combined egg. This is known as the fertile window.


It is unlikely to get pregnant right after menstruation, although it can happen. It is important to remember that sperm can sometimes survive in the body for up to 7 days after intercourse .


This means that it may be possible to get pregnant right after your period ends if you ovulate early, especially if you have a naturally short menstrual cycle.


You should always use contraceptives during sexual intercourse if you do not want to become pregnant.



How long does ovulation last?

The best time to get pregnant varies.


The hard ovulation 12 to 48 hours , but is potentially fertile for up to seven days, and maybe up to 10 days , according to the most optimistic studies. This is because sperm can survive up to five / seven days in the female reproductive tract.


Although it can be fertile for seven days of the cycle, the probability of conceiving after that period is small. 


If you want to get pregnant, have sex one to two days before ovulation.


Determining the best time to have sex for the purpose of becoming pregnant

The fertile window can last up to 10 days. If you want to become pregnant, you should have intercourse as close to ovulation as possible.



How can you schedule to have sex on the most fertile days, during the fertile window?


There are many methods of tracking and predicting ovulation. The best options include ovulation test kits (also known as OPKs or ovulation prediction kits), graphs of basal body temperature and verification of fertile cervical mucus .

An ovulation day calculator can also help provide an estimate.


That said, research has also found that the right time for pregnancy can cause excessive anxiety in some couples. The right time for conception may be good for getting pregnant, but not for your relationship. It is important to consider this!


According to research, having sex when cervical mucus looks like egg white is the best way to schedule sex for pregnancy.


Another option is to have frequent sex and not worry so much about the exact day of ovulation. But, again, this can put more pressure on the relationship and is not a reassuring option for those who have been trying for some time, or know that there may be a latent fertility problem.


Unless you are in the midst of fertility treatments and your doctor has asked you to have sex on a certain day or set of days, you may consider stopping ovulation detection.


Instead, have sex, three to four times a week, at your fertile window. Will it coincide with your most fertile day? This may not be the case. But it may also not be necessary.


How can you tell if you are not ovulating?


Irregular periods or periods that are completely absent are the number one sign that ovulation may not be occurring or occurs infrequently. It is possible to have regular periods and not be ovulating, but this is unusual. 


How to check your cervical mucus?

Learn how to detect ovulation and recognize the stages of cervical mucus


Cervical mucus is secreted by glands located in and around the cervix. Hormonal changes throughout a woman's reproductive cycle change the amount and consistency of this mucus. Cervical mucus can also be called cervical fluids.


The function of cervical mucus is: 

  • Prevent entry into the uterus through the cervix. 
  • Nourish and help transport sperm through the cervix to the uterus


The fertile cervical mucus is a clue that ovulation is coming. The vaginal discharge is fertile when resembles raw egg white. This is the best time to have sex if you want to become pregnant.


You can predict this by checking and tracking changes in the cervical mucus. Yes, that means looking at and (usually) touching the vaginal discharge. You may feel sick with this test, but think it's your body :)


How to check cervical mucus?

  • Wash and dry your hands
  • In a comfortable position, sitting on the toilet, for example, squatting or standing and resting one leg on the edge of the bathtub or on the toilet seat.
  • Place a finger inside the vagina; the index or middle finger. 
  • Depending on the amount of cervical mucus you are producing, it may not be necessary to get that far, but getting a sample close to the cervix is ​​ideal.
  • Remove your finger from the vagina and observe the consistency of any mucus you find. Do this by looking at the mucus and rolling what you find between two fingers, usually the thumb and forefinger. 
  • Try to press your fingers together and then slowly separate them (see the appearance hypotheses below).


Note: do not make this assessment if you are sexually aroused Excitation fluids are not the same as fertile cervical mucus, and you won't be able to tell the difference. Checking after sex is also a bad idea, because it is very easy to confuse sperm with cervical secretions. 


You can check the cervical mucus, in a simpler way, on the toilet paper or in your underwear .



Key to mucus assessment

  • Sticky or sparse - you are probably not yet ovulating. 
  • Creamy - ovulation may be coming, but it hasn't quite happened yet.
  • Moist, watery and slightly elastic - very likely that ovulation is close. Find time to have sex for babies :))))) 
  • Very moist, if it stretches between 2 to 3 cm between the fingers , and if it resembles a raw egg white, the cervical mucus is very fertile - ovulation is taking place and now is the ideal time for sexual intercourse.


Ovulation, temperature and cervical mucus

If you already track baseline body temperature (TBB), adding cervical mucus tracking is excellent. The basal body temperature (which is the temperature at complete rest) increases when you ovulate, caused by the increase in the hormone progesterone.



Your BBT will tell you if and when you ovulated after the event. But if you want to get pregnant, it is advisable to have intercourse before ovulation. Changes in cervical mucus may inform you before ovulating. This information can really help you determine the time of sex for pregnancy.


Just before ovulation occurs, the hormone estrogen leads to an increase in cervical mucus and turns it into an elastic and viscous substance. This helps sperm to survive and swim.


After ovulation, the hormone progesterone causes the cervical mucus to become sticky and thick. This prevents sperm (and any other foreign substance) from reaching the uterus.



As ovulation approaches, the cervical mucus changes from a consistency that is not compatible with sperm to a more fertile variety. Although each person's body is different, mucus undergoes the following changes:


  • Menstruation (which is not cervical mucus, but will not be able to detect it)
  • Dry or sticky
  • Creamy as a lotion
  • Consistency of raw egg white
  • Back to dry and sticky
  • Until menstruation again


When the cervical mucus is in the wet or raw egg white consistency stage , ovulation is approaching. This is the best time to have sex if you want to get pregnant.


Let's say you know, approximately, when you ovulated and how many days before or after ovulation you had sex. What are the chances of getting pregnant?


Here is what the studies refer to, based on several combined studies.



  • Five days before ovulation: 0.4% to 7 chance of becoming pregnant 
  • Four days before ovulation: 8 to 17%
  • Three days before ovulation: 8 to 23% 
  • Two days before ovulation: 13 to 29% 
  • One day before ovulation: 21 to 34% 
  • Day of ovulation: 8 to 33% 
  • One day after ovulation: 0.8 percent to 11% 
  • Two days later: 3 to 9% 


Analyzing the statistics above, it can be noted that the odds vary widely from day to day. For example, three days before ovulation, the chances of conceiving are 8% to 23%. So, why are there so many variations?


On the one hand, each study used a different method of calculating the day of ovulation. This means that the ovulation detection day for one study may not coincide with the day for another study.


On the other hand, the studies were limited to a number of participants and designed cycles. Just because someone can get pregnant the day before they ovulate does not mean they will.




Can I get pregnant right after my period is over?

Yes, although it is not very likely. If sexual intercourse happened without using contraceptive methods, you can become pregnant at any time, during the menstrual cycle, even during or shortly after menstruation.


You can become pregnant if you have never menstruated before, during your first menstruation or after your first sexual intercourse.


There is no "safe" time of the month when you can have sex, without contraception and without risking pregnancy.


But there are times in the menstrual cycle when you are most fertile, and where you are most likely to become pregnant.


Catarina Vilela - Nurse