The best time to get pregnant

Understanding all the factors when planning to get pregnant

The best time to get pregnant

If you’re planning on starting a family it’s a good idea to understand how your body works and when in your cycle you are most likely to fall pregnant

the best time to get pregnant

Is there a best time to get pregnant?  

Everyone’s menstrual cycle is different but you are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or so of ovulation.

How do I know if I’m ovulating?

Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries. It usually occurs around two weeks after the first day of your last period if your cycle is around 28 days long.  

Some women claim to know exactly when they’re ovulating while others don’t notice at all. But if you’re planning on getting pregnant it’s wise to look out for these three main signs that you’re ovulating.  

  • Vaginal discharge with a stretchy egg white consistency. This is known as fertile mucus.
  • Mittelschmerz –pain on one side of your lower back or abdomen which can be range from a dull ache to a stabbing pain
  • Increased libido

One of the simplest ways of working out your fertile days is to check your cervical mucus every day. Changes to your mucus are one of the easiest things for you to spot. An egg survives for between 12-14 hours after being released, so in order to get pregnant the egg needs to be fertilised by a sperm within this time.  

How can I ensure I will get pregnant?

There is no way to guarantee you will get pregnant, but there are things you can do to increase your chances.  

Having sex every two days will mean that there is always sperm in the fallopian tubes to meet the egg when it is released. Amazingly, sperm can live for up to seven days inside a woman’s body, so if you’ve had sex in the days leading up to ovulation there will be sperm in the fallopian tubes ready to meet and fertilise the egg.  

What is my fertile window?

Scheduling sex every two days isn’t always possible, so the most effective time to have sex is during what’s known as your fertile window - the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. These six days are when you are at your most fertile.  

You can use our ovulation calculator to help determine your fertile window. And read our article on how to boost your chances of getting pregnant.

What if my periods are irregular?

When you ovulate depends on the length of your menstrual cycle and also how regular your periods are.  

So, if your menstrual cycle length varies from month to month, your fertile window may also vary by about a week between each period. An irregular cycle doesn’t necessarily mean you are less fertile, but it can be more difficult to pinpoint your fertile window. So you may find it easier to just have regular sex throughout your cycle every two or three days or whenever you notice fertile mucus.  

If your cycle is more than 36 days long, it is worth talking to your GP about running a few basic fertility tests. Irregular periods can sometimes be due to conditions such as polycycstic ovarian syndrome or a thyroid disorder which can both affect your fertility so it’s worth seeking medical advice earlier rather than later.  

The best time to get pregnant