Planning to start a family can be a truly joyous and exciting time for couples. However, after months without results, some couples begin to worry about infertility and sexual health problems.
When planning to start a family, patience is important. While many couples fall pregnant in less than six months, 40% of couples wait from six months to more than a year. More importantly, remember that every experience is different.
If you are hoping to become pregnant, you should plan to have regular unprotected sex, especially during your fertile window. This is usually just a few days during your menstrual cycle in which a mature egg is released.
Your fertile window is when you are most likely to get pregnant and the egg can only be fertilised in the 24-hour period after it is ovulated.
Extending Your 24-Hour Window
Luckily, you can extend the 24-hour ovulation window by having unprotected intercourse in the days and weeks leading up to ovulation. This is because sperm remains in the fallopian tubes for up to 5 days after intercourse, giving it time to meet with the mature egg after it has been ovulated.
Your fertility peaks in the two days prior to ovulation and this is when you should be having the most regular sex. However, regular sex during the 5 or so days of your fertile window is recommended for your best chance of naturally falling pregnant.
While this increases your chances of falling pregnant, your fertile window will close for the month 24 hours after you have released the mature egg.
Doing the Maths on Ovulation
There are several ways to know if you are about to ovulate, many of which will be natural signs from your body. These include:
- darkening of the areola
- the presence of egg white cervical mucus
- increased libido around the same time as other symptoms
- an increase of Luteinising hormone in your urine (you can purchase tests to check this)
As well as this, women with regular cycles can use mathematics to determine when they are ovulating using this simple formula:
- Cycle length minus 14 = ovulation
- 26-14= 12
This means you will start ovulating on day 12 of your cycle, with day 1 being the day you get your period. To be sure, start having regular sex 2-3 days before your predicted ovulation date.
Advice for Women with Irregular Periods
Depending on how irregular your menstrual cycle is, you may still be able to fall pregnant by looking for the bodily signs mentioned above and timing regular intercourse. However, irregular periods or the absence of ovulation can be caused by underlying factors that affect female fertility.
If you are in this situation and trying to fall pregnant, we recommend seeking specialist care and advice. Proper diagnosis and treatment will give you the best possible chance of falling pregnant.
When Else to See a Specialist
Whatever your situation may be, if you have been trying to become pregnant for 12 months or more, its best to see a fertility specialist. If you are a slightly older couple (35+), you should make an appointment after 6 months of trying.
Based in East Melbourne, Dr Alex Polyakov can test for male and female infertility factors and guide you on the journey to conception and delivery. In cases of infertility, timing is important. Call Dr Alex today on 03 9998 6085 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.