Man and woman holding thermometer and looking at phone together
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Plan Pregnancy

5 Things to Know Before Planning a Pregnancy

First off, we want to say that every woman is different and her experience with pregnancy will be unique. When it comes to our reproductive health, things aren’t black and white - what works for you, might not work for your friend and vice versa. However, knowledge is power and in this post we want to share some facts that are useful to know if and when you decide to start a family. So grab yourself a coffee, make yourself comfy, and get ready to learn more about your body.

1. You can’t get pregnant every day of your cycle

This might seem obvious, but many of us aren’t aware that we’re only actually fertile for six days in any menstrual cycle. This fertile window includes the day of ovulation and the five days prior, as this is how long sperm can live in the female reproductive system. Of course, if you’re having sex frequently throughout your cycle, there’s a strong chance you’ll hit upon those few fertile days. However, knowing exactly when you’re fertile gives you the power of precision so you can plan to have sex on your most fertile days with the greatest chance of conceiving. 

The best time to have sex is generally one or two days before ovulation. Once ovulation happens the female egg cell starts to deteriorate quickly and can only survive for 12-24 hours. While sperm can live for longer, the closer to ovulation day you have sex, the higher chance they have of surviving too. 

2. Know your fertility indicators

Unlike most mammals, ovulation in humans is hidden - however, that doesn’t mean it’s all about shooting in the dark, so to speak. There are a number of fertility indicators we can look out for that can tell us where we are in our cycle. Right after ovulation happens, there is a rise in temperature caused by hormones. This can be measured using a basal body thermometer. However, measuring temperature alone can only tell you once you’ve ovulated, after your fertile window has passed. Natural Cycles combines the basal body temperature method with a smart algorithm that learns your unique cycle and can predict your fertile days ahead of time.

There are other physiological indicators you might notice as your ovulation approaches. It’s during this point in our cycle that we usually feel our best - sex drive is naturally high, hormones give us plump skin, and we may have more energy than at other points in our cycle. You might also notice an abundance of cervical mucus, or vaginal discharge, during your fertile window. 

You can also take an LH test 24-48 hours prior to ovulation. This simple ovulation test looks for a surge in luteinizing hormone in urine - this indicates ovulation might be about to take place. If you’re interested in measuring LH, you can buy LH tests online at our webshop or look for them in your local pharmacy. 

3. Boost your body (and mind)

There is no magic method to improve your fertility. However, leading a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for both you and your baby. Healthcare professionals advise against drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, but encourage maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. Stress can affect the menstrual cycle by delaying your period or causing anovulatory cycles. 

To help with early fetal development it’s also a good idea to take folic acid when you start trying to conceive. Folic acid helps the baby’s brain, spinal cord, and skull develop, and can help prevent development problems from happening. We advise you to consult with your doctor before taking folic acid and they can also give advice on your pregnancy diet. Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional if you have any worries at all about your well-being or the health of your baby at any stage of pregnancy.

4. Know when to take a pregnancy test

It can save you time, money, and stress knowing when to take a pregnancy test. Tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period, although some pregnancy tests may be accurate four or five days before your period is due. If you aren’t sure when your period is meant to arrive, or you have an irregular cycle, you should wait three weeks after you’ve had unprotected sex before you take a pregnancy test. If you’re using Natural Cycles to plan a pregnancy, the app will also prompt you when it’s time to take a test.

Having pregnancy tests on hand is useful when you’re planning a pregnancy. There are many different kinds available online or in your local pharmacy. You can also order them right here in our webshop

5. The time it takes to get pregnant can vary

There are a number of things that can influence how long it takes to conceive. For some women it can happen with the first try, for others, it’s a longer road to getting pregnant. Everyone is different and all of our experiences vary. 

If you’ve been using hormonal birth control before you decide to start planning a pregnancy, you might find the time to conception takes longer. Our published study (Berglund Scherwitzl et., 2019) looked at two groups of women, the first used Natural Cycles as birth control before planning a pregnancy, while the other used hormonal birth control. We found women who use Natural Cycles prior to planning a pregnancy actually get pregnant faster when they switch to plan mode.

Find your fertile window and get pregnant faster 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of Five Things to Know Before Planning a Pregnancy! Whether you’re planning a pregnancy now, or are thinking about it in the future, we hope you enjoy the journey of learning about your fertility. 

If you want to find your fertile window, read more tailored info on planning pregnancy, or want to switch to a hormone-free birth control in order to plan a pregnancy in the future, why not try Natural Cycles? We’re FDA cleared, 100% hormone-free, and used by thousands of women worldwide.

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles° today

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

Jennifer Gray is an award-winning writer with more than five years’ experience covering reproductive topics ranging from birth control to planning pregnancy. She is passionate about providing women with accurate information grounded in science they can use to take charge of their own health - while also dispelling myths that exist within the field of women’s health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Ireland.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracker

4 min read

Birth Control

11 Non-hormonal birth control methods and how they work

13 min read

Birth Control

Switching birth control methods: what you need to know

9 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Plan Pregnancy

When does conception occur?

For pregnancy to happen, sperm must fertilize an egg, this is a process known as conception. The exact timing of when conception occurs can vary depending on several different factors, but it usually happens within a specific time frame after sex. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, it’s useful to know when that time frame is. So, let’s take a closer look.

8 min read

Plan Pregnancy

What is implantation?

In this post we’ll delve deeper into the subject of implantation, when it happens, what implantation bleeding looks like and more. Read on to learn all about implantation, and find out some ways you can get to know your body better during the early stages of pregnancy.

7 min read

Plan Pregnancy

What causes morning sickness?

Feeling nauseous during early pregnancy is very common, but have you ever wondered what causes morning sickness and why it affects some of us more than others? In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at pregnancy nausea, as well as some tips for relieving discomfort. Read on to find out more…

4 min read