When is the Best Time to Get Pregnant?

Did you know that most babies are conceived in December? It’s not surprising when you think about all those long winter nights… Regardless of what time you choose to conceive there are a few important things to know about the best time to get pregnant. In this post, we’re going to look at when in the cycle you’re most fertile and some ways you can find and predict those fertile days.

Find your fertile window

When is the best time to have sex to get pregnant?

You may have heard that to get pregnant, you should have sex throughout your entire cycle - which can be exhausting and make things a little less fun. The truth is, you are only actually fertile for six days in any menstrual cycle. These six days include the day of ovulation and the five days prior, since sperm can survive in the female reproductive system for up to five days. However, even within this window, there are points when you are more fertile. So when is the best time to have sex to get pregnant? This is dictated by the short life of the female egg cell

While sperm are more resilient, and can live for several days before the egg cell is released, conceiving during the start of this fertile window is less likely. And conceiving toward the end of this window can be tricky because once ovulation happens and the egg cell is released, it starts to deteriorate very quickly. So within 24 hours after ovulation has happened, the fertile window has already closed. 

Therefore, the best time to have sex to get pregnant is one or two days before ovulation. This means the sperm get the chance to swim close to the egg cell, but do not themselves die off before ovulation happens.

But how do you know when you’re ovulating?

OK, so now we know when the best time to get pregnant is, but it’s one thing knowing this in theory. In practice, timing sex around ovulation is a lot more tricky. For one thing, as humans we have what is called ‘concealed ovulation’ meaning it’s not obvious when we’re fertile. However, there are some subtle signs of ovulation we can look out for, such as changes to cervical mucus, increased libido, and ovulation pain

While these are very personal indicators that are subject to change from woman to woman and cycle to cycle, there are also some more objective ways we can predict ovulation, so we can plan for the best time to get pregnant without the guesswork.

Knowing when you ovulate

We know predicting ovulation can be a tricky business. One way to tell if you might be going to ovulate is to use ovulation tests, also known as LH tests. These easy-to-use test kits measure the presence of luteinizing hormone in urine. This hormonal surge happens 24-48 hours before ovulation is due to occur. A positive LH test is a useful indication of ovulation, but, it’s worth knowing, it does not guarantee it will happen. 

A way to confirm ovulation has happened is to measure basal body temperature throughout your cycle. There is a clear spike in temperature that happens after ovulation has occurred. 

Unfortunately, by the time your temperature has risen the fertile window has also closed. This is where Natural Cycles comes in. Natural Cycles is an FDA cleared app that uses a thermometer as well as other fertility indicators to find your fertile window. Measure your temperature in the morning, pop the data in the app, and the algorithm learns the pattern of your unique cycle so you can predict your ovulation day ahead of time.

Can’t I just count my cycle days?

Trying to predict your ovulation based on counting cycle days is problematic. The truth is, we all have different patterns to our cycles and even those of us who have regular cycles can experience a shift in ovulation day from cycle to cycle. 

Factors such as lifestyle changes or experiencing stress can also affect the menstrual cycle and cause the ovulation day to shift. Natural Cycles’ Medical Team conducted a study that looked at the calendar-based fertility methods vs using tailored fertility tracking. The study showed that Natural Cycles found fertile days more accurately than those traditional calendar-based methods. So if you’re looking to understand when the best time to get pregnant is, the best place to start is to find your own fertile window.

Get pregnant faster with Natural Cycles

Not only does Natural Cycles find the fertile window more accurately than calendar-based methods, but our recent study also showed that women who used Natural Cycles to plan a pregnancy got pregnant in three cycles or fewer. Find out when’s the best time to get pregnant in your unique cycle by getting started with Natural Cycles today.

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Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

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Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

With 10 years of experience working in the field of fertility, Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house expert. As Medical Affairs Manager, he dedicates his time to conducting groundbreaking research and educating healthcare professionals.