Roughly speaking, healthy couples have around a 20% chance of getting pregnant on each monthly cycle. But with just a few days when sperm and egg can meet, how can you judge when you are most fertile?
An egg is released once a month from your ovaries and hangs around for 24 hours. Sperm can hang around for five to seven days, which leaves a six-day window every cycle when you can get pregnant. Learn about the five natural telltale signs that it’s the right time of the month.
It will help you start to understand your body and your monthly cycle if you work out when your periods are due every month. You ovulate – release an egg – about halfway through and this is when you’re at your most fertile. But about half of women have irregular periods, which can make it difficult to predict, so it's a good idea to keep a record for a few months or use an ovulation calculator and look for other signs that your body is ready to conceive.
Take your temperature
When you ovulate, your body temperature rises slightly. While not a hugely accurate way of charting ovulation, it can help you work out when you’re at your most fertile.
The trick is to spot three days in a row when your temperature is higher. This tells you that you have already ovulated so you will need to do it for a couple of months to build up a pattern to help you predict that fertile window in future months.
Before you started trying for a baby, you probably paid absolutely no attention to monthly changes in your vaginal discharge.
But this is actually a very important sign that your body is ready to conceive, so get over the eurgh-factor now. Your vaginal discharge changes from being cloudy and quite thick or even non-existent after your period to clear and slippery, increasing in volume and wateriness as you near ovulation.
What you’re looking for is the mucus that is a bit like raw egg white.
‘It becomes more watery and if you put it between your thumb and finger and pull apart it has a stringy appearance,’ explains Helen Kendrew, matron at the Bath Fertility Centre.
This abundant watery mucus is nature’s way of making it easier for the sperm to swim up through the cervix to the waiting egg. You should be able to spot the changes by keeping an eye on the toilet roll as you wipe.
Some women also get sore breasts and even some twinges of pain in their belly.
This has a technical term that sounds a bit like a random fruit cake from Ikea – mittelschmerz – and might feel like mild achiness or a tender spot, which can last for just minutes or days. But don’t worry if you don’t get this – it only happens for one in five women.
Increased sex drive
Feeling amorous all of a sudden? Could be your body’s way of telling you its time to get to the bedroom.
There is evidence that a woman’s sex drive peaks around ovulation.
One thing the experts all agree on is to keep baby-making pleasurable, and what is more stress-free than having sex when you’re feeling most in the mood!