Timing Conception

May 12, 2008

Many women have an easy time getting pregnant.  They are able to do so without charting their basal body temperature, without buying an ovulation predictor and without thinking each month about their cycle.  These women are, of course, very lucky.

For the rest of us, however, it's very important to understand when ovulation occurs and to be aware of how you can create the best timing to become pregnant.  Timing conception is not intended to be a scientific study - it certainly shouldn't take the spontaneity and excitement out of your intimacy.  It should, however, help you to understand what your body is doing and to try to create optimal circumstances for conception.

Understanding Ovulation

Each month, a woman has a narrow opportunity to conceive a child.   Only once during a woman's cycle is an egg released, and this happens when ovulation occurs.  The egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours - and this is the only window in the course of the month when conception can take place.

The good news, however, is that sperm can live as long as five days in a cervix with good cervical fluid.  You shouldn't count on this, of course, since the strongest ovulation and the best time to get pregnant will be right before the egg is released.  The best way to know when you will be ovulating is to chart your basal body temperature and to check your cervical fluid.  There are many guide books and articles, both online and in print, that can help you to learn how to know when you are ovulating.

Timing Intimacy and Conception

So, when and how often should you have intercourse?  A.J. Wilcox performed a study in 1995 which suggests that the best time to have intercourse, with a regular 28 day cycle, is on days 10, 12, 14 and 16.  If the cycle is not a 28 day cycle, then the intercourse should be on days -4, -2, 0, and +2 in terms of the expected ovulation.  In general, he found that the chance of pregnancy was about 10% when intercourse happened five days before ovulation and 33% when it happened on the day of ovulation.  Now, if you have intercourse after the egg is released, you will not be able to become pregnant, even if it's only a short while after the release of the egg.

Frequency of Intimacy for Getting Pregnant

The frequency of intercourse depends on a number of factors.  If the man has a normal sperm count, then it's find to have intercourse every day to try to hit your ovulation.  If, however, he has a low sperm count, then it's better to try every other day.  Assuming you know when you ovulate, try to have intercourse starting three days before your ovulation and going one to three days after.  This will help to make sure that the sperm is present to fertilize the egg.

Finally, with all of this scientific talk and planning, try to keep the excitement alive!  Try not to become stressed over the timing of ovulation and your attempted conception.  The more relaxed that you can be, and the more regular your intimacy, the more likely your chances of conception will be.  Have fun trying to create a beautiful baby and enjoy the process!

 

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