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Most Fertile Period - Determining Your Fertile Period

The most fertile period for a woman is the specific time of the month when her chances of getting pregnant are the highest. Think of your friends who have had an unplanned pregnancy – it was because they had sexual intercourse during this most fertile period. A woman's menstrual period is on average approximately 28 days long (can be shorter or longer) and involves a special process called “ovulation”. During this process, one of the women's ovaries will release an ovum (the egg) that will travel through the fallopian tube down to the uterus. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle, approximately 14 days after the beginning of the menstrual period – so about 2 weeks after a woman has her “period”. The exact timing is different in every woman. If you wish to get pregnant, it is crucial to have sexual intercourse within the time period 2-3 days before or up to 12-24 hours after ovulation. If intercourse occurs too soon before ovulation, or if it occurs a few days after ovulation, the chance of becoming pregnant is very low. If the male ejaculate (sperm) is able to travel through the uterus to the fallopian tubes at the exact time when the egg is there waiting, then fertilization occurs. Now, the egg and sperm are fused together as one – the “embryo.” A few days later, the newly fertilized egg will implant itself in the uterus, and the woman is pregnant! Usually, the woman will not know she is pregnant until she misses her period. You can confirm you are pregnant by performing a Urine Pregnancy Test, which can be purchased at any pharmacy/grocery store. The urine pregnancy test measures a special hormone in the urine that will only be present if you are pregnant.

Many couples do not understand the concept of the fertile period. This leads both to unplanned pregnancies as well as couples who get very upset and frustrated that they can' get pregnant. This is why it is very important to understand the above information.

How To Determine The Fertile Period

To determine the fertile period of a woman it is necessary to understand the menstruation cycle. It varies between 23 and 35 days among women (average = 28 days) and it is divided into two phases. The first phase is before ovulation; doctors call this phase the “follicular phase” and the “proliferative phase”. The second phase is after ovulation; doctors call this phase the “luteal phase” and the “secretory phase”.

The first day of the menstrual period is the day the woman begins to have her menses, otherwise known as her “period. During days 5-10 the ovaries are getting ready to release an egg that will be ready to be fertilized. At this time, the uterus is also getting ready to accept the fertilized egg. The uterus has to be ready so the embryo can develop into a baby.

On average, the egg (ovum) is released on day 14 but can range from days 13-16 in different women. The egg then travels down the fallopian tubules. The ovum has a life span of only about 12 to 24 hours – so sexual intercourse must occur right before or during this time period to have a chance for becoming pregnant. If there is no sperm waiting in the fallopian tube to fertilize the ovum, the ovum will break down and the woman can't get pregnant. 2 weeks later the woman will have her period.

If you have had trouble getting pregnant for a few months, you can actually calculate when your most fertile period will be! The cheapest and easiest way it to keep a calendar and keep track of how many days there are in between the first day of your last two periods. Odds are, you are “ovulating” right smack in the middle of that time. Some women are unlucky and will feel pain in their ovaries every 2 weeks before their period – this pain is actually ovulation! So while you might be unlucky to experience this pain, you are lucky in that you will know when you are most fertile! There are also many commercially available products that will analyze your basal body temperature and changes that occur in the cervical mucous to tell you when you are pregnant.

During ovulation, the body temperature increases by 0.5 to 1.6 degrees above a woman's normal temperature. Thus, taking your temperature can help identify your fertile period. Additionally during ovulation, the cervical mucous is clear and stretchy unlike other days when it is pasty and thick. These methods are not exact – but you can purchase special products at pharmacies that will help you determine your most fertile period. You can consider these options if you have been having trouble for a few months.

How do I know if I can even get pregnant?

Don't worry, not everyone gets pregnant the first time they try! Especially if the woman is not in good health (overweight, diabetes, etc…so stay healthy and avoid all alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes!) In fact, it takes a lot of couples several months of trying. Doctors will not consider that you have fertility problems unless you have been having regular, unprotected sexual intercourse for an entire year. If you have reached this point, make an appointment with your physician, and they can help try to figure out and fix the underlying cause. And don't worry too much if you reach this point, because there are still several options available for helping you to become pregnant!

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