Whether you're actively trying to have a child or actively trying to not have a child, it can be incredibly helpful to freshen up on the days you're most likely to get pregnant. A far cry from awkward high school health class or "the talk" with your parents that still gives you nightmares, talking about sex doesn't need to be uncomfortable or taboo. And when it comes to pregnancy, knowing the ins and out in a clear and concise manner can be a total game changer.
For those of you who are ready for your family to grow, tracking your ovulation can pinpoint the days you are most fertile. With this knowledge, you can heighten your chance of conception by having sex before and during peak fertility times. For those of you who aren't quite ready for diapers and animated movies just yet, this same knowledge can inform how and when you have sex, as well as the birth control methods you use. When it comes to getting it on, knowing your body in its totality can make all the difference.
Although it can seem overwhelming, finding the days that you are the most likely to get pregnant comes down to some basic counting. By tracking your menstrual cycle, you can discover which days you are ovulating, as well as, according to Planned Parenthood, the days you are most likely to get pregnant. These are your "fertile days," and having sex during this time means chances of getting pregnant are the highest. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Fertility Awareness & Natural Family Planning:
A menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding in one month to the first day of bleeding the next month (usually 23-35 days). The most fertile time is when ovulation occurs, usually in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Counting from the first day of a period, days eight through 19 of the menstrual cycle are considered fertile days.
If you're trying to track you period to find days eight through 19, there are a number of apps that can help you keep an eye on your cycle. Or, if you like to keep it old school, tracking your period on a literal paper calendar can be a physical and visual reminder of the times you're most likely to get pregnant. Counting the first day of bleeding of your current period to your first day of bleeding in your next period can help you to define the length of your cycle. According to Parents magazine, ovulation kits can be super helpful in finding the days you're most likely to get pregnant, with the 36 hours around your ovulation being the most likely time you can conceive. During ovulation, the egg your body releases will last around 12 hours. The most effective time to conceive is when the sperm hits the egg, around four to six hours after the egg was released.
"Fertility awareness" methods of birth control (sometimes called natural family planning or the rhythm method) center around knowing the days you're most likely to conceive and getting it on accordingly. According to Planned Parenthood, the most popular ways of tracking your fertility are by taking your temperature every morning and tracking your results (when you're ovulating your temp normally rises to around 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit), checking your cervical mucus (your discharge), and checking your period and following back your ovulation on a calendar.
If you're looking for the times you're most likely to get pregnant, the answer may be in tracking your cycle. Finding the times you are ovulating can be the key to knowing your "fertile days." Tracking your cycle may seem a little intimidating at first, but knowing your own body can help you feel in control of what happens next.