Even if you're on birth control, it's totally understandable if you're nervous about the possibility of pregnancy. So, it may make you wonder when the best time of the month to have sex is if getting pregnant is the last thing you want at this moment in your life, or ever. Well, the answer to that lies in your menstrual cycle. I spoke to experts who all agreed that the safest time to have sex if you don't want to get pregnant is at the beginning and/or the end of your menstrual cycle, when you're not ovulating.
"Ovulation usually occurs around day 14 of the menstrual cycle," Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, OBGYN, tells Elite Daily. "However, physicians usually advise women that pregnancy can occur on days 10-20 of the cycle. Day 14 is a theoretical day. Ovulation is not going to occur exactly on day 14 every month. Ovulation may occur three days before or three days after day 14, depending on the length of the menstrual cycle. The safest days to have sex would be days 1-10 and days 20-28. A good way to find out if you are ovulating on any given day is to take an at-home ovulation test, such as First Response which can let you know your two most fertile days."
Kim Anami, sex and relationship expert, agrees with Dr. Richardson. However, "there is some thought [that] once in a blue moon a woman can release an egg during menstruation, so if you wanted to be super safe, you’d say days 5-10 and then 18-28ish," she tells Elite Daily. Learning exactly when your body is ovulating and having sex based on that is called the "Calendar Method." And while that method is incredibly beneficial, "it’s not the most accurate," she says.
"It’s a helpful tool to know your cycle, and it adds weight to your other observations, but I wouldn’t use it as the number one checkpoint," she adds. But, if you are actively observing your fertility signs, such as cervical mucus, position of cervix, and basal body temperature, Anami says you're probably more than 99 percent accurate about when you are or aren't fertile. "Based on a 'normal' cycle, the above days are generally how things play out," she adds.
However, it's important to remember that no matter how carefully you plan, there's no certainty that you won't get pregnant, unless you don't have sex, Dr. Lauren Streicher, Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Medical School, says. "There are safer [times] than others, but there is no safe time," she tells Elite Daily. Though some people believe having sex on your period is pregnancy-proof, that's not the case. "The fact that someone is bleeding is certainly no guarantee that it’s a safe time," Dr. Streicher says.
"Yes, ovulation is an event that occurs, but the egg hangs around," she elaborates. "It’s not like it’s there for five seconds, and it leaves. Sometimes, the egg can hang out in the fallopian tube for 48 to 72 hours, and sperm can live for some time up to 72 hours. So, you might think you’re safe at the tail-end of your period, and then you have sex and ovulation might occur three days later and the sperm is hanging around long enough."
If you're trying to figure out when the best time to have sex with the least chance of pregnancy is, it's probably safest when you're furthest from your ovulation period, which falls in the middle of your cycle. According to Anami, your chances of getting pregnant are less than 15 percent. But remember: There's still that 15 percent chance. Having sex at the beginning or end of your cycle is not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, so always use protection.