Getting to know your menstrual cycle can help you identify when you are most fertile. Peak fertility occurs on the day of ovulation and five days prior. Charting your menstrual cycle (day 1 is the first day of your period) can help you identify ovulation, which generally occurs about 14 days prior to your next period. Since your cycle can vary in length, it’s helpful to track over several months.
You may experience physical signs of ovulation, as well. As you near ovulation, your cervix will rise and become softer and cervical mucus production increases and develops a consistency similar to egg whites. You should thoroughly wash your hands prior to checking your cervix to reduce the risk of infection.
Once you have identified your most fertile period, you can time sexual intercourse to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Your OBGYN may recommend having sex every other day beginning the weekprior to ovulation with intercourse occurring on the day of ovulation, as well.
If your menstrual cycles are irregular, subtract 17 days from your longest cycle and 11 from your shortest. The days that fall within this range should be your most fertile. For women experiencing menstrual cycles longer than 35 days, speak with your OBGYN to check for any underlying causes.
Women on birth control should talk to their OBGYN prior to discontinuing it. It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as you stop taking your birth control pill, but it may take several cycles (months) to begin ovulating normally, again. However, there is no reason to wait to try and conceive, as women who become pregnant immediately after going off the pill have the same likelihood of having a healthy baby as those who wait.