So you and your partner have decided to try for a baby. Congratulations! Trying to get pregnant is exciting, but it’s normal to have questions, too.
Maybe you’re wondering if tracking your cycle is really necessary, or maybe you’re curious about how to make sure you have the best chances of conceiving.
Many women get pregnant without tracking their menstrual cycles. But taking the time to educate yourself about your cycle can help you feel more prepared or even help you get pregnant faster.
A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our team work with women of all ages who are trying to get pregnant, and we offer comprehensive prenatal care for expectant moms. If you’re ready to start trying for a baby, here’s what you should know.
Familiarize yourself with your menstrual cycle
Your menstrual cycle is a natural process that prepares your body for pregnancy each month. A new cycle starts on the first day of your menstrual period. Each cycle includes menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase, before it starts all over again.
Most women have menstrual cycles that last 28-32 days. The average menstrual period can last 2-7 days, and ovulation typically occurs around day 14.
You can use your menstrual cycle to help you understand when you’re most likely to get pregnant, but every woman’s menstrual cycle is slightly different. If you’re trying to get pregnant, tracking your cycle can help you learn what’s normal for your body.
Try using a calendar or an app to track your menstrual cycle and make it easier to identify when your period will start and when you will ovulate.
Identify your most fertile days
Ovulation is the part of your menstrual cycle when your ovaries release an egg to be fertilized. After it’s released, it stays in the fallopian tube for 12-24 hours, and sperm can fertilize it during this time.
Ovulation typically happens in the middle of your menstrual cycle — around days 13-15 — and the days surrounding ovulation are when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
There are a few methods you can use to pinpoint when you’re ovulating. These include:
- Tracking your basal body temperature
- Observing your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge)
- Using ovulation test kits
Having unprotected sex in the days leading up to ovulation and when you’re ovulating can increase your chances of conceiving. In general, having unprotected sex 2-3 times per week around ovulation is recommended if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Recognize that pregnancy may not happen right away
It’s normal to be excited (and maybe even impatient) when you and your partner have decided it’s time to grow your family. But you should recognize that pregnancy might not happen right away.
The likelihood of getting pregnant in any given month depends on such factors as your age, health, and medical history. To increase your chances of getting pregnant, take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and consider starting prenatal vitamins, if you haven’t already.
On average, 85% of couples who are trying to get pregnant conceive within a year. If you’ve been trying for longer than a year, consider scheduling a fertility appointment with Dr. Coppa to find out if you or your partner could be affected by infertility.
No matter your family planning goals, we’re here to help. Contact us online or call the office nearest you to get started. We’re located in Cranston, Smithfield, and Providence, Rhode Island.