Mistiming intercourse is one of the biggest mistakes a TTC couple can make when trying to get pregnant – if you’re TTC and you aren’t having sex when you’re fertile, you aren’t going to get pregnant.
Best time to have sex for conception
Here’s how to make sure you’re getting busy with baby-making at the most opportune time. Everyone ovulates at different times in their own menstrual cycle, so the only way to make sure you’re timing sex correctly is by tracking your cycle. Mistiming sex is one of the biggest mistakes a couple can make when trying to conceive–if you aren’t having sex when you’re fertile, you aren’t going to get pregnant.
How do you time sex correctly?
In order to get pregnant, your partner’s sperm must travel through the cervix and into the fallopian tube, where it will fertilize your awaiting egg, and form the embryo that develops into your baby. An egg is only available to be fertilized for about 24 hours each cycle, but a sperm cell can live for up to five days, making a total of six days on which sex can lead to intercourse each cycle. Of these six days, it’s the day of ovulation and the two days prior to it that are the days on which sex is most likely to lead to conception, so you may want to plan to have intercourse on each of these days. One study reports that couples who have sex every other day during the fertile window have a 22% chance of conceiving each cycle, while those who have sex every day during the fertile window have a 25% chance of conceiving, so even though it’s just a small edge, you may want to consider having intercourse every day of the fertile window if you can.
How can I tell when I’m fertile?
If you know when you ovulate and are fertile, figuring the best time to have sex for conception is a piece of cake. However, pinpointing your fertile window may not be quite that easy for everybody. However, there are a number of indicators of fertility that you can track in your Ovia account to help you pinpoint when the best time for sex is.
- Cervical fluid
Cervical fluid helps usher sperm along to your waiting egg, and is one of the body’s main indicators of fertility since it changes in consistency throughout the menstrual cycle. Cervical fluid may be thick and white, like school glue, immediately following a period, before becoming watery, and finally thin, stretchy, and clear as you’re in the fertile window and approaching ovulation. This is the type of cervical fluid that’s most helpful in ushering sperm toward your egg, so recognizing when your cervical fluid is most fertile can be a valuable tool in pinpointing your fertile window.
- Basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is your lowest body temperature in a given day, which is usually immediately upon waking up in the morning. Due to the influence that certain hormones like progesterone have on your body temperature, you may notice fluctuations throughout your cycle that correlate with an upcoming or past ovulation. People sometimes notice an ever-so-slight dip in basal body temperature in the day or so before ovulation, but more frequently notice a spike about 24-48 hours after they ovulate. While the post-ovulatory spike isn’t particularly helpful for one cycle, tracking the increase can be helpful for tracking and predicting your ovulations and fertile windows across multiple cycles.
- Ovulation tests
Ovulation test strips search for the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH), as the level of LH in your body surges in the 24-36 hours before you ovulate. Tracking with ovulation test strips is an excellent way to confirm an upcoming ovulation, but it’s important to use other methods too since ovulation tests can only clue you in about a day or two of your fertile window.
Symptoms are another way that your body gives you hints about when you might be fertile. Many women notice one-sided abdominal cramping or lower backaches, known as mittelschmerz pain during ovulation, as the release of an egg from an ovary may sometimes cause discomfort. Other symptoms may include a heightened sex drive, breast tenderness, or light spotting.
Again, having intercourse when you’re fertile is what’s going to lead to that big fat positive pregnancy test result. But determining precisely when ovulation takes place can be difficult for a lot of people. The good news? You can listen to your body’s natural signs, log that data with Ovia throughout your cycle, and let us do all of the analysis for you and help clue you into just when you’re most fertile.