You may have heard all the scary stories about how hard it is to become pregnant. Getting pregnant is all about timing. you should just have a clear idea about your menstrual cycle. And it will give you a proper clue about when your body is ready for the process. You may also have many questions – can you get pregnant during your period or before your period, how often to indulge in sex, when to have sex and what you should do to get pregnant.
You may not be the only one out there with these doubts. There may be many people with similar questions. To clear your misconceptions and doubts, here we take a look at the chances of getting pregnant before, during or after periods and how to maximize your odds of becoming pregnant.
Can You Get Pregnant During A Period?
Counting your menstrual cycle to prevent pregnancy is risky, because there are chances you get pregnant during your periods. Though it is a less fertile phase of the month, in some conditions, conception can occur.
How can you get pregnant during the period when your body says it’s not the right time for pregnancy? Let us take a detailed view/perspective:
During ovulation, the ovary lets out an egg into the Fallopian tube where it stays alive for 24 hours. It waits in the tube for fertilization to occur before traveling to the uterus. In the meantime, the uterus builds up a lining to host the embryo. If the egg meets the sperm during ovulation and implants itself in the lining, you become pregnant. If not, both the egg and the lining are shed away and you start bleeding.
A normal menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days, but some cycles are shorter and last for 23 days. During the short cycle, the first day of a period determines the day one of a menstrual cycle and ovulation begins earlier in the cycle than before. It means that for some women, there is less time between their menstruation and ovulation. Sperm can live for 2 to 5 days in the reproductive tract. If you happen to indulge in sex during the phase, i.e., towards the end of the menstrual period, you can conceive 4 or 5 days later from your following cycle’s early ovulation.
[ Read: Safe Period To Avoid Pregnancy ]
Another scenario is when you have long cycles of 28 to 30 days or more. The body slowly sheds away the uterine lining and the ovary releases an egg while you are still bleeding from the previous month’s egg. You are fertile again and you can become pregnant during your period.
Some women experience sudden spotting or bleeding around the time of ovulation. And especially if you have irregular periods, there are chances you will become pregnant easily since you don’t know the right time of ovulation.
The chances of conceiving: The chances of getting pregnant during periods are low, but there are possibilities. If you are planning for a pregnancy, consider some other time, as it is not the right time to choose.
Can You Get Pregnant After Your Period?
It is unlikely that you will become pregnant after your period, but it isn’t impossible. It is the phase when you move into your fertility period. An average cycle lasts for 28 to 30 days, and the fertility period falls in between day 11 to day 21. Studies conclude that sperm can live in the reproductive tract for 2 to 5 days. If your bleeding time lasts for 5 to 7 days and you indulge in sex right after that, you might become pregnant.
If your periods stop on day 6, you have sex on day 7 and ovulation occurs on day 11; there is a possibility that the sperm of day 6 is still residing in the fallopian tubes for fertilization.
The chances of conceiving: Your chances of getting pregnant after period increase day by day once your period stops. If you want to have a baby, this is a real good time to have sex. Also, indulging in sex for the following 14 days improves your chances of becoming an expecting mom.
Can You Get Pregnant Before Your Period?
The chances of pregnancy before your period is relatively low. For women whose menstrual cycles are 28 to 30 days and longer; and regular, the ovulation occurs in between the days 11 and 21. Also, the egg will be alive for only 12 to 24 hours.
The days right before your periods are your safe days to have sex. Chances are you won’t get pregnant during the period. The safe days before your menstrual period increase with longer cycles and reduce with shorter cycles.
If you are aware of the ovulation period, you can wait for a further 36 to 48 hours. The possibilities of getting pregnant during the phase are very low. The more you move away from the ovulation phase, the lessser is your chance of conceiving. This is not the proper time to indulge in sex if you really want to become pregnant. However, it is a pretty good time to enjoy affection and warmth with your better half.
Getting Pregnant – Better Defined:
As a couple, you may have many questions regarding pregnancy, which can include: when to indulge in sex, how often to have sex and how long will it take to become pregnant?
A common question that may strike you, about the odds of getting pregnant in that particular month. The odds that a woman will conceive in any month will be around 15 to 25%. There are different things that can affect the chances of becoming pregnant. They are as follows:
Once you reach the age of 30, the chances of becoming pregnant in any given month will reduce. It falls further as you get older, dropping rapidly when you are in your 40’s.
- Irregular Periods:
Having irregular menstrual cycles becomes more difficult to find out the right time of ovulation. It also makes it difficult to know the right time to indulge in sex.
- Frequency Of Having Sex:
It is quite obvious that the less you indulge in sex, the lesser your chances of becoming pregnant.
If you have been trying past one year to become pregnant and it didn’t work, the chances will be relatively lower. If it seems to be the case, be sure to consult your gynecologist about your concerns.
- Medical Conditions Or Any Illness:
If you have any history of the medical condition, you should also discuss the same with your doctor. Because any illness or medical condition can play a major role in affecting conception.
Knowing Your Menstrual Cycle:
You should know your menstrual cycle intimately, to know how to conceive. Studies show that many women don’t experience normal or regular cycles. The cycle begins from the first day you notice spotting or bright red bleeding and ends before the next cycle begins. The length of the cycle differs from 21 to 35 days and more. If you observe that your next cycle may vary by a few days, then your cycle is considered to be irregular.
How often should you indulge in sex? In brief, the answer is often.
Most of the couples spend a lot of time indulging in sex, according to a woman’s ovulation time. The approach makes good sense. But recent research reveals that the ability of a sperm to meet an egg is extremely less. It is only 4 to 5 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation. The best chance for a sperm to meet an egg will be on the day before and ovulation day itself. So the main idea is to have sex often during that 5 to 6 day period.
Having sex only on these few days will make sense. But it has some limitations too. Firstly, your body may not work the same all the time. And even if your menstrual cycle is regular, ovulation can occur at any time during the cycle. If you think that you are making love on the same day of ovulation, and if you are already overdue by a few days, you may not have the luck.
So try to optimize your chances of becoming a mom. Indulge in sex at least twice or thrice a week. As long as your man’s sperm count is normal, you can have sex every day that may certainly improve the chances of getting pregnant.
Stop Using The Contraceptive:
You may be worried about the after effects of contraceptives and how long it may take the effects to wear off. Not to worry, as it is possible to get pregnant soon after stopping the contraceptive. The hormones of the pills will be out of the system soon after you stop taking them. Women who become pregnant soon after stopping pills also deliver a healthy baby, as do women who take a longer gap after stopping pills.
Lubricants: Will They Prevent Conception?
You may wonder whether using lubricants when having sex can prevent conception. Not at all. Sufficient lubrication is important and an essential part of enjoying lovemaking. But having a moist vagina when trying to become pregnant will increase the chances of conception.
Nearly 50% of couples report concerns with lubrication method. But when you are planning to become pregnant, every sperm counts. Remember, you cannot take any steps or use any artificial lubricants that may alter the functioning or count of the sperm. Artificial lubricants have adverse effects on sperm.
Common Misconceptions About Getting Pregnant During Period:
You can often fall into believing certain myths and misconceptions about conception and pregnancy. Most common myths being is it possible to get pregnant during periods, here we have listed down some of the most common misconceptions about conception.
- More Sex Could Up The Chances Of Getting Pregnant:
While this one may seem to be true, it is a myth. Unlike women, men release thousands of sperms in a single ejaculation. And as the amount of ejaculations increase, the sperm count automatically decreases, which, in fact, lowers down the probability of a successful fertilization.
- Teenage STD’s Don’t Affect Pregnancy:
This one’s a serious myth. STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) do have an impact on fertility. However, conditions like gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and pelvic inflammatory conditions tend to damage the Fallopian tubes and other delicate organs of the reproductive system, thereby affecting your chances of getting pregnant.
- Some Sex Positions Could Raise The Chances Of A Successful Fertilization:
There is no dearth of so-called fertility boosting sexual positions on the internet and in magazines. However, these may not always be true. In fact, some experts believe that certain positions may have a negative impact on your chances of getting pregnant during the period.
- Age Doesn’t Have An Impact On Fertility:
This one’s totally untrue. Around the age of 35-37, most women tend to experience a change in their ability to conceive, and may take long time to get pregnant. Some experts also believe that getting pregnant after 30’s could raise the risk of certain pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and genetic abnormalities too.
Common Signs of a Successful Fertilization:
If you’re still in a dilemma about conception during periods, here are certain common signs and symptoms that you may experience if you may have conceived.
- Implantation Spotting:
You may experience light bleeding around 6-12 days after a successful fertilization, which is called implantation bleeding It is a common symptom associated with pregnancy.
- Breast Changes:
The hormonal levels of a woman fluctuate rapidly after a successful fertilization, which often leads to certain prominent breast changes. The breasts may feel swollen and fuller/heavier, and may be sore and tender to touch. The area around the nipples, known as the areola, may also darken.
Weakness and fatigue are yet another common symptom associated with a successful fertilization. It may occur due to high levels of the hormone progesterone, which leads to many physiological changes in the body.
Some Common Mistakes to Avoid:
The following points will certainly help those couples who want to have children, but are not able to reach the stage of successful fertilization. It is obvious for you to get frustrated and end in endless quarrels with your partner when you are not able to conceive. Well, instead of quarreling, it is better to find out what is going wrong in the sex making. You can also visit the doctor together and discuss your problem and he will give better guidance.
The fault doesn’t lie with the woman or man, so there is no use of blaming each other. Here are some commonly made mistakes that may prevent you from getting pregnant.
- Not Having Proper Sex:
It is easy to skip the fertile period if you are just having sex when you are ovulating. Samuel Wood, the medical director of Reproductive Sciences Center at La Jolla CA, advises to have sex as often as they like, and more frequently during the few days before ovulation. If you have irregular periods or there is a problem tracking your fertile windows, use an ovulation kit. If the result shows that ovulation will happen within 1 or 2 days, then make sure to have sex during this time. Keep in mind, that if you just have sex for having a baby in mind, then you can’t enjoy the process.
- Having Too Much Sex is Also Not Right:
Yes, this sounds contradictory to the statement made above. If a couple has sex multiple times during the day or every single day, it can cause ‘burnout’ or fatigue. So when the time is ripe or when the fertility period is near, there are chances the couple may not be interested, thus leading to a missed opportunity to become pregnant.
- Have A Parenting Talk:
Most experts and moms agree that it is vital to have a parenting talk with your partner before trying. It is important to talk about big parenting issues before having a child like how you will share the childcare responsibilities and working versus staying home. It is important to discuss fears, expectations and priorities before planning a pregnancy.
- Having Birth Control Pills:
Go off the pill a couple of months before you try to get pregnant. It gives you a bit of time to see how your normal menstrual cycle is like, whether it is about 27 or 32 days. It will also help you to understand when you are ovulating and when is the most fertile time.
- Excessive Alcohol and Smoking:
If you drink once in a while, it is fine as long as you are not pregnant. However, if you drink most nights or drink more than five cocktails in a single sitting, then it can be a serious problem. Same with smoking, if you and your husband are a chain smokers, then it can affect the quality of your sperms and eggs, thus affecting fertility directly. It also increases the chances of birth defects like pre-term labor, miscarriage, and other complexities after you become pregnant.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that 13% of fertility problems are due to tobacco use. Both smoking and passive smoking can affect fertility. Psychologically also, your body may receive a kind of shock if you stop smoking and drinking after becoming pregnant. You may feel a kind of resentment that pregnancy has stopped you from smoking your favorite cigar or drinking your regular cup of margarita. So it is best to stop smoking and drinking from the time you are trying to become pregnant.
- Avoid Excessive Coffee Intake:
For many of us, it is difficult to concentrate on work without coffee. Studies show that an excess of caffeine not only causes miscarriage, but also results in withdrawal symptoms when you are pregnant. So it is best to quit caffeine when you are trying for pregnancy.
There is a lot of confusion regarding how much caffeine should a pregnant woman have. Some doctors say 100 milligrams is fine to intake, but some say to cut down on caffeine totally. Remember, coffee is the only source of caffeine. Energy drinks, soda, tea and certain pain medications also have a high dose of caffeine. A 12 ounce of soda or 8 ounces of green or black tea can fill you up with 30-60 milligrams of caffeine. So be careful and read the labels to see how much caffeine you are consuming on a daily basis. However, it is best to avoid caffeine when you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
- Is your Timing Right:
Timing is an important concern if you want to become pregnant. A sperm can live up to two to three days while sperm can survive up to 12-24 hours. To increase the chances of conception, you need to have sex more than once to increase the chance of ovulation. It is better to have sex two days before ovulation and again on the day you ovulate. It is a big mistake not to calculate your menstrual and ovulation cycles.
By calculating your ovulation cycle and by getting intimate at the right time, you can ensure that some healthy sperms are waiting for fertilization.
Pregnancy is a life-changing event, especially in a woman’s life. You may want to be sure about the how’s, why’s and what’s of this crucial stage in your life. Hope this article helps you understand your likelihood of getting pregnant before, during and after your periods. Wishing you a safe and happy pregnancy!
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