What Days Can You Get Pregnant?
When we were taught about our cycles in school, I feel like we were pressured into the idea that “you can get pregnant any time you have sex”.
Which is the farthest thing from the truth.
Our bodies are intricately designed in order for us to understand our reproduction. With a little bit of knowledge, you can completely master when you are fertile and when you are not, so that you can have sex and still maintain whatever goal you are looking to achieve.
Read on to learn during which times of your cycle you can get pregnant, and which times you can’t. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or avoiding it.
Turns out, we cannot get pregnant on any day of our cycle.
Our menstrual cycle is made up of 4 different phases – menstrual, luteal, follicular, and ovulatory – each with a different likelihood of getting pregnant. Understanding when you can conceive can relieve so much anxiety when it comes to trying to conceive or avoiding it.
So here’s the low down:
When CAN'T I Get Pregnant?
There are 2 phases when you can’t get pregnant – MENSTRUAL and LUTEAL. During both of these phases, there is no mature egg traveling the fallopian tubes giving sperm a target for fertilization – which is a requirement for getting pregnant.
Your menstrual phase starts on day 1 of your period, signaling the beginning of a new cycle. The flow of your period is the result of the lining of your womb shedding itself, in preparation for another round of egg follicle development and ovulation.
*Please note* that as soon as bleeding begins to subside and you are experiencing “light days”, you are entering a time where you can become fertile (the follicular phase). If cervical mucus is being produced during your light days, any sperm entering the cervix will be able to survive for 3 days. Having sex on light days could result in pregnancy if you experience early ovulation. It is important to check for cervical mucus during any light days.
Your body is designed to reproduce and your menstrual cycle is a sign that you are well and capable of doing so.
Your luteal phase happens to be the 4th phase of your cycle. It can be difficult to determine the exact day that your luteal phase begins, but by tracking your BBT (basal body temperature) daily you will be able to easily identify the start date.
The first day of your luteal phase is the day after ovulation. On a BBT chart, it would be the first day of temperature rise after ovulation, but it must be followed by at least 3 more days of higher temperatures. We cannot confirm ovulation has occurred until we can see a definite temperature shift. A healthy luteal phase will last at least 10 days, and maximum 16 days.
When CAN I Get Pregnant?
The other 2 phases of your cycle are the FOLLICULAR and OVULATORY phases. They are the middle phases of your cycle, one leading right up to the other.
The follicular phase begins right when your period ends. This is the time that the ovary is developing a set of eggs, picking out the dominant one, and then preparing it for ovulation. Towards the end of the follicular phase, your body will begin to produce fertile cervical mucus.
Any time cervical mucus is seen, consider yourself fertile.
Cervical mucus is usually produced up to 5 days before ovulation occurs and helps to keep sperm alive long enough to fertilize an ovulated egg!
The ovulatory phase is strong and mighty, but only lasts 12-24 hours. That’s how long it takes for an egg to travel from the ovary, down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. If an egg is not fertilized within 24 hours, it will begin to break down and you are no longer fertile until the next round.
From a young age we have been living in fear of what our body, instead of embracing what it is capable of.
To summarize, you are only able to get pregnant if you have sex during a time that you body is producing cervical mucus, which will keep the sperm alive until ovulation occurs, and when your ovary has released a dominant egg follicle and it is being passed through your Fallopian tubes into your uterus. These only occur during your follicular and ovulatory phases. You are not able to get pregnant while your uterus is actively menstruating (but watch out for those light days!) or after ovulation has already occurred, respectively your menstrual and luteal phases.
With these concepts in mind, you will be able to plan sex according to what your main goal is: baby or no baby.
Tell me in the comments, have you been timing sex correctly this whole time??