When can a woman become pregnant in the cycle?

The term ‘fertile period’ refers to two different things. It is the phase of life in which men and women can have children. For women, it is also the period in the menstrual cycle in which they can become pregnant. Each cycle has 6 days on which you can become pregnant: the day of ovulation and the 5 days before.

Why 6 days?

A mature egg cell is released during ovulation. This egg can then be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours.  Sperm cells are fertile for an average of 48 hours. But they can survive for up to 5 days in the woman’s body. For women with a regular 28-day cycle, the most fertile period is between day 11 and day 16 of the cycle .  But recent research shows that the fertile period can fluctuate strongly, even in women with a very regular cycle. The first part of your cycle runs from menstruation to ovulation. The ovum also ripens during this period. The duration of that period can vary greatly in length. The 2nd part of your cycle is the time between ovulation and the start of the next menstruation. That period always lasts 14 days, with at most 2 days difference.  Because the first part of the cycle can vary greatly, you must start from the prediction of your next menstruation to know the time of ovulation. So not from the date on which you last had your period.

I want to get pregnant. How often should I have sex?

Apart from the day of the cycle or the moment of ovulation, you have the greatest chance of becoming pregnant if you have sex every 2 days. So about 2 to 3 times a week get pregnant with a boy .  Around the time of ovulation (your most fertile period) free your best every day.  Couples who make love less than once a week have 16% chance of becoming pregnant after 6 months. Couples who have sex 3 times a week have a 50% chance of becoming pregnant after 6 months.

I want to get pregnant. When should I make love?

The chance of conception is greatest in the 3 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation .  If you have a cycle of 28 days, you calculate the fertile period like this: 28 – 14 – 3 = 11. Because in that case the ovulation falls on day 14. You are most fertile from 3 days before ovulation, so from day 11 of your cycle.  You are not always sure when your ovulation is taking place. Therefore, you should try every day from 4 days before ovulation until 2 days after.  If you would like to become pregnant, you should take folic acid immediately as soon as you stop taking contraception. That prevents birth defects such as open back. A tablet of 400 micrograms (400μg) per day is sufficient.

I do NOT want to get pregnant. When can I make love?

If you do not want to become pregnant, you must calculate the fertile period more broadly.  If you have no (unprotected) sex 7 days before ovulation until 2 days after , you are in principle safe.  If you do not want to become pregnant, you calculate the fertile period as follows: your fertile period starts with the number of days of your longest cycle minus 21 days . The end of your fertile period is calculated by reducing your shortest cycle by 10 days . The time between these two numbers is your fertile period. For example: if your longest cycle counts 30 days and your shortest cycle is 26 days, then your fertile period is between day 9 and day 16 of your cycle (30 – 21 = 9 and 26 – 10 = 16).  This method can only be used with an almost regular cycle. To get a correct idea of the length of your cycle, it is best to keep it in a calendar over a period of at least six months .

But beware: natural contraception is not always reliable.

There are several methods   that can help you recognize whether you are fertile. But you are therefore not yet certain that you are not fertile on the other days. Because the moment at which ovulation takes place is sometimes difficult to predict. That way you can sit next to it for a day.  Especially if you do not know your cycle very well or if you have an irregular cycle (for example, if you have not had your menstrual period), natural contraception is not reliable . There are also apps that help you to understand your cycle or calculate your ovulation. But they are not suitable as a contraceptive.

In which period of your life are you fertile (reproductive age)?

The period in your life in which you are fertile is also called the reproductive age.  Women are fertile once they have had their first menstruation (also called ‘menarche’). Usually this happens between 12 and 15 years. Women are fertile until they no longer menstruate ( menopause (link is external) ). From the age of 30, fertility begins to decrease and the risk of miscarriage increases. Men are fertile once the body produces sperm. This happens with most boys in puberty . After that, men remain fertile for the rest of their lives. During ovulation, also called ovulation, a mature egg cell is released from the ovary . She then travels through one of the fallopian tubes to the uterus. That journey takes about 72 hours. In the first 24 hours she can be fertilized by a sperm cell. On average, a woman ovulates ovulation between her puberty and menopause 450 times.

How many eggs does a woman have?

Egg cells are made in the ovaries before birth. You are born with about 1 million oocytes. From then on, about 10,000 eggs die every year. Some 400,000 remain after puberty. No new eggs are produced during your life. On average, a woman ovulates ovulation between her puberty and  menopause (link is external) .

When does ovulation take place?

Once a month you have ovulation, 12 to 16 days before you start to menstruate again. If you have a very regular cycle, you know when your next period starts and you can calculate approximately when your ovulation takes place. But there are few women with a cycle that takes exactly the same time every time. Usually the length of the period before ovulation varies. For example, your cycle lasts 28 days, the next month 25 days and then 30 days.  The more irregular your cycle is, the harder it is to predict the moment of ovulation. You can then use an ovulation test or app to predict when you are most fertile. Note: this is not a reliable method of contraception.

Do you always have ovulation?

No, it is quite possible that there is no ovulation in some cycles. Women who regularly miss ovulation will also have an irregular menstrual cycle. In a cycle without ovulation you can not become pregnant, we speak of reduced fertility .  The absence of ovulation can have various causes: cysts on the ovaries, thyroid disorders, underweight or overweight … In about 10% of cases, the cause is unknown. If you think you are not ovulating based on your menstrual pattern, contact your doctor.

How many days before and after ovulation are you fertile?

The mature egg cell can be fertilized by a sperm cell up to 24 hours after ovulation. But if you want to prevent a pregnancy, it is not enough not to make love on the day of ovulation or only to use contraception. Because sperm cells can survive in your body for up to 5 days. An egg cell can therefore be perfectly fertilized by a sperm cell that was released 5 days earlier during a free party.  You can therefore become pregnant 5 days before and 24 hours after ovulation. The chance of conception is greatest in the 3 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation itself.

Which symptoms are associated with ovulation?

The term ovulation is a bit misleading. It is not a moment, but a process. Most women do not notice ovulation, but others have some trouble or pain.  Between puberty and menopause prepares the body of the woman monthly for a possible pregnancy. Every month an egg cell matures, and the wall of the uterus thickens. If the egg cell remains unfertilized, the bulge of the uterine wall is drained away along the vagina. This is called the menstrual cycle or menstrual cycle.

Menstrual cycle or menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle begins on the 1st day of your period. He ends 1 day before you menstruate again. A natural cycle lasts an average of 28 days, but a cycle of 25 days to 35 days is also perfectly normal.  In this phase, the ovaries mainly produce the hormone estrogen. That hormone causes an egg cell to mature during the first 14 days of each cycle. The estrogen also provides for the production of the mucus plug, which collects the sperm cells and brings them into the uterus as a roller coaster. The length of this period varies in most adult women between 21 and 35 days. This is between 21 and 45 days for young teenagers.

Phase 2: Egg hopping (ovulation)

During ovulation or ovulation, the mature egg cell is released from the ovaries. Through the fallopian tube she descends into the womb. There she can be fertilized by a sperm cell.  The exact moment of ovulation is difficult to predict. Ovulation is preceded by a sudden increase in the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This increase starts on day 12 on average (of a 28-day cycle) and lasts about 48 hours. Ovulation takes 1 to 2 days and takes place on average around the 14th day of the cycle.  A woman is fertile from the ovulation until 24 hours later. Because sperm has a survival time of 5 days, you as a couple are most likely to have a pregnancy on the day of ovulation and the 5 days before.  In this phase your body mainly produces the hormone progesterone. That hormone ensures that your uterus prepares to implant a possibly fertilized egg. The uterus makes extra mucosa. At the same time, the mucus plug in the cervix is impenetrable for sperm cells. The luteal phase lasts an average of 12 to 14 days , also in women with a shorter or longer cycle.