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When is the best time to get pregnant?
by: Heather Barnard
The Luteal Phase or the Post Ovulation Time is the stretch of time between a woman's time of ovulation up to the first day of bleeding of the menstrual period. This is a relatively fixed time in nearly all women being around 14 days. The actual length of the Luteal Phase may vary by a day or so but for each individual woman it is usually exactly the same length each month. The average length of time of the Luteal Phase is 14 days, some women may have a luteal phase of 15 days and some of 13 but for most it is 14 days long.
The length of the Luteal Phase is constant even in women who have irregular periods. For those who experience irregular monthly cycles, the 'irregular' part is actually the time from the beginning of the cycle (1st day of bleeding) up until the time of ovulation. Once ovulated then the period is guaranteed to start some 13 to 15 days after as long as fertilisation hasn't occurred.

So when is the best time to get pregnant?

Well obviously at the time of ovulation. The egg will only last some 12 hours or so before is becomes incapable of fertilization. The Ideal conditions for getting pregnant are to have live sperm inside and waiting at the time of ovulation being as sperm can live on average 2 or 3 days inside the female body.

The trick therefore to becoming pregnant is to get to know your body and predict with as much exactitude as possible when you will start to ovulate so that you may have intercourse some hours before. Remember that repeated ejaculation on the male part will decrease the virility of the sperm.

The 'basic' way to know when you are about to ovulate, which will only really work with women who have regular cycles is the counting method. The cycle begins on the first day of bleeding. Counting from that day until the beginning of the next period will give you the total length of your menstrual cycle (normally about 28 days). Ovulation usually occurs between days 11 and 14.
If you are irregular with your periods then you should make a note of the length of your cycles over a few months and try and determine just how irregular you are and if possible work out an average length.

A very effective way to observe your cycle and discover your ovulation time is by using the basal body temperature method or BBT method. This entails using a special BBT thermometer which is calibrated in fractions of degrees. The vaginal temperature must be taken every morning (if possible at the same time each day and before daily activity begins.. ie before getting up). At the time of ovulation a notable rise in temperature is recorded. You will be able to observe from this the exact length of your luteal phase and you will notice just how regular it is (even for those with irregular periods) You will also get to realise the little signs and sensations that so subtly accompany ovulation. The disadvantage with this method is that it tells you when ovulation has occurred and the ideal conditions for getting pregnant as stated before are to have intercourse a few hours 'before' ovulation is due to occur.

Another way to predict ovulation is to observe the changes in texture of your cervical mucus. As the hormones within the female body fluctuate, so too does the texture of the cervical mucus changes. Normally it is thick and sticky, and when observed under a microscope appears to have of a sort of meshed fibre effect. Around ovulation time the mucus changes to be much thinner and clearer, this when viewed microscopically has a parallel fibre effect which actually aids the sperm to travel through the vagina by means of a basic and natural capillary action. The mucus will remain in this thin state for 2 or 3 days. This is the ideal time for conception.

A combination of all of the methods listed here should help you to get to know your cycle rhythm and learn just what your body is doing so that you may predict exactly when you are about to ovulate.

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Heather Barnard:
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