Can a Women Get Pregnant If She is Not Ovulating?

By Tiesha Whatley
If you miscalculate your ovulation period, you can get pregnant.

Introduction to Ovulation

Many women learn how to calculate their ovulation when they first talk to a doctor about birth control. But some may still question whether they can get pregnant if they aren’t ovulating. The answer to that question is not as straightforward as it seems. One would think that if a woman isn’t ovulating, she can't get pregnant. This is only partially true. Generally, a woman isn’t fertile if she isn’t ovulating. If she isn't ovulating, she has no egg present to be fertilized outside the ovulation period. The confusion comes when trying to decipher when the ovulation period really is. Sometimes a woman can ovulate beyond what she considers her normal ovulating period, and she can become pregnant outside of her calculated fertility window.

How to Calculate Ovulation

A woman generally ovulates between 11 and 21 days after her last menstrual cycle. Women with a 28-day cycle generally, on average, ovulate on day 14. But every woman is different and other factors can come into play to alter when and whether she ovulates. For some women, calculating ovulating periods can be tricky. Using methods such as evaluating cervical mucus, reading basal body temperature and keeping track of menstrual cycles can help with the calculations. A woman should get to know her body; this will be the most telling sign in knowing when ovulation occurs. If in doubt, an ovulation kit can help clarify when ovulation occurs.

Ovulation Misconceptions

Many misconceptions surround ovulation. First, not all women ovulate on day 14 of their cycle. Another myth is that keeping up with ovulation is an effective birth control method. Although an egg can live for only 24 hours, sperm can live inside a woman for five to seven days. So even if a woman thinks it is safe to have unprotected sex a couple of days before she ovulates, the sperm can still fertilize the egg days after intercourse. For women who have irregular periods, it is not accurate to count from the last day of the menstrual cycle to determine the ovulating time frame.

Can a Woman Get Pregnant If She Is Not Ovulating?

Technically, a woman cannot get pregnant if she isn’t ovulating. Determining whether and when a woman is ovulating can be miscalculated, however. A woman can actually get pregnant when she believes that she is safe because she thinks she isn’t ovulating. Sperm can live long enough to fertilize the egg days after intercourse.

About the Author

Tiesha Whatley has been writing for over 10 years. She has been published in "Marie Claire," "Ebony" and "Modern Bride" magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has been working in the wedding planning industry for over 13 years.