How to Know When the Best Time to Get Pregnant Is

By Sharon Perkins
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If you're trying to figure out the best time of the month to get pregnant, you'll find the task easier if you have regular menstrual cycles. But even if you don't, you can use a combination of high-tech and low-tech methods to pinpoint when you're ovulating and plan sex to maximize your chances of meeting a new family member in nine months.

Step 1

Assess your menstrual cycle. Are you regular as a clock, starting a new cycle every 28 days, or is the timing of every menstrual period a surprise? You generally ovulate around 14 days before your next cycle starts, unless you get pregnant that month. So if you have 28-day cycles, you ovulate near day 14; if your cycles are 32 days long, you ovulate around day 18. Knowing approximately when you ovulate makes it easier to hone in on the exact day.

Step 2

Take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake up. To use the temperature method of ovulation takes daily effort. Don't go to the bathroom, eat, smoke or do anything else that might raise your temperature. Keep the thermometer on the nightstand so you can reach for it without even sitting up. A digital thermometer is easiest to read when you're still half asleep. Your temperature will be low in the first part of your menstrual cycle. After ovulation, your temperature will rise as your levels of the hormone progesterone increase. If your temperature stays high for more than 14 days, there's a good chance you're pregnant.

Step 3

Check your cervical mucus. This might not be something you've paid much attention to in the past, but if you have, you know that your vaginal secretions increase around the time of ovulation. Cervical mucus -- normally scant and thick -- becomes thin, clear, slippery and copious. These changes make it easier for sperm to travel on their route to the egg. If you know approximately when you ovulate, start checking cervical mucus several days before. If you have no idea, start checking as soon as your period ends.

Step 4

Purchase an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit, or OPK. These urine tests detect the presence of luteinizing hormone, or LH. Your LH level rise 24 to 48 hours before ovulation. If you're under the care of a fertility specialist, he might check your LH blood levels to determine when you're about to ovulate. LH levels give the most accurate results when trying to pinpoint ovulation, with a 100 percent correlation, according to a 1999 study published in "Fertility and Sterility" led by researchers from the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Naples, Italy.

Step 5

Have sex at the right time. The actual day of ovulation isn't necessarily your best bet for getting pregnant. Having sex the day or two before gives sperm the chance to get to the Fallopian tubes where they're ready and waiting for an egg to release from the ovary. Sperm live for 24 hours up to six days, but having sex a few days before ovulation ensures you'll still have healthy swimmers waiting for the egg release. The ovulated egg survives for between 12 and 24 hours.

About the Author

A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.