Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as easy to get pregnant as it may seem.
An egg must be available, which only happens once a month. It only stays in the uterus for 12-24 hours. Semen must be present, which can survive inside a woman for about 6 days. So there is only about 1 week out of the month when a woman has a chance to get pregnant.
According to the Baby Center, 59 percent of couples will conceive within three months. There are some people who take more time to get pregnant. For others who are having fertility issues, medicines may be the answer, but there are natural ways a woman can determine when she is most likely to get pregnant when she has unprotected sex. Check out these three natural fertility methods which will help a woman determine when she is most fertile.
You can count on it One process is called the calendar method.
This requires a woman to learn her ovulation schedule by counting her cycle. I’ve actually used this method myself to prevent pregnancy, and it was effective. On average, menstrual cycles take about 21-28 days to complete. Your cycle restarts the first day of your period. Planned Parenthood advises that this method is not the best choice for a women whose menstrual cycles are less than 26 days. According to Planned Parenthood, this is how to track your cycle:
- Record at least 8-12 cycles in a row before you attempt this method.
- Find the shortest cycle in the list and subtract 18 from it. For example, if you had a 31-day cycle the number would be 13.
- Now take that number and count that number of days from the first day of your cycle. Let’s say you started your period on June 2, the first fertile day would be June 15.
There are also period apps that allow you to log your info in. They do the tracking for you without all the math.
This method has no cost because it only requires dates on a calendar. And there are no side effects from this method. Some even use it to prevent pregnancy. The downside is, without condoms you are not protected from STDs so be sure that you and your partner are tested before pursuing pregnancy.
One day at a time
There is another method, similar to the Calendar Method, called the Standard Day Method.
The Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) established this method in 2011 to provide a way for couples to effectively plan pregnancy, whether trying to either prevent it or to conceive. This is another method that doesn’t have side effects. Instead of a calendar, a woman uses cycle beads which have four different colors which are significant to her cycle.
According to the IRH a woman’s cycle is tracked by the following:
- On the first day of a women’s period she will place the rubber ring on the red bead. She will continue to move the ring each day of her period. The light brown beads indicates days where pregnancy is highly unlikely.
- When the rubber ring reaches the dark brown bead this indicates a day where the woman will not have an egg released.
- The white beads indicate that a woman is fertile and pregnancy is most likely. This is the time when you should try to have the most intercourse if you are trying to get pregnant.
You can purchase beads here from the company. Cycle Beads which will cost you $13-$26. They also have a web app to use instead of the actual beads. Although there is a small cost involved, the method has an accuracy of 95 percent, so it has been proven very effective.
Check your temperature
This method allows you to track your fertile days by keeping track of your temperature, which changes when you are ovulating. The Mayo Clinic advises that this is not a method normally used by itself, but in conjunction with other fertility methods such as those described above.
What you will need for this is a Basal Body thermometer which can be purchased at your local drug store. Immediately after a woman’s ovaries release an egg, her body temperature rises. This is another method where you should keep track of it for at least 8-12 cycles before it becomes truly accurate.
The downside to this method is other things can influence a rise in temperature such as sickness, alcohol, and medication. Check out this full list from the Mayo Clinic.
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.