How To Identify Your Peak Fertility Days for Your Best Chances at Getting Pregnant

Gearing up to try for a baby? Here’s how to determine your peak ovulation days for quick results.  


Trying to conceive but not seeing results? You’re probably feeling frustrated and worried. After all, most of us are led to believe that any day without unprotected sex is risky if we’re not trying to conceive. Then we start actively trying, and nothing happens. So, what gives?  


It turns out that time is of the essence—more so than you might have thought. Your fertility window only lasts for about a week each month, narrowing your peak fertility days down to just a handful. Conception isn’t possible outside of that window. You’ll need to get the timing right to see the plus sign on a pregnancy test.  

Want to learn more about your fertility window, or how to calculate your peak fertility days? Read on below.   


Ovulation vs. Fertility: 



The first step to successfully timing your peak fertility days is understanding ovulation and fertility. Is peak fertility the same as ovulation? What’s the difference?  

For starters, ovulation and fertility are not the same thing, but they do overlap.   


What is Ovulation?  


Ovulation occurs when hormone increases prompt an ovary to release an egg. This usually happens once per menstrual cycle, roughly two weeks before your period. The egg is only viable up to 24 hours after ovulation. If it’s not fertilized within that time, the uterus begins shedding its lining and the egg is lost with it.  


When Am I Ovulating? | Ovulation Signs and Symptoms  


Some women may feel cramping during ovulation. Carefully track your cycle to know when you’re ovulating. Ovulation usually happens 12 to 16 days before the start of your next period.  

We’ve historically been told that ovulation occurs on day 14 of a 28-day cycle. The problem with this is the assumption that everyone’s cycle is the same. It’s much more complex. Nearly 50% of cycles vary by seven or more days, which is why it’s easier (and more effective) to conceive during the fertile window.  


What is the Fertile Window?  


Before the egg is released from the ovary, estrogen surges cause a spike in the luteinizing hormone (LH). Your fertility window starts with the increase in hormones and ends 24 hours after ovulation. The chances of conceiving outside this timeframe are low. Improve your chances further by learning the difference between high fertility and peak fertility and tracking the days for each.  


High Fertility vs. Peak Fertility Days  


High fertility occurs several days before your peak fertility days, usually coinciding with the increase in estrogen. At this point, the uterine wall has thickened to create a spermfriendly environment. In the right conditions, sperm can survive for up to five days. So, if sperm is deposited during this time, it should theoretically stick around long enough to fertilize the egg. That said, everyone is different and there are no guarantees.  

You have the highest chances of getting pregnant during peak fertility.  


How Long Does Peak Fertility Last?  


Unfortunately, peak fertility only refers to two days—the day you ovulate, and the day before that. You’re 30% more likely to get pregnant during peak fertility, so it’s worth it to figure out how to identify your peak fertility days.  

Luckily, there are several ways to do just that.  


How to calculate peak fertility days for your best chances of getting pregnant:


  • Track your period(s) 
  • Determine your ovulation days  
  • Track your basal body temperature  
  • Wait for changes in your cervical mucus  


Start by Tracking your Period(s)  


For more accurate results, track multiple periods in a row using the “Calendar Method.” The first day of your period is Day 1. Count all the way through to the day before your next period starts (the last day of your cycle). Keep a record of your cycles (there are plenty of period-tracker apps available for smartphones) so you can accurately predict your peak fertility days.  


Determine your Ovulation Days  


If you’ve been tracking your period, you’ll have a rough idea of when you’re ovulating. However, there are several ways to get more accurate results. These include, but are not limited to, blood tests, ovulation test strips, and digital ovulation tests. It’s definitely a good idea to take these extra steps, since this knowledge is key to pinpointing how many days of high fertility before peak.  


Using an Ovulation Predictor Kit  


These kits are available for purchase online and through most drug stores. Your LH hormone levels are measured to determine your high and peak fertility days using either test strips or sticks.  

With cycles that range from 28 to 32 days in length, the ovulation test should be taken on days 10 or 14, respectively. Those with longer or shorter cycles should talk to their doctor about when to take the test.  


Track your Basal Body Temperature  


Another (less accurate) method to determine your peak ovulation days is charting your basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature will increase by half a degree once the egg is released. The measurement is so sensitive that you’ll need to purchase a basal thermometer and take your temperature in the morning before getting out of bed. This method has been shown to be less accurate, though, because various factors can cause temperature increases, including stress.  


What is Basal Body Temperature?   


Basal body temperature is your temperature when you are fully at rest.  


Tracking your basal body temperature doesn't require any special preparation beyond using a digital oral basal body thermometer.  


Keep in mind that your basal body temperature can be influenced by many factors, including:  


  • Illness or fever o Stress o Shift work  
  • Interrupted sleep cycles or oversleeping  
  • Alcohol  
  • Travel and time zone differences o Gynecologic disorders o Certain medications  


Watch for Changes in Cervical Mucus  


You might have noticed by now that your cervical mucus changes throughout the course of your cycle. These changes are indicators of your level of fertility and are a way to identify your peak fertility days.  

For most of your cycle, cervical mucus is like egg whites in color and consistency.   

In the days just before ovulation, you’ll notice the mucus becomes thicker and creamier in texture. Then, immediately before ovulation, it becomes clear and slippery. This means it’s time to conceive.  

If you notice that your mucus doesn’t turn clear and slippery during your cycle, talk to your healthcare provider. In the meantime, there are plenty of natural and holistic ways to increase your fertility, including the Premama Fertility Support for Her.  


Timing Sex during your Fertile Window  


Don’t count on the sperm sticking around. Though it’s possible for them to survive long enough to conceive during your fertile window, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Having sex during peak fertility is your best bet for successful conception.  


How Else Can I Prepare for Pregnancy?  


In addition to tracking your ovulation to determine your fertile window, it’s important to schedule preconception counseling with your doctor. There are a variety of screenings and lifestyle modifications that can help increase your chances of a successful planned pregnancy.  


Need More Help?  


Whatever method you choose, if you continue to have difficulty getting pregnant, it may be time to consult a healthcare provider or reproductive specialist.  A fertility specialist can determine why you’re having fertility problems and provide treatment to help you get the baby you want. Also remember to prioritize your mental health through the conception journey - stress can also play a factor in fertility. Here are some mental wellness tips for prioritizing your emotional health while trying to conceive. 



Q: Is peak fertility the same as ovulation?  

A: Ovulation and fertility are not the same, but they overlap. Ovulation is the release of an egg triggered by hormone increases, while fertility encompasses the days leading up to and following ovulation.  


Q: When does ovulation occur?  

A: Ovulation usually occurs roughly two weeks before your period. Hormone increases prompt the release of an egg, which is viable for up to 24 hours.  


Q: What is the fertile window?  

A: The fertile window begins with hormonal increases before ovulation and lasts until 24 hours after ovulation. This is the timeframe when conception is most likely. Understanding the difference between high fertility and peak fertility is crucial for improving chances.  


Q: How long does peak fertility last?  

A: Peak fertility lasts for only two days—the day of ovulation and the day before. Conception during peak fertility increases the likelihood of pregnancy by 30%.  


Q: How to calculate peak fertility days?  

A: Several methods include tracking periods, determining ovulation days through blood tests or ovulation test strips, monitoring basal body temperature, and observing changes in cervical mucus.  


Q: What is basal body temperature?  

A: Basal body temperature is the temperature at complete rest. It increases by half a degree after ovulation, but this method's accuracy is influenced by factors like illness, stress, and lifestyle changes.  


Q: How do ovulation predictor kits work?  

A: These kits measure LH hormone levels to identify high and peak fertility days. The test is typically taken on specific days depending on the length of the menstrual cycle.  


Q: How does cervical mucus indicate fertility?  

A: Changes in cervical mucus, from egg-white consistency to thicker and creamier before becoming clear and slippery, indicate fertility levels. Clear and slippery mucus signifies the ideal time for conception.  


Q: Can sperm survive during the fertile window?  

A: While sperm can survive for up to five days, it's advised to have sex during peak fertility for the best chance of successful conception.  


Q: What else can I do to prepare for pregnancy?  

A:  In addition to tracking ovulation, scheduling preconception counseling with your healthcare provider is advised. Screening and lifestyle modifications can increase the chances of a successful planned pregnancy. If difficulties persist, consider consulting a reproductive specialist.  

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