Can you imagine trying to conceive and finding out your chances were zero percent? You used your best moves. You even tilted your pelvis up after sex to help sperm reach their destination. Little did you know that your chances of conceiving were nil. This happens to couples every day, and it usually has nothing to do with infertility.
It has everything to do with knowing your cycle and timing sex for conception.
Not everyone will conceive on their first try, but understanding when to have sex can increase your chances of conception from zero to 30% when armed with a bit of knowledge.
Knowing the Important Parts
Are you familiar with your cervix? It’s such an important part of reproduction. If you want to jump start the baby-making process, get to know your cervix.
Consider the cervix as the gateway of the uterus. It also acts as the gatekeeper by opening and closing access at different times in your cycle.
The cervix is a cylinder of tissue between the vagina and the uterus, and it’s only about one-inch long. The cervix is made up of three parts:
Ectocervix – This looks like a mini doughnut with a small hole in the center. You’ll find the ectocervix on the vagina side.
External OS – This sounds like a computer term, but it isn’t technical at all. It’s just the term used for the “doughnut hole.”
Internal OS – This is the hole on the opposite end (near the uterus).
Endocervix – The canal between the external OS and the internal OS.
Your cervix goes through many changes during your cycle. And when you are ready to give birth, it changes again, widening to allow the baby’s head to pass through.
After your menstrual period, the cervix will feel hard like the tip of your nose. It will also sit lower in the vagina and be closed for business. At this point, the cervix is an excellent gatekeeper and does not let anything through. Your chances of conceiving at this stage in your cycle are virtually zero. Regardless of which position you use or how often you have sex, sperm will not pass through the cervix.
When you enter the fertile phase, the cervix starts softening and moves higher in the vagina. It will open to allow sperm to enter, and it will also be wet with cervical mucus to help the sperm reach the uterus. This is the best time to try to conceive.
When the fertile phase comes to an end, the cervix returns to the non-fertile state (hard, low, closed and dry). This happens regardless of whether you have conceived in a cycle.
See detailed “How-to” steps to cervix and cervical mucus observations here.
How to Know When You’re Fertile
It’s all well and fine to know the phases of your cycle, but if you don’t know how to detect the fertile phase, you can’t boost your chances of conceiving. So now it’s time to get to know your cervix even better. Specifically, it is your cervical mucus that can tell you where you are in your cycle and it is one of 12 ovulation symptoms.
You can evaluate cervical mucus from the vulva (external) or by inserting a clean finger into your vagina to remove a sample. Here is what you will find:
Cycle Beginning – Since the cycle begins on the first day of your menstrual period, there will be blood passing through the cervix. Most women do not ovulate during their period, so you may want to skip these days and begin checking after your period has passed.
After your period – Now that the blood has gone, you can insert a clean finger into the vagina to see if you are ovulating or about to ovulate. In most cases, your cervix will be dry. You may be tempted to skip this phase of evaluation too, but it is helpful to know what your cervix feels like when it isn’t fertile, so you have a point of comparison.
Approaching ovulation – An increase in estrogen causes your body to produce mucus with a higher water content, so you may notice creamy cervical mucus.
Just before ovulation – This is “go time.” When your cervical mucus looks and feels like raw egg white (clear, slippery and stretchy), you are at your most fertile. Now is the time to try to conceive for the best odds.
During ovulation – Your cervical mucus may increase and become more watery, but the time for conception is quickly passing. The egg can only survive for up to 24 hours after ovulaton, if not fertilized.
After ovulation – You’ll notice that your cervical mucus is similar to how it was when approaching ovulation. Its volume will decrease and it will be sticky and more dense. At this time, your fertile window has passed and your chances of conceiving return to zero.
Knowing when you are fertile can make a huge difference in your chances of conceiving, so stay informed and start keeping track.
the necessary tools and education to help women (and couples) get pregnant naturally.