Can You Get Pregnant Outside of Your Fertility Window?

A woman is fertile or able to get pregnant for 6 days out of each cycle: for 5 days leading up to ovulation and on the day of ovulation. And after you’ve ovulated, your chance of conception is gone for that cycle at least. Ovulation is where your body releases an egg that can be fertilized by sperm. So in order to get pregnant, you need to time intercourse with ovulation. So if you’re just starting the process of trying to conceive, the best thing you can do is start having intercourse on the day your period ends and continue with this until a couple days past the midpoint of your cycle. Ovulation usually happens at about the midpoint, so say your cycle was 28 days long, you might be ovulating on day 14. But it’s not a perfect science and it could happen on day 12 or day 16, so by starting to have intercourse every other day on the day your period ends and continuing with it until a couple days past the midpoint of your cycle, hopefully it will time things just right and give egg and sperm a chance at meeting up. Do keep in mind that even when things are timed just right, the chance of conception is only 30% to 35%. It’s not 100%. So for this reason, most couples have to try for (on average) up to about 6 months or so.

Outside of your fertility window, like I mentioned before, your chance of conception is gone until your next cycle. Hopefully, if you’re trying to conceive, you got pregnant, and unfortunately, all you can do at that point is just be patient and wait and see if your next period starts. You might experience a lot of symptoms in the 2 weeks from the time you ovulated till the time your period is supposed to start that make you think you’re pregnant, like you might feel like you have to pee all the time, or get a little bit nauseous, or have weird food cravings, feel bloated, or have mild cramps or something. And all of those symptoms are also associated with PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, so you can’t necessarily chalk those up to pregnancy.

The first sign of pregnancy is actually a missed period. So if the day comes that your period should have started and it didn’t, then it’s time to take a home pregnancy test. Hopefully it’s positive, but if it’s negative, wait another 5 to 7 days and retest. If you test too soon, like before your period should start, then you may get a false negative, because home pregnancy tests are set to detect pregnancy about 2 weeks after conception. It’s detecting a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, and these levels aren’t high enough in your body yet to be detected by the test. So again, if you get a little impatient and you test before your missed period, you could get a false negative. It’s best to just wait, see what that result is, wait another 5 to 7 days (if it’s negative) and see if you start your period, and if you don’t, retest. And if you still have questions at that point, call your doctor.

If you go a total of 3 months without a period and you’ve ruled out pregnancy as the cause, call your doctor at that point and they’ll look into reasons behind irregular cycles. Good luck with everything, and if you have any more questions in the future for me, feel free to ask them on our Intermountain Moms Facebook and Instagram pages, and recommend us to your friends and family too.