I remember sitting in my 8th grade science classroom as a woman explained to us about sex, condoms and STDs. Honestly, the thing that sticks out most about that day was each of us having a little cup of water and 2 people had food coloring in theirs. She had us all pour a little bit into other people’s cups and the food coloring moving from one person to the next was how she explained STDs traveling.
That part really stuck with me. What else stuck with me was being told that if you had sex even one time you could get pregnant. Use condoms to not get diseases and don’t have sex at all or you’ll get pregnant. That was the entire sex education class in one sentence.
Fast forward many years and I am an adult trying to get pregnant. I thought that it would be simple. Have sex and get pregnant! But it turned out to not be that easy.
At some point in my 20’s, I learned about the stages of the menstrual cycle. I learned that 2 weeks after your period, you become capable of having a baby. I was told all women are this way, on this same schedule. (This is based off of the fantasy consistent 28 day cycle)
My oldest daughter was unplanned and was actually conceived on birth control. My oldest son was planned… Kind of. He wasn’t prevented. Took me almost 2 years to get pregnant. Once we would decide to try for a baby, every month would go the same way: 2 weeks after my period, we were baby dancing. And it took over 18 months to conceive my younger 2 children.
I was 28 years old before I learned that there are only SIX days per cycle that a woman can get pregnant. This is called your fertile window. And it’s most likely NOT centered around day 14 or the center of your cycle!
Your cycle is broke into 2 main phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Within these 2 phases, it is broken down into 2 more phases. Based off of a 28 day cycle days 1 to 7 are your menstruation (a healthy period should last between 3 and 7 days). Then you are in a transitional phase until 5 days prior to ovulation. Your fertile window opens 5 days before ovulation and closes the day after. After the window closes, you will have roughly 2 weeks before you enter menstruation again and the cycle repeats.
Menstruation to Ovulation is the follicular phase, where the ovarian follicles are growing and maturing an egg. When your fertile window opens, you will likely notice creamy discharge that changes to an egg white consistency the closer to ovulation you get. The cervical mucus is what keeps the sperm alive inside you during the first part of the window so that they are present when the egg reaches the Fallopian tube. Presence of this mucus indicates that you are in your fertile window and that you could get pregnant. The egg either becomes fertilized or dies 12 – 24 hours after being released and this closes your fertile window.
From Ovulation to Menstruation is the luteal phase, often referred to as the “two week wait” for those trying to conceive. During this time, your cervical mucus generally either becomes very thick and tacky or it dries up altogether. This causes your vagina to become a very hostile environment to sperm and you will not be able to become pregnant even if it does survive as the egg has already died. If you succeeded in becoming pregnant, you should be able to get a positive test on the day AFTER your period was due to start.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide Trying To Conceive Language & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
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