How to Get Pregnant
You will have a problem, however, knowing when you're five days away from ovulation. There is no test to pinpoint that. There is another problem: Your ovulation and fertile "window" -- the time when you're likely to get pregnant -- can change. It's like a moving target.
Older guidelines for how to get pregnant assumed that the average woman is fertile between days 10 and 17 of her menstrual cycle. But that's a rough approximation and that may not mean much for you as an individual woman. Studies have shown that 17 percent of the women tested were fertile by day seven of their cycle, and 2 percent of women were fertile by day four.
Studies have also shown that late ovulations occur, even in women who said their cycles were usually regular. Because of these late ovulations, 4 to 6 percent of the women were potentially fertile more than 28 days after the start of their cycle.
In fact, even women who regarded their cycles as "regular" had a 1 to 6 percent probability of being fertile on the day their next period was expected.
So if ovulation times vary widely -- and you can't accurately predict them five days ahead of time -- what should a healthy, young woman do? In other words, how should you go about trying to get pregnant?
If the average healthy couple wants to get pregnant, they are just as well off relaxing and forgetting "fertile windows" and simply engaging in unprotected intercourse at least two or three times over the course of each week, without worrying about "perfect timing." That's easy-to-follow advice, and you're likely to get the timing right two or more times within the fertile days occurring in each of your cycles.
If you don't conceive the baby you want in a year or so of regular intercourse, talk to your doctor. You may be the one couple in six that has a fertility problem. Simple tests can often pinpoint and help overcome it. The problem can reside in your partner about as often as in you, so he will need to be tested, too.
At some point, you may be referred to a fertility clinic or specialist. You may be prescribed a drug to trigger ovulation, and your partner's best sperm will be introduced by the doctor at that time. There are other technologies, too -- some of them quite expensive and not necessarily covered by insurance. There is also some risk of triggering two or more eggs and then having a bigger family than you expected.
(If you would like to learn more about how to get pregnant using fertility charting, please see the eMedTV article Fertility Charting.)