MYTH: A woman can get pregnant any time of the month.
FACT: A woman can only get pregnant for a few days during her menstrual cycle.
Getting pregnant is all about timing. Though until you're actually trying to get pregnant, most of us don't know the details. Why would we? Sex-ed class (at least the one I was in) was all about catching sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy. Horrific STD pictures imprinted on your mind forever. You didn't leave knowing everything about your body, and the full process of having a baby. In fact some were taught that anytime you have sex you'd get pregnant, an over exaggeration to say the least in a hope to reduce teen pregnancy.
However, knowing our bodies is one of the most important things we can do for our health and understanding how it all works is why you're here. If you're also struggling with ovulation and regular periods you'll find information about that in this blog as well. So let's dive in.
Can I Get Pregnant Any Time of The Month?
No, you can not get pregnant any day of the month. Typically you'll release one egg a month. This egg will dissolve if it isn't fertilized within 24-36 hours. After that, you won't be fertile again until your next period.
However, you do have longer than 24-36 hours. Typically you'll have a 28-day menstrual cycle and will ovulate around day 14. Your fertile window is about 5 days before ovulation plus the day you ovulate giving you about 6 days. Sperm can live up to 5 to 6 days in a woman’s reproductive tract. That means that you can have unprotected sex 6 days before you expect to ovulate and then become pregnant.
There are ways to track this and help you find your fertility window. One app called Natural Cycles allows you to either avoid pregnancy or will help you get pregnant. You can start the app by letting it know what your goal for the app is and go from there. It just involves taking your temperature every morning. Seems pretty easy right? The company claims that "on average women take three cycles or less to become pregnant using Natural Cycles." Meanwhile it's also 93% effective to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
How can I tell when I'm ovulating?
There are a few ways you can tell if you're ovulating. But first, what is ovulation? Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries.
- If you have a regular cycle, then ovulation usually occurs around 10-16 days before your period starts.
- The basal body temperature (BBT) is a person's at-rest temperature. Women can track their BBT to find out when they are ovulating because of a small rise in your body temperature after ovulation takes place.
- Your cervical mucus will be wetter, clearer and more slippery around ovulation.
- Hormone levels increase around ovulation, there are predictor kits that can measure these levels in your pee.
- Increase in Libido
- Cramping or an ache known as Mittelschmerz which is pain on one side of the lower abdomen midway through your menstrual cycle. Some women feel themselves ovulate.
- Light spotting can occur with ovulation
You can use a combination of these methods to figure out when you ovulate, doing this over a few months and taking notes will help you figure out your body and the consistency of your menstrual cycle. If you have any concerns, don't hesitate to contact your doctor.
What is fertilization?
If you've ever seen "Look Who's Talking Now" with James (John Travolta) and Mollie Ubriacco (Kirstie Alley) then you've seen a visual of sperm swimming to an egg to the Beach Boys song "I get around". That's all it is, right?
Well did you know a man's testicles each produce about four million new sperm every hour and about 200 million sperm are released into the vagina during ejaculation.
Semen is a mix of protein, trace vitamins, minerals and complex sugars that help the sperm make it from your vagina to the egg in your fallopian tube. Most sperm won't make it through the vagina.
Even when sperm do reach the egg, one sperm will be able to penetrate it before the egg triggers a barrier to keep the others out while one makes it to the center to fertilize the egg.
Within hours the fertilized egg (called a zygote) divides and continues to divide as it travels toward the uterus. There are a few other things I left out but you get the idea!
How do I know if I'm pregnant?
If everything worked, the first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period two weeks after you've conceived. However if you have irregular periods this sign might go unnoticed. A home pregnancy test is an easy way to see as it measures a hormone called chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your urine. Known as the "pregnancy hormone," hCG is produced in large amounts during pregnancy, with levels peaking during the first 8 to 11 weeks of pregnancy.
What is the main cause of infertility in women?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the main causes of infertility in women! It affects anywhere from 5-10% of women between the ages of 20 and 40. Furthermore, 30% of women may have some of the symptoms associated with PCOS without being diagnosed with the syndrome. Unfortunately having PCOS can increase your chance of miscarriage by 50% prior to the 24th week of pregnancy. However you're not alone and there are solutions like S'moo which may help balance your hormone imbalance and the S'moo app that will give you much needed emotional support through the journey.
Why does PCOS make it hard to get pregnant?
Most women with PCOS have fewer menstrual cycles per year (about nine). PCOS also causes heavier than normal bleeding during your period because the ovaries fail to produce hormones that keep the cycle regular. These irregularities disrupts ovulation which makes conception more difficult. These disruptions in your ovulation can make them irregular or non-existent. This is commonly caused by higher male hormone levels from insulin resistance which is your bodies inability to get blood sugar into your cells to use as fuel. Thousands of women have been able to regulate their menstrual cycles and ovulate again because of S'moo.
Other causes of infertility besides PCOS?
- Ovulation disorders, which affect the release of eggs from the ovaries.
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities, including abnormalities with the cervix, polyps in the uterus or the shape of the uterus.
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage, often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis).
- Endometriosis, which occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, may affect the function of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause), when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40.
- Pelvic adhesions, bands of scar tissue that bind organs that can form after pelvic infection, appendicitis, endometriosis or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- Cancer and its treatment. Certain cancers — particularly reproductive cancers — often impair female fertility.
1. Have a support group - staying healthy and making changes takes work. Surround yourself with like-minded people who can understand what you’re going through and can help you value what you have while going through difficulties. The S'moo Babe app is a great place to start. It's the first ever social media platform dedicated to women's health & hormone balance.
2. Food as medicine - eating to please your body while also learning how to better manage cravings so you can improve the impact insulin has on your fertility.
3. Nutrients - you need to give your body the vitamins, supplements and minerals it needs. We suggest starting with S’moo which was designed for women with PCOS.
4. Exercise - you know I always stress it! Exercise can make you happy and promote a healthy life style.
I hope this information gave you a peek into what you may be experiencing or what you may experience in the future. Life is hard but it’s also wonderful and these challenges may put you on a different path in life but staying positive and enjoying the little things while fighting for the things you want are what make you, you. With the right information, and knowing your body, you can make the changes you need. We believe there is nothing like having a group of strong women who have your back, and can help propel each other forward to success!
Join the S'moo Babe app and enjoy a private platform and safe space for us to chat all things feminine! We know it can be daunting to talk about periods, reproductive health, trying to conceive, sex life, diet & health etc. in public places - but it’s our goal to create a SAFE & SUPPORTIVE space for us all to share with our fellow S’moo Babes! See you there.
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.