Trying to conceive has a tendency to make you hyper-aware of when you can and cannot get pregnant. In fact, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a few months, you’re probably tracking your ovulation and timing your intercourse just right.
Even armed with the knowledge that ovulation is the best time to get pregnant, you probably still have some questions on the particulars of what’s going on in your body that makes pregnancy likely…or not so much.
Let’s dig into why you can get pregnant sometimes but not others, so you can maximize your fertile moments and take it easy when you know the odds are low.
Can you get pregnant when you stop your birth control?
There has been endless speculation and, subsequently, research done to determine if going off of birth control affects your fertility in both the short- and long-term. Women everywhere can breathe a collective sigh of relief: the answer is no, birth control will not affect your fertility.
That being said, you may or may not be able to get pregnant immediately after stopping your birth control. With forms of long-term birth control, like IUDs, you can start trying to get pregnant immediately after it’s taken out.
Getting pregnant after stopping the pill can be longer, depending on which type you take. If you’re on the standard 3-weeks of active pills, 1-week of placebo pills, you can get pregnant from missing just one pill. Luckily, that also means you should be able to get pregnant during ovulation the month after you stop taking them.
For extended birth control pills like Seasonale, your cycle may take longer to get back to normal. Still, barring underlying infertility issues, you can begin trying immediately.
How soon you get pregnant after stopping any kind of birth control largely depends on the health of your ovaries, eggs, and uterus. It takes most couple 4 to 6 months to become pregnant. If you’ve been trying for more than 6 months, it may be time to see a fertility specialist.
Can you get pregnant when you’re breastfeeding?
You may have heard that some women use breastfeeding as a form of natural family planning. This method is effective for women who haven’t started their period since giving birth and have an infant that is less than 6 months old who only eats through breastfeeding. When this is the case, less than 2% of women will become pregnant.
For everyone else? Forget the rumors — you can definitely get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding. As your baby gets older and your milk supply decreases, your body begins producing more estrogen and progesterone. Even if you haven’t seen your period yet, you could be ovulating. You can check this by monitoring your cervical mucus — when it reaches an egg-white consistency, that means you’re likely ovulating. For a more accurate measure, you can take your basal body temperature to find out exactly when you’re ovulating.
Can you get pregnant on your period? What about the day after your period ends?
Despite popular belief, you can get pregnant on your period. It’s not highly likely but it is a possibility. This is especially true if you have an average menstrual cycle of 28 days.
If you have a shorter menstrual cycle, between 21 and 24 days, this means that your ovulation time will be closer to when you get your period. Because sperm can live inside of you for up to 5 days, sperm that has entered during or shortly after your period can still be viable and fertilize an egg released during ovulation.
Still, the odds of getting pregnant during the menstruation phase of your cycle are relatively low.
When is the best time to get pregnant?
If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, the best time to do so is when you’re ovulating. This is the time when your ovaries release a developed egg to wait for fertilization. Because this is, by all accounts, the most optimal time to conceive, it can be tempting to obsess over timing your intercourse just right.
While understandable, trying to conceive can be plenty stressful on its own, without the added pressure of having sex at the exact right moment. Not only could stress have an impact on your fertility, it can also put a strain on your relationship. Neither of these will get you any closer to becoming pregnant. Your best bet when trying to conceive is to nurture your own physical and emotional well being, tend to your relationship, and have sex when you both want to — not because ‘it’s that time again.”