If there’s one thing you’ve probably realized now that you’re considering starting a family, it’s that timing matters when you’re trying for a baby. As surprising as it might sound, the average woman is only able to conceive a child for about six days out of each month during her “fertile window”. That’s why conception blog after conception blog talks about the importance of having sex on the right day of your cycle. It’s also why so many websites dedicated to the topic include resources designed to help you determine the days you should engage in intercourse to try and conceive.

With so much information available for you to find and use, it can be hard to know what to read first – and what never to read. So to help make this process a little easier, we’ve created a 3-step “to do” guide to make trying to conceive less stressful on you and your partner:

  1. Learn about the benchmarks in your cycle. Do you know which day of the month your natural fertility cycle begins on? Do you know how long an egg is viable and can be fertilized? If you’re not 100% sure, we recommend beginning to familiarize yourself with the timeframe of, and the most important benchmarks in, your cycle. This will make the entire process much easier on yourself and will help you better understand what is happening within your body. It will also help you when you get to step 2, which is:
  1. Get ready to track your likely ovulation date. Given how busy our lives are, the last thing you want to do is add something new to your daily to do list. That said, setting aside some time to examine your fertility cycle and track the date you’ll ovulate each month is extremely helpful and will increase your chances of successfully conceiving. In fact, when used correctly and consistently, using fertility awareness methods can be up to 90% effective for couples who are trying to conceive.
  1. Pick your method(s). Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the terms and timeframe associated with conceiving, you should decide exactly how you’ll go about tracking your monthly cycle and ovulation date. Currently, there are multiple low-cost tracking methods, over-the-counter tools and even apps that you can consider using. Don’t worry, though: we’ve taken the time to help out by mapping out and evaluating each of these options for you already:
    • Natural Family Planning (NFP) Method(s): NFP methods will allow you to naturally track your likely ovulation date by monitoring the dates of and symptoms associated with your fertility cycle. NFP methods can help you determine which days you should have sex with her partner. There are three key methods under this category that you can use to track your ovulation date: Calendar/Rhythm method, Basal body temperature method, Cervical mucus method.
    • Tracking Tools: Pharmacies and online stores are likely to carry kits, monitors and more tools that are designed to help you track your ovulation date. Our team here has already taken the time* (Link to blog #6) to write about the most popular tracking tools that are available today — which means all you need to do is decide which one will work the best for you!
    • Apps: If your smartphone or tablet is the organizational center of your life, you may want to enhance your tracking abilities by downloading a family planning app. Different apps can be used to track different things during the monthly cycle, so we definitely recommend exploring the ones that are available for use (Link to blog #6) and seeing which one will best fit with your tracking plans!

While this may sound like a lot of information, we know from experience that going through each piece of this puzzle is hugely beneficial when trying to start a family. We hope this 3-step guide has helped to break down the masses of information that might have been giving you a headache. Hopefully you’ll find it easier to select a cost-effective family planning method that will help start your family in a comfortable, low-stress way. If you’re left with some questions after reading our guide, just let us know in the comments!