EXPECTFUL IS HSA/FSA eligible
Expectful

Can You Get Pregnant After Ovulation? Fertility Guide

Written By
Expectful
Nicole Kainz
instructor
April 4, 2022

When it comes to fertility, understanding your ovulation patterns can help take some of the guesswork out of knowing the best time to have sex to get pregnant. 

Do you wonder if you can get pregnant after ovulation? While your chances may not be as high as before ovulation, there is certainly still a chance. 

Read on to understand more about ovulation, how long you have to get pregnant, and your most fertile day after ovulation. We have also broken down some of the signs of ovulation and when to call your doctor if you are having trouble becoming pregnant. 

What Is Ovulation?

It is important to understand what ovulation is if you are starting your fertility journey. 

Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from an ovary. This process starts with the pituitary gland sending out a luteinizing hormone to the ovary. A follicle with a mature egg inside is ruptured, releasing the egg. 

Once the mature egg is released, it travels down through the fallopian tubes. 

When the mature egg reaches the fallopian tubes, it can either be fertilized by sperm or not fertilized. If the egg is fertilized, it will continue down into the uterus and implant into the uterine wall. If the egg is not fertilized, it will continue traveling down to the uterus and will be released in the lining of the uterine wall. 

When Does Ovulation Occur?

Like many processes in a woman’s body, ovulation can occur at different times and varies upon the person. It is often said that ovulation happens 14 before your period or at the halfway point of an average 28-day menstrual cycle. 

In actuality, ovulation may occur seven to 19 days before your next period. It takes about 24 hours for the ovulation cycle to complete. 

How Long After Ovulation Can You Get Pregnant?

Once ovulation happens, your chances of getting pregnant start to decrease. Once the egg is released, it starts to die off within 12 to 24. With this in mind, it is possible to get pregnant a day after ovulation.

When Do You Have the Highest Chance To Get Pregnant?

With only a 24-hour ovulation period, you may be wondering how anyone can get pregnant with such a small window. Because of the changes in the cervical fluid before ovulation, sperm can live in the female body for three to five days.

Fertility peaks two days before ovulation

This being said, it is best to have intercourse in the days leading up to ovulation and not necessarily on the day of ovulation or the day after. However, the entire fertility window is about six days—five days before ovulation and the next day after.

How Do You Know When You Are Ovulating?

If you are trying to become pregnant, you could track your ovulation. Knowing when you ovulate can help you increase your odds of getting pregnant. The first thing you need is an ovulation tracking app or a simple paper calendar. It is here that you will track all of the changes in your body for a few months. 

After a while, you may begin to see some trends to help you learn about your ovulation period.

You may notice a few signs of ovulation during the month, like breast tenderness or increased sex drive. These are helpful to track but may not happen each month. Here are some other signs of ovulation that you may want to keep a close eye on. 

Tracking Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature entirely at rest. The best, most reliable time to take your BBT is first thing in the morning. Have your thermometer on your bedside table. Before you even get out of bed, take your temperature. 

After ovulation, the hormone progesterone may cause a spike in your BBT. This spike is slight, only increasing one-half of a degree to one degree. Once you see this spike, you know ovulation has occurred. By tracking your BBT, you may be able to see a pattern of when your BBT spikes. With this information, you can better understand when you are ovulating.

Cervical Mucus

Another way to tell if you are ovulating or not is by the consistency of your cervical mucus. 

Cervical mucus is important in fertility, as it accepts, filters, and prepares the sperm before it is released to the egg. Before ovulation, the hormone estrogen increases and changes the cervical mucus so that it is similar to an egg white in look and texture. 

This change in cervical mucus allows the sperm to survive in the female body and swim to the egg. 

Cervical Changes

Not only does your cervical mucus change during ovulation, but so does the actual cervix. This test may be a little more challenging to learn, but it is a valuable ovulation test if you can feel the differences. Make sure you clean your hands before doing this test.

In a comfortable position—squatting, sitting on the toilet, or with one leg up on the counter, feel inside your vagina for your cervix. Your cervix will go through many changes through your menstrual cycle, but it is usually more firm than the tip of your nose. 

When you are ovulating, the cervix becomes higher and softer. It may feel similar to your lips. Record any of your findings in your ovulation tracker. 

Ovulation Tests

Besides using your own body’s signs for ovulation, you can also invest in ovulation tests. These are very similar to pregnancy tests. These tests use your urine to detect the luteinizing hormone. 

This hormone is responsible for your ovary releasing a mature egg. If you are not finding patterns with other ovulation signs, you may want to try ovulation tests. 

What Can Prevent Ovulation?

So many processes in a woman’s body rely on a delicate balance of hormones. Ovulation is no different. If your periods are irregular, you are not becoming pregnant while consistently trying, or your periods are not coming, you may not be ovulating.

Ovulation can be affected by many factors. Age can play a role in ovulation. As we get older, the number of available eggs begins to reduce. Underlying medical conditions can also affect Ovulation, such as thyroid issues or gynecological disorders. 

While some factors we cannot control, there are other lifestyle considerations we may be able to correct. One of the biggest ovulation deterrents is stress. While it is easier said than done, it is essential to manage your stress levels. 

Lack of sleep can also lower your chances of ovulation. If you smoke, here is another reason to kick the habit, it can reduce your chances of ovulating. 

When To Call Your Doctor?

If you are trying to have a baby, you may be surprised that it takes longer than one month of trying. 

  • If you are younger than 35 and have been trying to conceive for over a year, you should set up an appointment to talk to your doctor. 
  • If you are older than 35, set up that appointment if you get to the six-month mark without getting pregnant. 
  • If you are older than 40, you may want to bring your doctor into the conversation as soon as you are interested in getting pregnant.

Your doctor may be able to run tests to determine if you are ovulating or check to see if there are any other infertility issues. They may order blood work and an ultrasound to better understand what is going on inside your body. They may also request a sperm sample from your partner.

Conclusion

There is a lot that goes into ovulation, from the process of ovulation and how long it actually lasts to your fertility window. Getting pregnant after ovulation is possible; however, the chances of getting pregnant are much higher before ovulation occurs. The most fertile day is two days before ovulation. 

While it is essential to know what happens during ovulation and when you can get pregnant, you also need to understand the signs of ovulation. Knowing when your ovulation occurs can help increase your chances of getting pregnant. 

These signs may include a rise in your BBT, a change in your cervical mucus and feeling of your cervix, and tracking with an ovulation test. If you do not notice changes due to ovulation, or you have been trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully, reach out to your doctor. They may run tests to better understand what is going on.

At Expectful, we understand the highs and lows of fertility. We are here to bring another layer to support during this exciting time.

Expectful
Nicole Kainz
Instructor