Understanding Your Fertile Window: A Guide for Women
June 1, 2022
Let’s talk about your fertile window and some commonly related terms because of this question from a patient recently:
My app said I’m still fertile two days after ovulation. Is there any slight chance of getting pregnant on your “still fertile date”? Because if you can, I’ll be needing a lot of prayers now.Askawayhealth User
One of the challenges many women have is understanding the different parts of our menstrual cycle and how they work.
To answer the question, we should review some of these terms to better understand
Your cycle is the time from one period to the start of the next one.
The first day of the period is the first day of bleeding. Generally, the cycle is split into two halves by ovulation, so you have the preovulatory or follicular half of the cycle and the post-ovulatory or luteal half.
So you would go from the menstruation phase to the follicular phase, after which you ovulate and enter the luteal phase.
You are then back to another menstruation phase for the next month.
Your fertile window is that time in your menstrual cycle when you are most likely to fall pregnant. It is usually about six days.
That is five days before the day of ovulation plus ovulation day – some also theoretically add the next day as the egg can survive from 24-48 hours.
The timing of fertile window and menstruation can vary from one woman to another.
On this day in the cycle, your egg (which has been maturing up to that point) is released from the ovary. It then journeys down through the fallopian tube into the rest of the womb.
It may join with sperm and become fertilised; if not, it will be shed with some of the womb linings.
Usually, we say Ovulation day is NOT a fixed day in the month, even for women with regular periods.
So it can move from the 14th of this month to the 15th of the next month, even if you have a regular 28-day cycle.
For women whose cycle is not regular, the time ovulation happens can vary from one to the next.
So this is the big one! Are there some times of the month when you are most likely to fall pregnant?
Yes – we’ve talked about the fertile window. That is the time pregnancy is most likely to happen.
Yes, you ovulate once a month, so why do we say pregnancy is possible five days beforehand? This is all down to the survival of the sperm!
Sperm can survive for about five days after sex.
So assume you had sex five days before ovulation; those guys are still swimming around in your womb, waiting for your egg to arrive.
Hence pregnancy is still possible even though you had sex before you ovulated.
According to the UK Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive health:
“Pregnancy is extremely unlikely to occur as a result of UPSI in the first three days of a natural menstrual cycle. However, pregnancy is theoretically possible after UPSI on most days of the cycle.”FSRH Emergency Contraception pg 18 Sec 4.1
So this is what to know – you can theoretically get pregnant on most days of the cycle.
This brings me to the final term in this article – fertility apps.
These are helpful tools; you can download an app to help you plan or prevent pregnancy and keep track of your menstrual cycle.
You can monitor different health symptoms, such as menopause or your mood.
Apps collect your info like:
Using this information, you can get useful customised info about your cycle.
Most of them also provide information on many women’s health topics.
I recommend using them to keep track of your details but don’t follow them blindly.
They are guides which estimate when you are ovulating, your fertile window, your next period and so on.
So for this question:
My app said I’m still fertile two days after ovulation. Is there any slight chance of getting pregnant on your “still fertile date”?
Recall the dates from the apps are estimates.
At best, they guide you on whether or not you are ovulating on the ‘ovulation day’.
The other thing is that from month to month, even with a regular cycle, your ovulation day may change in response to things happening around you. Examples are stress, medication, illness etc., which the apps can’t factor in.
These estimates may even be trickier if you don’t have a regular cycle.
As we’ve seen, pregnancy is possible on most days of your cycle.
According to FSRH, days 1-3 of your cycle are the least likely.
(And this is why the emergency birth control pills/coil are recommended for use anytime in your cycle).
Your egg can “theoretically” survive for 12-24 hours – not more than 48 hours after ovulation.
This is why the fertility app still considers you fertile two days after ovulation day.
(photo from very well)
So to answer this – yes, there is a chance of pregnancy when your app shows you as ‘still fertile.’
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
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