Ovulation is the moment when the egg is released from the ovary, and it occurs sometime between the 11th and 21st day of the cycle.
If you ask an expert – Can I get pregnant if I have sex after ovulation? – the simple answer is yes, you can. However, the odds are pretty low.
When it comes to the most fertile periods of the cycle, ovulation is not one of them. Read this article to learn more about the cycle and why is it better to have sex before it begins if you want to get pregnant.
What Is Ovulation?
If you want to get pregnant, you need to understand how ovulation works. The mature egg is released from the ovary and advances towards the fallopian tubes. Ideally, sperm should be waiting there ready to fertilize the egg.
A woman’s cycle lasts for 28 days and the ovulation occurs around the 14th. However, as the 14th day is an average estimate, the exact ovulation time is usually inaccurate. The more accurate ovulation period is around the 11th and 21st day of the cycle, known as the ‘fertility window.’
During the ‘fertility window’ you should have increased sexual activity if you want to conceive. This means the best period to have sex is before you ovulate, or exactly during the process. Having sex after you ovulate will greatly reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
What Are Your Chances to Conceive During the ‘Fertility Window’?
The ‘fertility window’ is your best chance to conceive. If you have sexual intercourse regularly during this period you should have a high chance of pregnancy. That said, each part of the window has higher or lower odds.
You may have thought that it’s better to wait until after ovulation to conceive, but that isn’t the case. The ideal time for sex is right before or during ovulation. Once the egg is released, there’s a small window of opportunity that lasts for a day or two, but the chances are significantly lower.
The chances of getting pregnant if you have sexual intercourse once during the ‘fertility window’ are:
- A day before ovulation: up to 35%.
- On the day of ovulation: 10% to 33%.
- One day after the ovulation: 0% to 11%.
- Two days after the ovulation: 0% to 9%.
As you can see, the chances are slimmer the longer you wait after the ovulation.
Why Is It Best to Have Sex Before Ovulation?
If you’re trying to get pregnant, the best time to have sex is early during the fertile window – before you ovulate.
The cervix mucus keeps sperm alive in the body for up to five days, and it takes around six hours for it to reach the fallopian tubes and fertilize the egg. The egg needs to be fertilized up to 24 hours after release, and the sperm should already be waiting during this time.
This is the reason your body shows signs that you are about to ovulate. You are at the most fertile stage two to four days before ovulation. This is the period where you should look to have the most sexual activity.
Signs of Ovulation
You should always keep track of the days of your cycle and know approximately when the ‘fertile window’ will open. After that, you should look for other bodily signs that alert you about ovulation.
- Increased body temperature: The base temperature of your body isn’t always the same. It increases and decreases throughout the day depending on your activities, eating and sleeping habits, hormones, health, etc. During ovulation, the progesterone levels rise and this hormone causes the temperature to increase.
- Change in quality of cervical mucus: During the fertile period, you should notice that secretion near the cervix increase and change to a denser, whiter consistency. This secretion has ‘fertile quality’ and it helps the sperm travel up the female reproductive system, and also makes the intercourse more enjoyable.
- Increased sexual desire: Your sexual desire will increase as the time to ovulate gets closer. You may naturally feel more attractive and confident, and even slightly alter your body language to appear more sexual. However, common issues like anxiety and depression may mask this behavior even prior to ovulation.
- Ovulation pain: The throbbing pain in the lower abdomen that comes in the middle of your cycle is commonly known as ovulation pain. Researchers have found that ovulation pain occurs shortly after you’re about to ovulate. That’s also the best time to have sex. However, some women may experience severe pain which makes sexual intercourse near impossible. That may be a serious issue. If you have experienced this you should contact your doctor.
- Tender breast: If your breasts are more sensitive to touch it could be due to ovulation. Your body generates hormones during ovulation that can make your breasts sore and tender.
Having Sex After Ovulation
Just because the chances for pregnancy are lower after ovulation doesn’t mean that you should stop having sex. After all, there’s no way that you know for sure if you’ve ovulated or not.
You may follow the ovulation signs, but they aren’t completely accurate. Therefore, to answer your primary question – Can I get pregnant if I have sex after ovulation? – is that there is always a chance.
There’s another reason to have sex after ovulation (besides pleasure that is) – embryo implantation. This can improve your chances of staying pregnant . In IFV treatments, eggs and sperm are fertilized in a laboratory and several healthy embryos should come out if everything goes well.
However, placing the embryos in the uterus doesn’t ensure that you’ll stay pregnant. That said, researchers found that couples who had sex after the ovulation managed to maintain the pregnancy.
Can I get pregnant if I have sex after ovulation? – Yes, you can. Actually, there is always a chance to get pregnant after intercourse due to the inaccuracy of the cycle and miscalculations.
So, if you want to get pregnant, having frequent sexual intercourse is the best choice. Especially during the ‘fertile window’, as the chances of pregnancy rise significantly.
On the other hand, if you want to avoid pregnancy, the only fairly certain method is using means of prevention. Therefore, ensure you’re well-protected to avoid any inconvenience.