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Do You Have to Be Ovulating to Get Pregnant?

To become pregnant, your body must undergo a specific chain of events. Starting at menstruation, the body begins to prepare for the possibility that conception will occur. However, just because you menstruate does not necessarily mean you are fertile.


The hormone chain

The menstrual cycle is divided into two parts, the follicular phase and the luteal phase. During the follicular phase, hormones surge and encourage an ovary to release an egg. The luteal phase begins after the egg is released and ends with your period if implantation does not occur.


Fertility during the follicular phase

If you are trying to get pregnant, time intercourse so that sperm is present and ready to meet an egg when it is released from the ovary. Having sex after your ovulation date will not lead to conception. An egg survives for less than 24 hours after it is released, so if it is not fertilized, your body will reabsorb it.


Ovulating to Get Pregnant


Fertility during menstruation

It is a myth that you cannot get pregnant when you are menstruating. The presence of blood from your uterus does not impact your ovary’s schedule. If your body begins its luteinizing hormone (the hormone that triggers the release of the egg) surge early in your cycle, it is possible to get pregnant while you are still bleeding from your period.


Anovulatory cycles

Not all cycles will result in successful ovulation. Sometimes the body will try to ovulate and fail, so progesterone production falls off, and your period begins early. Cycles when you do not ovulate are called anovulatory cycles. If no egg is released, you cannot get pregnant.


Signs of ovulation

Some women monitor changes in their body to predict when ovulation will occur. Typical changes include softening and opening of the cervix, increased watery cervical mucus and sometimes localized cramping at one ovary site. The presence of these signs are not required for ovulation to occur, and conversely you can experience all signs and still have an anovulatory cycle.


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