Most women know that they will get a period about once a month, but do not know much else about their monthly cycle. Some women still believe that they can get pregnant any day of the month. This is simply not true! A woman is only fertile (meaning she can get pregnant) between 5-7 days each cycle. The only time a woman can get pregnant are the days around ovulation.

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the main event in a woman’s cycle. It is the moment when hormones are at their highest and an egg is released from one ovary (in some cycles two ovaries release eggs-this is one way twins are born). Ovulation generally happens on days 7-18 of the cycle. Some women have delayed ovulation due to other conditions and may ovulate later. A woman has to ovulate in order to get pregnant. Ovulation is what allows a woman to either get pregnant or get her period about two weeks later. Take a look at the picture below that shows a 28-day cycle.

Menstrual Cycle

In most women, the fertile time is the 3-5 days leading up to ovulation, and for 1 day after. Cervical mucus and sperm can affect fertility, but most women can only get pregnant on the days right around ovulation. This is important to know if you are wanting to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy.

If you have missed your period and are wondering if you may be pregnant, it is important to talk with a medical professional. Call or click today to make your appointment.

For additional reading, see Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Keely Darnell, BSN, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with a healthcare provider