Do you want to know how to determine your peak ovulation day to maximize your fertility?
Then you are in the right place!
In this post you are going to learn:
- What is peak ovulation,
- How long your fertility window lasts for each month,
- The best days to have sex to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
When are you fertile?
You are fertile for up to 5 days before you ovulate and up to 24 hours after ovulation.
It is only during this time each month that you can get pregnant.
Shocking, I know!
What this means is that you must have vaginal intercourse during this window to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.
What is peak ovulation?
Peak ovulation is the time at which you are most fertile, meaning your chances of becoming pregnant are at their highest.
In general, peak ovulation occurs approximately 14 days before your next period starts.
What Causes The Egg To Be Released?
Each month, your body prepares for fertilization by recruiting and releasing one egg into your uterus.
Ultimately, only one follicle will continue to grow and become the dominant follicle.
Once that single follicle reaches a sufficient size, this will trigger your body to release really high levels of a hormone known as luteinizing hormone, or LH for short.
This is also known as “The LH surge.“
The LH surge is what ultimately causes the egg to be released, or ovulated.
The really high level of LH that occurs is known as peak ovulation.
Once the egg is released, it can only survive in the female reproductive tract for 12-24 hours.
So get moving, the clock is ticking!
Do you ovulate the day after The peak?
So how long after the LH surge do you ovulate?
Most women will ovulate 1-2 days after the peak (aka the LH surge), with an average of about 36 hours.
Is peak ovulation before or after your period?
Peak ovulation occurs before your period.
Every month, your body undergoes a cycle to prepare for the fertilization of an egg. If fertilization does not occur, you will get a period and restart the cycle.
Let’s go through each step individually.
- The day you bleed is cycle day # 1
- Day 1 starts the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle
- During the follicular phase, your ovary begins to grows one dominant follicle which contains the egg that will be ovulated/released
- The LH surge occurs once the follicle is big enough, triggering ovulation ~36 hours later
- This is the most fertile day of your cycle
- After ovulation, you start the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle
- The follicle that ovulated the egg becomes a corpus luteum (hence the name luteal phase)
- If no pregnancy occurs the corpus luteum regresses, and this causes your endometrium to shed- which is why you get a menstrual period again
A Simple Peak Ovulation Calculator (For Natural Family Planning)
The best way to calculate peak ovulation is to take a look at the length of your period.
In general, most women will ovulate 14 days before their period.
So if your periods are normally 30 days, you will ovulate around day 16.
Now, since you are most fertile, 1-2 days prior to ovulation, you would subtract 1-2 days from day 16.
So it would look like this:
(Average menstrual cycle length) – (14 days) – (1 or 2 days)
If you have 28-day cycles, you can calculate your peak ovulation by using this formula:
(28) – (14 days) – (1 or 2 days) = 12 or 13
Days 12 and 13 of your cycle are going to be when you are most fertile. (Don’t forget, Day 1 of your cycle is the day you start bleeding).
You can also use an ovulation calendar to better determine your average menstrual cycle length.
An Even Easier Method – The Ovulation Test
Instead of calculating your ovulation, there is an easier way to determine your peak fertility.
You can use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to determine the best time to have intercourse.
These devices can detect if there are high levels of LH in your urine. The good news is, studies have confirmed that these tests are reliable in predicting your high fertility days.
Clearblue is the most well known and the one I recommend.
Once you have a positive result on the OPK, it’s time to have intercourse! This is what we mean when we say timed intercourse.
However, you still need to have a general idea of what days you should check the test, or else you will be going through a ton of kits.
If you have a 28-day cycle, begin checking the test strips nightly on Day 10.
If your cycles are longer than 28 days, you can add a day based on how much longer your cycles are and vice versa.
How long does ovulation last?
Ovulation is instant.
However, the egg that gets released through ovulation only survives for 12-24 hours.
The egg must travel to the fallopian tube and be fertilized by sperm within this time frame.
If the egg does not get fertilized by a sperm within this time frame, you have missed your fertile window this cycle.
How long after ovulation can you conceive?
You can only conceive 12-24 hours after ovulation.
However, it is possible to conceive 1-2 days before ovulation because sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for 3-5 days!
Do you ovulate in the morning or night?
Once you have ovulated, you have 12-24 hours for your egg to be fertilized by sperm.
Therefore, you should have intercourse that evening as well as the next morning to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.
How do I know ovulation is over?
The most common indicators of ovulation include:
- changes in your cervical mucus,
- an elevation in your basal body temperature,
- elevations of serum progesterone levels
Peak fertility is associated with slippery and clear mucus.
When ovulation is over, the cervical mucus will become sticky and thick which prevents sperm from getting to the uterus.
You may even experience days where there is very little to no discharge.
Another way to detect that ovulation is over is by checking your basal body temperature.
Your body temperature will increase by about 0.5 degrees celsius AFTER you ovulate.
This is very difficult to truly detect, and very impractical.
Additionally, a blood test looking at progesterone levels will also confirm if ovulation has occurred or not.
Other Related Question
How long after the LH surge do you ovulate?
Ovulation occurs anywhere from 24-38 after the start of the LH surge.
As such, it is important to check ovulation predictor kits at least 2 days before you think you will ovulate.
What is high fertility vs peak fertility?
High fertility refers to the time period where your estrogen levels begin to climb, about ~3-4 days before the LH surge.
Peak fertility is when your LH surge has started.
Some predictor kits will show a flashing smiley face for high fertility and a solid face for peak fertility.
How many days of high fertility can you have before the peak?
High fertility usually lasts about 3-4 days before the peak day, and it reflects the rise in estrogen levels that occur before ovulation.
I have a solid smiley face, when will I ovulate?
A solid smiley face indicates that your LH levels are elevated.
In general, you will ovulate 24-38 hours after the peak, aka the solid smiley face.
How long does sperm survive in the female body?
However, some sperm may die before 5 days depending on the conditions in the female reproductive tract, mainly the vagina, cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
In particular, certain types of birth control will cause the female reproductive system to become inhospitable for sperm resulting in sperm death.
If I ovulate in the morning can I get pregnant that night?
An egg survives for about 12-24 hours after ovulation. As long as you have intercourse before the 24-hour mark, you have a chance of getting pregnant.
Can I get pregnant at the peak of ovulation?
Yes, you can get pregnant from intercourse that occurs on your peak LH day. In fact, this is the day where you are most fertile.
Can I get pregnant 2 days after ovulation?
It is possible for you to get pregnant 2 days after ovulation, but it is very unlikely.
Typically you are fertile only up to the day of ovulation.
What does ovulation discharge look like?
Ovulation discharge is very wet and stretchy.
Some will refer to this type of discharge as a raw egg white appearance.
The reason for this very wet discharge is so that sperm can easily enter the cervix and travel up the uterus to meet and fertilize the egg.
What are the signs of a woman not ovulating?
The most common sign that you are not ovulating is irregular or infrequent periods.
A normal menstrual cycle is 21-35 days.
If you have cycles that last longer than 35 days, (some women have 60+ day cycles), you are not ovulating.
What are the reasons why you are not ovulating?
The most common cause of why you are not ovulating is your hormonal profile.
The most common causes of irregular cycles or anovulatory cycles are:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels)
- Hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin levels)
- Being severely underweight with a BMI <18.5
If you have any of these conditions, please speak with your medical provider as they are all treatable!
When should I see a fertility specialist?
You should consult a fertility doctor if you have been unable to achieve pregnancy after:
- 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse if you are under 35 years
- 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse if you are over 35 years
- Immediately if you are 40 years or over
- Immediately if you have a known diagnosis that causes infertility
Final Words on Finding Your Peak Fertility
So there you have everything you need to know about ovulation and the optimal timing to get pregnant.
The fertile period spans 3-5 days before you ovulate and ends on the day of ovulation.
Isn’t it so interesting how there are only a few fertile days each month in which you could get pregnant?
Share this with anyone who can benefit from fertility awareness!
Now I want to hear from you.
Are you planning your pregnancy based on your ovulation?
Are you going to use an ovulation test?
Comment below and let me know!
Related Posts On Conceiving
- Should You Exercise When Trying To Conceive?
- My Top Pregnancy Must Haves For Every Trimester
- 100 Remarkable Facts About Pregnancy You Probably Don’t Know
Get Four Free Workouts To Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor & Heal Your Mommy Tummy!
Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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