Maximise Your Chances of Getting Pregnant: Understanding Your Fertile Window

The journey to motherhood can be exciting, confusing, and filled with questions. Understanding your menstrual cycle and fertile window is a key piece of the puzzle. This guide will empower you to decode your cycle and maximize your chances of conception each month.
Maximise Your Chances of Getting Pregnant: Understanding Your Fertile Window - The Sabi

By Kim Schamroth


The journey to motherhood can be filled with anticipation, excitement, and sometimes confusion. Navigating the complexities of your menstrual cycle and understanding when conception is most likely can feel daunting and mysterious. But fear not, by decoding your fertile window, you can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant each month.

What is the Fertile Window?

It's a specific period in your menstrual cycle when the egg is ready to be fertilised by sperm. This window typically spans 5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. It can be as short as 3-4 days but as long as 7 days (but for a different reason than you might think!) 

Here's where timing becomes crucial:

  • Sperm can survive inside the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days.
  • The egg has a lifespan of only about 24 hours.

Therefore, having intercourse during your fertile window significantly increases the chances of sperm meeting the egg for fertilisation. This is because hormonal changes throughout your cycle create a more hospitable environment for sperm in the vagina. Early in the fertile window, cervical mucus thins and becomes more alkaline, allowing sperm to travel more easily and survive longer. However, as ovulation approaches and progesterone levels rise, cervical mucus thickens and vaginal pH becomes more acidic, creating a less welcoming environment for sperm. This means that if you have sex early in the fertile window, the vagina is more hospitable and can help sperm survive longer to make it to their destination. If you miss that window or are later in the cycle, the pH changes to be less favourable for sperm survival.

Demystifying Your Menstrual Cycle: The Key to Understanding Your Fertile Window

The first step to identifying your fertile window is understanding your menstrual cycle. The average cycle length is between 21 and 35 days, but it can vary from woman to woman. Tracking your cycle length consistently will help you estimate when ovulation might occur, providing a vital clue to identifying your fertile window.

If you suspect you have a hormonal imbalance, your approach should be a two-pronged attack – inside and out. Take a look at what's filling your kitchen and bathroom shelves. Consider going all-natural to avoid exposure to endocrine disruptors. These chemicals can silently wreak havoc on your hormone health and fertility.

Decoding the Signs: Your Body's Subtle Clues to Ovulation

Your body sends subtle yet powerful signals as ovulation approaches. Learning to recognise these signs can empower you to pinpoint your fertile window with greater accuracy. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:

  • Changes in cervical mucus: Around ovulation, cervical mucus becomes thin, stretchy, and egg-white-like. This is a clear sign that your body is preparing for the release of an egg.
  • Basal Body Temperature (BBT): Tracking your BBT can reveal a slight temperature rise (0.5-1°F) after ovulation occurs. This subtle shift can be a valuable confirmation of ovulation timing.

However, tracking BBT does require some dedication and consistency:

  • Monitoring: Take your temperature first thing upon waking, ideally before even getting out of bed. This ensures your body is at its most basal (resting) state.
  • Challenges: Maintaining consistency is key for accurate BBT tracking. Factors like irregular sleep schedules, illness, or even a late-night beverage can affect your readings.
  • Accuracy Boosters:
    • Classic Approach: Use a good-quality basal thermometer and record your daily temperatures on a chart or app. This tried-and-true method requires discipline but offers a low-tech solution.
    • Tech Integration: Wearable technology like the Oura ring or other temperature-tracking bracelets can automate the process, making it easier to stick with. However, these devices can be expensive and may not be as accurate as a dedicated basal thermometer.

Here are some additional tips for accurate BBT tracking:

  • Aim for at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking your temperature.
  • Take your temperature at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
  • Use the same thermometer throughout your cycle.
  • If you experience factors that might affect your temperature, like illness or a disrupted sleep schedule, note it on your chart to help interpret the data later.

While BBT tracking might not be for everyone, it can be a valuable tool for those who are trying to conceive or want a better understanding of their menstrual cycle. Remember, consistency is key, so choose a method that works best for you and your lifestyle.

  • Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs): These kits detect the LH surge, a hormone that increases significantly before ovulation. Using OPKs can provide a more precise estimate of your fertile window.

Some important information to keep in mind:

  • OPKs only detect the LH surge, a hormonal shift that precedes ovulation. They can't guarantee that ovulation actually happens. It's possible to have an LH surge without ovulation occurring.
  • Reading OPK results can be subjective, especially for those with irregular cycles or low LH surges. The test line may not always be as dark as the control line, leading to confusion about a positive or negative result.
  • OPKs may not be accurate for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) due to hormonal imbalances that can cause multiple LH surges throughout the cycle.

The SABI Recommends - Additional Resources for Your Fertility Journey!

  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler: This comprehensive guide provides detailed information about your menstrual cycle, fertility awareness methods, and natural approaches to conception. 
  • Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman: This book explores why insulin resistance has become so prevalent and how it (and essentially all metabolic diseases) is tied to illnesses like cancer, heart disease, low testosterone, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. It provides helpful food lists, meal suggestions, a lot of research and practical advice.
  • Infertility Lies by Dr. Karen Snow: In this book, Dr. Snow describes her journey as she struggles to get pregnant. It is a truly heartfelt and compassionate account that offers support and a better understanding for women undergoing fertility treatments.
  • Cortisol: The Master Hormone by Wibe Wagemans and Dr. Iona Bina: This helpful guide contains everything you need to know about how cortisol levels affect everything from sleep to changes in weight, cardiovascular health, and fertility. It is a definite must for anyone trying to gain a deeper understanding of how hormonal imbalances play a crucial role in our overall health and how stress impacts so much


Kim Schamroth is a registered nurse with over 8 years of experience, specialising in the field of Reproductive Medicine for the past 5+ years. She has worked as a fertility nurse at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York, where she assisted physicians in thousands of surgical procedures, helping patients conceive and/or preserve their fertility.
Kim has a passion for reproductive health and continues to educate her followers worldwide through her Instagram account, @thefertility_rn. If you are interested in working with Kim 1:1, contact her at
Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life –– The SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment, and loneliness to awareness and pride. As more than a wellness brand, The SABI offers a carefully-crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey, including rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and time again by women and now come backed by medicine. The SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep struggles of bringing a child into the world, the pains of a heavy, difficult period, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.
We offer you an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better –– an invitation to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information. Know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.
The SABI blog and articles are not meant to instruct or advise on medical or health conditions, but to inform. The information and opinions presented here do not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals for your unique situation.
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