Wait a minute. You can get pregnant after ovulation? We love a good plot twist! Let’s explore this together.
Pregnancy’s a funny thing. When everything goes according to plan, it can look like an exact science (sperm + egg = baby).
But we’re talking about the human body here, and “going according to plan” definitely isn’t a given.
For example, the moment when the sperm and egg find each other doesn’t only happen on the day that you ovulate.
This means that you could get pregnant after ovulation and a few days before, too.
Let’s unpack this a little under the watchful eye of embryology expert Navya Muralidhar.
In this article: 📝
- What are your chances of getting pregnant on ovulation day?
- How many days after ovulation can you get pregnant?
- How long after ovulation pain is the egg released?
What are your chances of getting pregnant on ovulation day?
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
If you have a 28-day cycle, this usually happens right bang in the middle on day 14.
But cycles vary from person to person (ranging from 21 days to 40 days) and, within this time, ovulation can change slightly from month to month.
Granted this can make tracking ovulation a little more difficult (ahem frustrating) but it also means you’re not just fertile on one specific day.
It’s like a fertility window.
This gap in your menstrual calendar is when a night between the sheets could result in a positive line on your next pregnancy test.
If you and your partner are both able to have children, your chances of getting pregnant start around five days before you ovulate.
This is because sperm can survive inside your body for about that amount of time, so even though your ovary hasn’t released an egg yet, the sperm might still be there when it does.
As ovulation gets closer, your chances of getting pregnant increases.
Here’s what an older, but often-cited study says your chances of pregnancy are on the days before and after ovulation:
- Five days before ovulation: 10%
- Four days before ovulation: 16%
- Three days before ovulation: 14%
- Two days before ovulation: 27%
- One day days before ovulation: 31%
- Ovulation day: 33%
- One day after ovulation: 12%
“Even with assisted reproductive cycles such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), the same procedure is followed,” says Navya, “where the timing of a natural cycle IUI procedure is placed around the ovulation time.”
“This means semen preparation is injected one day prior to the ovulation day and one day after, to maximize chances of conception.”
If you like those odds, there are a host of ovulation tests you can take to find out more about your fertility window.
How many days after ovulation can you get pregnant?
Sure, getting pregnant after you ovulate is a little less common than getting pregnant before you ovulate, but it’s still possible.
So if you’re wondering if you should still have sex, the answer is (always) yes!
The only catch is the egg you release must be fertilized by sperm within 12 to 24 hours after it’s released, though.
After that, the egg usually isn’t what doctors call “viable”.
This means that, even if it encounters sperm, it won’t be fertilized.
But hey, even if you’re not successful straight away, practicing recommended pregnancy sex positions can still be fun and educational.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to have sex for a few days leading up to ovulation, on the day itself, and on the day after.
You just never know which day will be your lucky one!
How long after ovulation pain is the egg released?
Have you ever felt a bit of pain in your lower abdomen or pelvis about two weeks after your period? If so, you’re not alone.
About one in five women feel pain around this time. It’s called ovulation pain or mittelschmerz, and can either feel sharp and sudden or dull and crampy.
There hasn’t really been enough research to know when this pain happens in relation to an egg being released.
Most studies suggest that it happens about a day or so beforehand, but this might not be 100% accurate in every case.
If you do experience some ovulation pain, though, it’s probably a sign that you’re either ovulating or about to ovulate.
Provided you’re in the mood and it doesn’t make you feel sore or uncomfortable, having sex around that time could help you get pregnant.
And remember, if your ovulation pain is severe – or you’re feeling pain at other points in your cycle – have a chat with your doctor.
There might be other abdominal, pelvic or gyne-related problems that you need to check out.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, keep a close eye on your cycle.
There are definitely days such as the fertility window that are more likely to give you a baby than others, including the day after you ovulate.
And remember, you can always check in with the Peanut TTC community for support, advice, and even tips on getting the most out of your fertility window.