Some women have no idea when they've conceived, while others can tell the exact moment it happened. Either way, conception is a magical moment for a couple, especially a woman, whose body is beginning to grow and change in incredible ways.
If you're curious about conception, here's what you need to know in a nutshell. When you ovulate, one of your eggs is carried into the nearest fallopian tube. If a man's sperm makes its way to the same spot within the next 12 to 24 hours, it may fertilize that egg. You're not actually pregnant until the fertilized egg, called a zygote, travels the rest of the way down the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the wall of your uterus.
The catch: The average egg lives only 24 hours and the average sperm lives for 24 to 48 hours, so they have to get acquainted during the first few hours after sex if you're going to conceive. The moral of the story: If your goal is to get pregnant, you should aim to make love at least every other day during the middle of your cycle. Studies have shown that sex must occur before ovulation in order to become pregnant.
Use the following tool as a quick way to get an idea of when you ovulate. Please note that ovulation is tricky to pinpoint; see our timing and fertility article for more information.
NOTE: Many factors can affect the accuracy of this tool, including irregular menstrual cycles. This calculator should not be used as a method of preventing pregnancy.
Peter J. Chen, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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