In many parts of the world, childlessness is regarded as a curse, since many couples want to leave behind children that would inherit their fortunes and perpetuate their family names. But many couples are increasingly having the difficulty of being blessed with the fruits of the womb. However, in many cases, women’s mere understanding of their menstrual cycle is enough, to bring this joy of motherhood to them.
Menstrual cycle, to begin with, refers to the length of time between the first day of one menstruation to the first day of the next one.
This is usually between 21 and 35 days. Menstruation, on the other hand, is the one commonly called ‘period’ by women.
It involves vaginal bleeding of between three and eight days, usually once a month.
This bleeding is jocularly called ‘the bleeding of a disappointed womb’ by some people. Because each month, the uterus of a woman prepares for a possible pregnancy by becoming thicker and richer with blood vessels.
But if pregnancy does not occur (the disappointment), the thickened lining is shed and seen as bleeding (the weeping) during menstruation.
This occurs as a fairly regular and predictable pattern in most women and should not be confused with ovulation which is a phase and is explained below.
- Follicular phase –the time the ovaries are preparing to ovulate again. Typically, it is the first 14 days of a menstrual cycle, menstrual bleeding, alluded to above, occurs in the early part of this phase.
- Ovulatory phase – the end of the follicular is marked by the release of usually one egg, but more than one egg can be released, from one of the two ovaries. It is the release of a mature egg from the ovary, which is called ovulation.
- Luteal phase – this follows the release of the egg. It is the most important period of a menstrual cycle, because it is during this phase that a woman can be pregnant. This phase, in non-pregnant women, is usually between 11-17 days (average 14 days).
Fertilisation of the eggs occurs in the fallopian tube and then move into the uterus (womb) for implantation.
If the released egg is not fertilised within 12 and 48 hours, it will disintegrate. But sperm can still be viable, three to five days following intercourse.
This then means, a woman is only capable of being pregnant during a certain period of time within her menstrual cycle. This is what is known as the “Fertile Period”. This can be calculated as follows:
First, the day of ovulation is calculated by counting 14 days backward from the end of a menstrual cycle.
This is an average of 14 days before the end of a menstrual cycle. For example, if a woman saw her menstruation on April 1st and the one for the following month on May 1st.
Her menstrual cycle is 30 days for the month of April (between April 1st and April 30th).
So, all she needs to do is to count 14 days backward from April 30th, to get her day of ovulation, which in this case will be April 16th. She may need to monitor this over several months for her to know this with certainty.
And since sperm can survive for three to five days before it dies and an egg, in some instances, lasts between 12 and 48 hours before it disintegrates, it then means a sperm deposited during intercourse, three to five days before the day of ovulation can still fertilise the egg on the ovulation day which will result in a pregnancy. So, also can the egg be viable, in most cases, for fertilisation up to two days after release.
In essence, ‘fertile window’ is the lifespan of the sperm added to the lifespan of the egg.
In addition, this is just a week in any menstrual cycle. So, concentrating intercourse to around this ‘fertile window,’ therefore, is a sure natural way of achieving pregnancy.
In conclusion, the most fertile period of a woman in a menstrual cycle was elucidated on from the foregoing, it should, however, be noted that pregnancy still occurs outside the ‘fertile window.’
However, days one to seven and 17 to 28, in a 28-day menstrual cycle are the least possible periods to get pregnant.
Also, there are some signs that accompany ovulation, which were not alluded to, in this article.