Is there a best time of the day to conceive? Are you wondering if intercourse in the morning, afternoon, or night may affect your chances of conception? Conception can be an extremely complicated subject. While in theory, it may sound as easy as getting the sperm to meet the egg for fertilization, there are many factors that can affect your chances of conception. If you have any knowledge regarding ovulation or have read any articles on “peak fertility” or “fertile time”, you will know that timing is crucial when you are trying to conceive. To understand the best time to conceive, it is important to understand how the normal menstrual cycle function.
How Your Menstrual Cycle Impacts Conception
Your menstrual cycle is fully regulated by your hormones. There are two hormones (follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)) that are key for the development and release of the mature egg. Both these hormones are produced by the pituitary gland.
There are three phases of the menstrual cycle:
Menstrual period phase
Day one of your menstrual cycle begins when the thickened lining of your uterus starts to shed. This process is the equivalence of menstrual bleeding from the vagina and usually lasts about three to seven days. The first three days of menstruation is when you lose the most blood. You may also experience other symptoms such as cramping in the lower abdomen, pain in the lower back, bloating, headaches, and more. Depending on each individual, the cramps can be mild or severe. Cramping occurs as your uterus is contracting to help the endometrium shed. If you experience any premenstrual symptoms (PMS), it will gradually resolve once your menstruation starts.
The follicular phase
In the follicular phase, the mature follicle starts getting ready to release an egg. Generally, only one egg is released per cycle. Depending on each woman, this phase can be shorter or longer than normal and is therefore the biggest factor that influences the length of your cycle. Since the shedding of the uterine lining is over, in the follicular phase, the uterus also starts to rebuild the endometrium to prepare for the possibility of fertilization and implantation. In the last 5 days of the follicular phase, along with the day of ovulation, are the days where your chances of conception are highest. This means that this is time where you are most likely to get pregnancy if you have intercourse without any method of contraception.
The luteal phase or the premenstrual phase starts on the day of ovulation. Ovulation occurs when the mature egg is released from the follicle in the ovary. In a normal menstrual cycle, it can happen any day between the days seven to twenty-two. Some women may experience slight lower pelvic pain or discomfort with spotting during ovulation. This is known as Mittelschmerz, which means ovulation pain or midcycle pain and is considered to be normal. In the luteal phase, if the mature egg is fertilized, it will travel through the fallopian tube and eventually implants in the endometrium. If it is not fertilized, the egg will disintegrate and be shed together with the uterine lining as menstruation.
The time after your teenage years and before perimenopause (usually in your 40s), the luteal phase is mostly predictable. Starting from ovulation till the start of menstruation, it usually lasts approximately 13 to 15 days. In this phase, many women experience premenstrual symptoms such as feeling tense, constantly angry, or emotional. Other symptoms include water retention, bloating, tender breasts, acne, and cramps in the lower abdomen, lower back, or legs. There may also be lower energy levels, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or dizziness. If the premenstrual symptoms are severe and start to affect your daily life, you are experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
What Is The Fertility Window
It is important to know when ovulation happens if you are trying to conceive as the best time to conceive is quite short and only occurs once every month. This time is also known as the “fertility window”. The “fertility window” is approximately five days before ovulation and the day you ovulate, a total of six days. It reflects the maximal lifespan of a sperm in a woman (5 days) and the lifespan of the egg (24 hours). The chances of conception increase dramatically if intercourse occurs in the three days that leads up to ovulation. If intercourse occurs six or more days before ovulation, the chances of conception is near zero. After ovulation, the woman is no longer able to conceive until the next cycle begins. One of the easiest ways to ensure your optimal chances of conception is to have intercourse at least every two to three days.
How Do I Know When I’m Ovulating?
To increase your best chances of conception, it is important to know when you ovulate. This can be done by knowing how long your cycles typically are and the physical changes that occur to help you determine when you ovulate. Your menstrual cycle begins from the first day of menstruation to the next first day of menstruation. The average cycle is about 28 days with ovulation happening on day 14. This makes your best chance of conception between day 11 to day 14. However, some women may have a shorter or longer cycle. If you have a shorter cycle, ovulation will start earlier while in a longer cycle, ovulation happens later. This is why it is important to track your cycle to know what is considered to be “normal” for you. It may also be beneficial for you to observe your own body. The cervical mucus changes to an egg like consistency several days before ovulation making it perfect for sperm to swim in. The cervical mucus changes are an early and useful clue to when ovulation may be approaching. Another method of predicting your ovulation is to use an ovulation predictor kit that is easily available at any pharmacy. If the test is positive, you can expect ovulation within 24 to 36 hours.
Morning Sex or Afternoon Sex or Evening Sex For Conception
Chronobiologists are people who specialize in examining the cyclic phenomena in living organisms and how it adapts to solar and lunar rhythms. In other words, they specialize in biological rhythms. These professionals believe that different parts of our days are suited for different activities. Our daily rhythm is regulated by our hypothalamus. Some of the body functions that the hypothalamus is responsible for include:
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Production of hormones
- Sex drive
There are two factors that help establish our internal daily rhythm: light and temperature. Throughout the day, the body responds with different energy levels. With the addition of knowing your time of ovulation that occurs each month, it can also be helpful to know when it is best to have intercourse that increases your chances of conception. Researchers in the University of Modena in Italy found that there is an increase in the quantity and mobility of sperm in men every late afternoon. They have discovered that the average man is 35% more potent between 5pm to 5.30pm compared to 7am. This means that the average man will have more sperm in the late afternoon compared to the morning.
Most women also mostly ovulate in the evening. With these two facts in mind, there is a great window of opportunity between the afternoon and early evening. Other times in the day that may also help increase your chances of conception are:
- 6am to 9am is the time when men’s testosterone levels peak
- 10pm to 1am is the time when most libidos peak
Conclusion About Best Time Of Day To Conceive
While timing is crucial in increasing your chances of conception, it is also important to remember that one of the most important factor is having a healthy lifestyle. This includes reducing your alcohol consumption, quit smoking, exercise regularly, stop using recreational drugs, having a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. All these factors can improve the quality of the egg or sperm. Try not to stress out or have too much pressure on conceiving as higher stress levels lower your sex drive. The best thing to do is to have intercourse regularly, either every other day or every two to three days!