If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than 1 year, then you should consult a doctor.
Otherwise, with patience, you have a 90% chance of getting pregnant after trying for 12 straight months.
The calendar method works but is not the most efficient way to determine optimal time for intercourse because the first half of your period (egg development) can change from month to month. You can use ovulation detection kits, but they can be expensive. (Remember though, babies are even more expensive).
Some things to consider:
You must be able to answer the two following questions:
1. Do your periods usually come about one month apart?
2. Do your periods usually come when you expect them?
Only if both are yes should you proceed to trying timing for pregnancy. The reason is that the only part of the cycle that is the same is the period between ovulating and the start of your cycle. From the point of your cycle to your ovulation (follicle formation stage) is variable and can change from month to month.
To make your planning more effective, consider adding the 2 day method. While not as effective as ovulation detection kits, it is much easier to use. The method is based on using cervical secretions (you will notice that at certain times during the month, before ovulation, you will have a clear, odor-less, sticky discharge on your labia. You simply start having sex on any days that you note the secretions. This is a simpler approach.
If you are comfortable using the calendar method, I recommend to simply add the 2 day method as a simple protection. If you think you are ovulation on a certain day, and notice the cervical mucus, then start having intercourse every 48 hours for one and still use the calendar method. This should increase those rare times when your period comes on sooner than it should have, which means you ovulated earlier than you predicted.
Carlos I. Gabriel, MD
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