Video: When are you most likely to get pregnant?

Some couples plan for pregnancy years in advance, while for others it's more of a spur of the moment decision. We've asked some of our experts some of the most common questions about becoming pregnant.


Am I Pregnant?

Take our simple quiz leading you through some of the telltale signs of pregnancy.

Take the Test

When are you most likely to get pregnant?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clincal Director of

It’s not as easy as you might think to find out exactly when you most likely to get pregnant because you don’t always ovulate 14 days after your last period. You ovulate 14 days before the first day of your next period. If your cycle is regular 28 days, that means two weeks from the first day of your cycle, is when you will be most fertile but if your cycle is 5 weeks then it will be 3 weeks from the first day.

Your partner’s sperm can survive from 3 to possibly 5 days and your egg can survive for about 1 day. That means your most fertile period is from 3 to 5 days before you ovulate until about 1 day afterwards. If your cycle is really regular, just count back 14 days from the first day of your period and you know when is your most fertile day.

How many days do you have to get pregnant?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clincal Director of

Your fertile window, as it were, is really depends on how regular your periods are. So, if your periods are completely regular, at say 28 days, then your fertile period will be a period of 4 to 6 days from 3 to 5 days before you ovulate until 1 day afterwards. However, if your periods are irregular, then off course you could be ovulating any time from say 2 to 3 weeks after your last period. If your cycle is 4 to 5 weeks, you will always ovulate 14 days before your next period.

That does mean that you are less likely to get pregnant on any one day but it does also mean that you have a longer period in which you need to be having sex regularly, ideally every 3 days, if you want to get pregnant.

How soon should you take a pregnancy test?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

There are some differences between pregnancy tests so it’s worth checking with your pharmacist first. But as a rule of thumb, pretty much all pregnancy tests rely on typical beta-HCG. This is a hormone that’s produced by your placenta and is passed out in your urine.

The levels usually have increased enough to be detected by about 10 days after the egg has been fertilised. That's usually about 4 days before your period is due. They are not 100% reliable, so if you do do a pregnancy test at that stage and it’s not positive don’t assume that you are not pregnant, try again few days later.

How can I get pregnant with a baby girl?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

I can give you a guaranteed way to have a 50% chance of having a baby girl and that is to have unprotected sex regularly but I am afraid that’s about as far as it goes. The simple matter of fact is whether you have a baby girl or a baby boy, doesn’t depend on you at all. It depends on your partner because you have two X chromosomes.

Every time you produce an egg, you give X chromosomes. Your partner has one X and one Y so half his sperm will have X and X and X means a girl and half his sperm will have Y. Your X and his Y means a boy. There are so many myths about how you can increase the chance of that X chromosomes getting the upper hand but unfortunately it really is all down to luck.

How should you tell your partner you are pregnant?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

If you both have been trying for pregnancy for several months, and it does take the average couple about six months, and then of course you may be bowled over, really keen to tell your partner as soon as possible. It is important to know that you are pregnant. If you do a pregnancy test and it’s negative that may be a false negative, you could still be pregnant. If you do it and its positive then yes, you are pregnant.

You certainly wouldn’t want to tell the whole world that you are pregnant until say after your 12-13 weeks scan because until that chance that time there is a chance of miscarriage but that risk drops dramatically. But clearly, you are highly likely to want to tell your partner before then. Do take it gently, even if they have been really keen about the idea, they may suddenly go very quiet. This is an awful lot to get used to, it’s going to be a big change in both your lives. So, take it gently. Find some time to relax and talk about how you feel. It should be just great.

How do you tell your boss you’re pregnant?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

Diplomatically, I would suggest!

Now your boss may be incredibly supportive and absolutely thrilled for you. But you do just want to be aware that before you start telling your boss or your wider family, you want to make sure you are in the best position not to have to get some bad news later. And it usually means waiting until the end of the first trimester till you are about 13 weeks or 3 months pregnant. That’s about the time you have your scan.

At the end of three months and after you have had your scan, if all is well then there is a much better chance that you are not going to have a miscarriage and that the pregnancy will be successful. Now you might also want to know what your maternity allowances are and what your contract says before you inform your boss, but don’t forget, if your boss doesn’t seem absolutely thrilled when you let him or her know, that may simply be that you are such a valuable member of the team, they need a little bit of time to get their head around how they are going to manage without you.