My mom likes to say, “If everyone waited for the right time to get pregnant, no one would ever have babies.”
It was something I heard a lot during the five years we were saving money and waiting to do IVF. I’d constantly question when the right time would be. Her reassurance was that the best time is the exact one we’d select, because the right time was an illusion.
When push finally came to shove, we opted to do our IVF in July so I wouldn’t be pregnant during the stifling heat of a Kansas summer.
Aside from these personal, arguably superficial planning details, there are some more substantive considerations at play when you’re trying to conceive.
Simply put, the best time to get pregnant is the window closest to when you ovulate. But any woman trying to track that knows it can be easier said than done.
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It’s recommended to have sex on the day or two before and after ovulation, as well as on the day of ovulation. This increases the likelihood of a healthy supply of sperm waiting the egg’s arrival in the fallopian tube, as sperm can live up to five days. An egg survives up to 24 hours, according to BabyCenter.com.
What about which month your baby is born? In a 2013 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified that conception during certain months delivers healthier babies. According to this study, May is the most unfavorable time to get pregnant. As Science Magazine revealed from the study, “Babies conceived this month (and thus delivered in winter) were 13% more likely to be born premature, and their gestation time was almost a week below the average.” Prematurity can, of course, bring about a host of minor and major health concerns. Summer months were identified as the most ideal for conception. “Mothers who conceived from June through August gained more weight during their pregnancies and gave birth to infants who were, on average, about 8 grams heavier than in other months.”
Dr. Don Aptekar said that without good cause and effect, this study merely suggests an interesting association with lots of variables. In other words, there are way too many factors (one of which all the data was taken from people that live in New York City) to concern yourself with getting pregnant in a certain month. It certainly shouldn't be taken as gospel.
So when is the best time to get pregnant? If you heed my own mother’s warning, it’s the moment it happens. If you’re more concerned with just getting the deed done, keep close tabs on your ovulation and get it on!