Achieving Pregnancy

Planning a Pregnancy

Successful pre-pregnancy planning is dependent on both the mother and father understanding their fertility and reproductive potential, their health, lifestyle habits, well-being and emotional readiness.  It is important that both learn what is involved to ensure a safe, healthy and comfortable pregnancy.  The most critical organ formation of a growing foetus (baby) occurs in the early weeks of pregnancy.  For most couples, pregnancy is usually confirmed, well after this important development has begun.  By then it may be too late to avoid exposure to potential foetal hazards (workplace), change unhealthy behaviour (smoking), or to improve physical and nutritional health.

Pregnancy begins on the day of conception when the male sperm meets the ripe female egg in the fallopian tube.  Pregnancy can only occur, if intercourse takes place around the time in the menstrual cycle when a woman ovulates and the sperm unite with ovum.   Consult NFS Educators for knowledge about this.

The first sign of pregnancy is usually an overdue period. 

This means that a woman is already two weeks pregnant as this is the average time of the post-ovulatory stage.  Four weeks later, when the period has not come she is already six weeks pregnant.  It is wise to confirm the pregnancy by a doctor's examination at this time.  Pregnancy tests, available at the chemist, can give accurate results but you need to wait at least a week past the date of your expected period so the HCG levels can be detected.  Of course if you were charting with NFP you would be able to confirm this by the extended length of the luteal phase. 

The failure of a period to come on time does not always mean one is pregnant, just as some bleeding, does not automatically mean one is not pregnant.  In exceptional cases pregnant women can have light bleeds for the first month or two.

Becoming pregnant can be easy, but it does not always happen straight away.


Planning A Family

A couple who are planning a pregnancy will find that knowledge of their combined fertility can help them determine the time of conception.  It is important to chart the woman’s fertility symptoms - cervical mucus and basal body temperature - for two or three cycles to become familiar with the fertile phase of the cycle and so optimise their chances of achieving a pregnancy.  

Conception is possible at any time during the fertile phase of the cycle, as the sperm can enter the cervix and survive from 3 to 5 (and sometimes 7) days, awaiting the release of the egg.  The most favourable time for conception is the last day of wet, slippery, stretchy, egg white type fertile mucus, which heralds the release of the egg into the fallopian tube (ovulation).

The lifespan of the egg is from 12 to 24 hours and conception occurs when the sperm unites with the live egg.  


Birth Date & NFP

“A carefully kept temperature chart will give a more proximate date of birth as it has been calculated that 266 days elapse between the date of the rise in temperature and the date of delivery.  The temperature chart can be especially valuable for women who have irregular periods.”  

- Pernoud, 1975:25

A temperature rise beyond 20 days usually confirms a pregnancy.

Gestation period = 265 days, + 7, after Peak mucus.   – (Australian Council of Natural Family Planning)


Learn about your fertility from Natural Fertility Services.


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