When Did I Get Pregnant or Conceive?
When Did I Conceive?
What Day Did I Get Pregnant?
Many women, upon finding out that they are pregnant, try to figure out the exact day the pregnancy began. This happens for several reasons: curiosity, due date estimation, or paternity issues.
No matter what the reason, finding out the exact day that pregnancy began can be tricky. Here's how to find out around what day you became pregnant by reviewing the process of ovulation, conception, and implantation.
Do You Track Your Monthy Cycles?
Do you track your menstrual cycles?
- Am I Pregnant? - How to Tell if you Are Pregnant
Think you may be pregnant? Learn about pregnancy symptoms and early pregnancy signs that you may be experiencing.
Average Menstrual Cycle
An average menstrual cycle, the monthly cycle experienced by women, usually lasts anywhere from 26-28 days in length. During this time, a few things occur:
- Days 1-5: a period, when the uterine lining is shed if there is no pregnancy
- Days 10-14: fertile time, or ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovaries
- Days 15-28: time for implantation, or the luteal phase, when the body waits to see if a pregnancy will implant in the uterus
This is an average cycle for many women. For those with irregular cycles, there's no real way of predicting when ovulation occurs without some type of hormone testing, which can be done with an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit or blood test.
Tracking Your Cycle
When Will I Ovulate?
Ovulation, the process of releasing the egg into the fallopian tubes inside a woman's reproductive tract, usually occurs in the middle of a woman's monthly cycle. For most, it occurs 10-14 days into the cycle.
How do you figure out ovulation?
Let's say you have a period starting on January 1st, and it lasts until January 5th. The first day of your cycle would be January 1st. To find out when you may ovulate, you need to count 10-14 days after that first day, which would be around January 10th-14th. Therefore, your most fertile days would be around the 10th of January to about the 14th.
Here's another example:
Let's say you have a period from June 28th until July 2nd. Since June 28th is the first day of your cycle, ten days after that would be around July 8th-July 12th, which is when you'd be most fertile and more likely to conceive.
Note: Using dates like this is just an estimation. On average, many women ovulate around these days. Those with irregular periods or who do not ovulate all of the time may not be able to rely on this method.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
Using dates to determine ovulation is just an estimation. If you want a more reliable method, try using an ovulation predictor kit, especially if you are trying to conceive.
Symptoms During Ovulation
Symptoms of Ovulation
change in cervical fluid
change in basal body temperature
change in texture and position of cervix
When Did I Ovulate?
Unless you have taken some sort of hormone test to determine the possibility of ovulation, there's no real way of knowing when you would exactly ovulate. Some women do experience symptoms of ovulation, but most do not and can only make a guess as to when it could occur.
This is why women with regular cycles use the estimation of ovulation happening within the 10th-14th days of their cycle. The exact moment of ovulation is still not quite possible to pinpoint, but based on cycle regularity and monitoring of some of the common symptoms, it can be estimated when you may be ovulating.
How Does Conception Occur?
If a woman has intercourse during her ovulation or fertile time, she may be able to conceive. Conception is the process that begins when an egg and sperm meet inside one of a woman's fallopian tubes within 24 hours of ovulation. If a sperm is able to burrow into the egg, the egg then becomes hardened so no other sperm can get in and begins to make its way down to the uterus where it can implant and continue growing.
How Did I Get Pregnant?
How Long Do Sperm Live?
Sperm can live for a few days after intercourse inside of a woman's body, some generally around upwards of five days. In some rare cases and with perfect conditions, some sperm may even live up to seven days after intercourse!
Strong, healthy sperm can reach a woman's fallopian tubes in as little as 30 minutes, while it may take some others days. If an egg is there within the 30 minutes, conception can occur right then. If the egg is not there yet, the sperm can live a few days in the fallopian tubes until the egg is released.
When Does Conception Occur?
The exact moment of conception is debatable, but it begins when a sperm burrows into the egg within 24 hours after ovulation. Some say conception is right at the moment when sperm meets egg; others say it is when the combination of sperm and egg implant into the uterus.
When does it actually happen? This is where it gets tricky. Let's say you ovulate on day 10 of your cycle. The egg comes out of the ovaries and is waiting for 24 hours in your fallopian tube. There's two possibilities of what could occur:
- Sperm from intercourse 3-5 days ago can meet it there in the fallopian tube and fertilize the egg right then.
- Sperm from intercourse that day or the day after can meet it in the fallopian tube and fertilize the egg.
If you have intercourse during day 7 of your cycle and you ovulate on day 10, it's possible that conception can begin on day 10 or 11, depending on how quickly the sperm find the egg. Yet, if you have intercourse on day 10 or your cycle, the same day you ovulate, conception can begin that day or the 11th day.
Am I Pregnant?
When Does Implantation Occur After Ovulation?
Once sperm and egg have met and the egg is fertilized, it becomes a tiny ball of cells and travels down into the uterus. If it is a viable pregnancy, meaning that the ball of cells is growing normally, it will try to implant or burrow into the lining of the uterus where it can grow into a baby.
This process of implantation can happen about 7-10 days after ovulation, more or less. If you ovulate on Day 10 of your cycle, implantation could occur anywhere from Days 17-20 of your cycle. Basically, it happens about a week before your next expected period.
Most women do not realize that implantation has occurred, but some women do experience some symptoms:
- Implantation bleeding, which is spotting of brownish, pinkish, or reddish color lighter than that of period bleeding
- Slight cramping
Once implantation has occurred, the embryo (what the ball of cells has become) continues to grow and develop. This triggers a hormonal response from the body which tells the body not to shed the uterine lining in the period. The hormone responsible for this is human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. It is the same hormone that is used by home pregnancy tests to indicate a pregnancy.
- To find out when you can take a pregnancy test to determine pregnancy, visit How Early Can I Take a Pregnancy Test.
- To learn more about faint positives on a pregnancy test, visit What Does It Mean When The Line Doesn't Get Darker On A Pregnancy Test?
When is My Due Date?
Estimated Due Date
When you get a positive pregnancy test, the first thing you'll want to find out is when the baby is due to arrive. On average, a baby arrives 40 weeks after the last menstrual period of a woman, which is how most doctors and health care professionals date a pregnancy.
Why do they use the last period to date a pregnancy? Since it is nearly impossible to know the exact date of conception, it is more reliable to count from the last period since the gestational period of a human being is roughly 40 weeks from the last period. Does that mean you'll deliver in 40 weeks from your last period? No. A baby can be delivered and survive any time from the 22nd week of pregnancy to the 41st week. Of course, the further along the pregnancy is, the better off the baby will be in chances of survival without medical intervention.
Example: If your last period was June 28th, your estimated due date is April 4th. Does that mean you conceived on the 28th? No; conception most likely occurred during the days of July 8th-July 12th from any intercourse that happened in the days before or right after those days.
Very few women actually deliver on their due dates. The due date is an estimation of when the baby could come. The baby and your body actually decides when the time is right for the baby to be completed with development and to be delivered.
- Question: If your due date is April 4th but you deliver on March 28th, does that change the conception date?
- Answer: No. Your conception date basically remains the same. It just means that your baby was ready to enter the world a few days sooner than expected!
Estimate Due Date
- Pregnancy Due Date Calculator | BabyMed.com
This pregnancy due date calculator will calculate your baby's due date based on your last menstrual period.
Within the first two months of pregnancy a woman will have her first ultrasound scan. Most of the time this is done to determine the due date, but sometimes it is done just to make sure the pregnancy is progressing normally.
From the scan, doctors can determine an estimated due date and a possible conception date. These dated are based on the measurements of the baby and of the uterus and how they correspond to average measurements.
Sometimes, the dates given from this scan can be off by a few days. For instance, a woman may think she is about 12 weeks and 3 days pregnant with a due date of August 10th and a conception date of November 17th, but her scan says she is about 13 weeks pregnant with a due date of August 6th with a conception date of November 13th. Does it change anything? Not at all. It just means that the measurements from the scan correspond to someone who is 13 weeks pregnant, and the dates are estimated based on that.
Scans given early in pregnancy are known to be off a few days, but later on in the pregnancy, the scans tend to be right on target. The only time a scan would indicate you were further along in pregnancy during late pregnancy is when the baby is larger than expected, either due to genes or macrosomia (a condition where the baby grows to be large, sometimes due to gestational diabetes).
Just like basing your due date from your last period is an estimate, an ultrasound scan gives fairly accurate estimates as well as to when your baby is due and when he or she was conceived.
Who is the Father of My Baby?
If you have been with more than one man during your cycle, you may be wondering: who is the father of my baby?
You can use your dates to try to figure it out, of course, but your best chance at knowing without a doubt who the father is would be to have a paternity test done once the baby is born.
If you would like to try to figure it out and you have regular cycles, here's how:
- Using a calendar, mark your last period on the calendar and figure out your possible dates of ovulation (use the information above). Mark your possible days of ovulation with an 'O'.
- Think of each time you were with someone. Using #1 and #2 (and so on), mark each encounter on your calendar.
- Notice when you were with each person. Did being with either man fall within your ovulation dates?
Once you have your calendar marked, it's time to analyze. Start with the first man. Were you with him any time leading up to ovulation or during ovulation? If so, he could be the father. Same thing with the second man, and so on.
Look at the following scenarios. and see if any apply to you.
Scenario 1: You were with Guy #1 on June 20th. You got your period around June 28th. You then were with Guy #2 from July 1st-3rd, and July 11th-13th.
Who is the father? Guy #2 would be the father since you had a period after Guy #1. Also, you were with Guy #2 during your fertile time.
Scenario 2: You have your period June 28th. You were with Guy #1 on June 29th, July 3rd, and July 5th. You were with Guy #2 on July 7th-11th.
Who is the father? Guy #2 is most likely the father since you were with him closest to your fertile time. If for some reason, however, you ovulated sooner than the 10th of July, there's potential that Guy #2 could be the father since his sperm may have lived from the 5th-10th. In this case, I suggest a paternity test so there aren't any doubts.
Scenario #3: You have your period on June 28th. You were with Guy # 1 on the 10th of July, and you were with Guy #2 on the 12th of July.
Who is the father? There's no way to know without a paternity test. Since you were with both men so close together, it's possible that both of their sperm were in you when you ovulated and either one could be the father.
Again, a paternity test would would be the sure way of knowing who the father of your baby could be. Once the baby is born, the test can be done and no one will have second guesses.
Paternity Test While Pregnant
While it is possible to determine paternity during pregnancy, the tests aren't recommended for basic cases. Why? Prenatal paternity tests can be invasive tests, meaning that a needle needs to be placed into the mother's abdomen and into the space where the baby is growing.
Paternity can be determined using amniocentesis where amniotic fluid is drawn through a needle, or chorionic villi sampling where tiny pieces of the chorionic villi found on the lining of the uterus are removed using a thin tube or a needle. Both carry slight possibilities of miscarriage, which is why they are not recommended for paternity testing alone.
There is a method to try to find the DNA of the baby in the mother's bloodstream during pregnancy, but this method is not 100% reliable.
For more information, visit the American Pregnancy Association website.
Date of Conception
Your date of conception, or the date of when you became pregnant, is an estimated date that can be figured out using the date of your last period. By knowing more about ovulation, conception, and implantation, it's easy to see how the date of conception is an estimated date since it's nearly impossible to pinpoint any of the three times in your cycle.
Even though it's an estimated date, knowing when you may have conceived can help with figuring out due dates and other pregnancy-related issues.
Best wishes with your pregnancy!
Please note I am not a medical expert and can only give educated answers to any questions you have. Please seek proper advice and treatment from your doctor.