THERE'S no denying that the journey to parenthood is wildly different for every mother - and while some women get pregnant on their first try, it's not quite as straight-forward for others.

If you're looking to start a family, it's integral to know which days in your cycle will increase your chances of conceiving - here's how you can figure that out.

What are the best days to have sex to get pregnant?

Women are most fertile within a couple of days of ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg, so that's the best time to be getting down and dirty with your partner.

The best days to have sex are the days leading up to and the days after ovulation.

Sperm can live for several days inside the female body, so a few days before your body releases an egg still increases your chances of getting pregnant.

To know when you are ovulating you first need to understand your menstrual cycle.

A woman's cycle lasts for about 28 days, and the first day of your cycle starts on the first day of your last period.


Your period will typically last anywhere between four to seven days and ovulation occurs around day 14 of your cycle.

Most women ovulate between day 11 and 21 of their cycle.

It doesn't always happen on the same day every month, but will still be around the same time frame.

Some women with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome don't release an egg as often, so it's a good idea to speak to your doctor if you've been having a lot of trouble conceiving.

It's these days that are the best days to be having sex, and the good news is the more you do it the better your chances.

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2013 look at data from more than 5,000 women and found their probability of getting pregnant rises sharply seven days after a womna's last period.

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The probability of pregnancy is highest at 15 days and returns to zero by 25 days.

How can you tell if you are ovulating?

There are fertility tests you can take, kind of like a pregnancy test, that test the levels of hormones in your wee to tell you if you are ovulating.

But there are also a few signs your body will give to let you know.

You may experience some light abdominal cramping, similar to period cramps; a clearer discharge kind of like egg white; a small increase in your temperature; and a higher sex drive.

It might be useful to track these signs every month using a calendar so you get to know your cycle better.

It's not completely fool proof but it can help boost your chances of becoming pregnant - but keep in mind the timing of ovulation changes from month to month.

How can you boost your chances of having a baby?

If you're looking to conceive, the time to have sex is a few days before and a few days after ovulation.

The egg released by the ovaries only lasts about 24 hours before it's no longer viable for pregnancy, so make sure you are having sex on all the days you think you could ovulate.

Other ways you can boost your chances of having a baby include have more sex - studies have shown that couples who have regular sex have high pregnancy rates.

You should also keep yourself healthy overall, so that means limiting booze, quitting fags and keeping your weight at a healthy level because those who are overweight or underweight have more irregular ovulation patterns.

The days to avoid if you don't want to get pregnant

So we've talked about the days to have sex if you want to get pregnant, but what if you don't want to get pregnant?

You've probably guessed it already, but you should avoid having sex on the days around ovulation if you aren't using protection.

As a rule, you should be using condoms every time you have sex to avoid nasty sexually transmitted infections.

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Or if you're with a long-term partner and don't use condoms anymore you should still be using some form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.

If you want to chose a more natural form on contraception, like tracking your cycle, there are apps that can do that but fertility awareness-based methods of contraception have a 24 per cent failure rate, according to the Center for Disease Control in America.

If you are following a more natural method, then the days you are least fertile are the days when you are on your period and the days just before and after.

But you should always speak to a doctor before deciding to try any form of contraception.