Getting Pregnant

Should You Tell Your Partner When You’re Fertile?

Ah, the age old conundrum: when you’re trying to conceive, do you tell your partner when you’re in your fertile window, or leave him in the dark? We polled 152 women in the Ava community about this question. Here’s what we found out:

85 percent of women tell their partners when they’re fertile.

15 percent of women keep it to themselves.

Should you tell your partner or not? Lots of women struggle with this question. Here’s why:

Some couples get lucky and conceive quickly without any special effort. They often have no idea how hard it can be for some couples to get pregnant, even if they have no underlying fertility issues. There are only six days per month when it’s possible to get pregnant, and only three days when it’s likely. And even if you have sex every day of the fertile window, you still have only a 25 percent chance—at best!—of conceiving.

For these reasons, timing intercourse to coincide with your fertile window can dramatically increase your chances of conceiving.  Tracking your cycle is typically something you do on your own (well, unless you’re like one woman we spoke to, whose husband stuck a thermometer in her mouth every morning while she was still sleeping). But actually making a baby? That’s a team effort.

When you first start trying, it’s often really exciting. You and your partner look at each other in a whole new way when you have sex: this could be it! The sex that changes the rest of our entire lives! But if you don’t get pregnant right away, and you start tracking your fertile days, sex can start to feel like a chore. You and your partner might both feel under pressure to perform, and that can take a lot of the fun out of the babymaking process.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your partner to decide what feels best. But here’s what some of the women in our community shared about their decisions:

Women who tell:

Whether I tell him or not, my husband just knows lol. When we have sex he’ll make comments like “your cervix is getting higher, you must be getting fertile.”

I’m taking Clomid to help me ovulate, so I have to tell him when I’m fertile or there’s no point.

I didn’t like telling him when I was fertile, but I wanted him to know. So he downloaded Ava on his phone and checks it multiple times a day! 

I usually tell him because we have to schedule baby dancing

He always knows because sometimes I have to make sure he can work his schedule around being home then. He also loves following my data during the two week wait. He asks to see my Ava chart and checks on my resting pulse rate.

I do tell him, but it makes sex a chore. I tried using a calendar so he’d know without me specifically telling him, but he hated it. He wants me to verbally give him updates on my cycle, which just totally kills it for me. Almost two years in, and we’ve yet to find a notification method that makes us both happy.

I tell him, and it’s funny, it doesn’t kill the mood at all for us. I think he thinks of it kind of like a game…how many times can we BD before our time is up?

He’s gotten more interested in the info recently- at first I think it was overwhelming and unromantic for him but as time has gone on he’s warmed up to all the data and realized that making a baby isn’t as easy as he thought 😉 Now he asks questions and it has really helped our frustration level. We talk about the fertile window and negotiate a schedule… Not sexy, but it is a team effort.

In the beginning, I had this romantic notion in my head about how things would go. We would ‘not try not prevent’ with zero discussion of mucus and I would get to surprise him with some creative reveal. It took some time to let that go and accept that it’s not going to go down that way. Instead it will go something more like, I roll over and plug in my Ava, and he asks what my heart rate is doing, and then I unceremoniously show him the app.

Women who don’t tell:

I only told him one month and it wasn’t fun for either of us so now I keep it to myself.

I don’t tell him. I used to, but it freaked him out and made BDing terrible. He said it was too much pressure on him.

I always want to tell him, because when I’m fertile I feel an urgency to BD. But I get scared that it will freak him out, so instead I just try to be sexy and make him think that I just happen to be in the mood. I feel like he can probably see right through me though. Most of the time, I don’t think he minds because he has a pretty good sex drive anyway, but on the rare occasions when he’s tired or not in the mood, my heart just sinks he can tell that I’m more disappointed than I should be.

I don’t tell him when I’m fertile in the moment, but if our timing was really good, I tell him after!

Lindsay Meisel

Lindsay Meisel is the Head of Content at Ava. She has over a decade of experience writing about science, technology, and health, with a focus on women's health and the menstrual cycle. Her work has been featured on The Fertility Hour, The Birth Hour, The Breakthrough Journal, and The Rumpus.

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