Not necessarily. In most cases, if you have a period, this means you’ve ovulated, meaning you’ve released an egg that can be fertilised. However, figuring out the best time to conceive can be tricky when your period is irregular.
In a typical 28-day cycle, ovulation should occur around day 14. For the best chance of conception, it is recommended that people have sex every other day between day 10 and 16 of your cycle to make sure you’re in the window of ovulation.
If you have an irregular cycle, this timing will vary, making it difficult to predict the best window to have sex in. In these cases, it can help to watch for ovulation clues such egg white discharge (a fluid that has an egg white tint to it) or you can use ovulation testing sticks.
If you have very infrequent periods (every two months or longer), it can be difficult to know whether you are ovulating or not. In a regular cycle, ovulation causes a shift in your hormones that leads to a period roughly two weeks later. When ovulation doesn’t occur, this hormonal shift doesn’t take place. Instead, your hormone levels slowly decline until the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) isn’t supported and eventually a bleed occurs as a result. Typically, the bleed is longer than a normal period and can also be heavier.
As mentioned above, if you have an irregular cycle and are trying to conceive, speak with your GP or gynaecologist. Conditions such as PCOS can cause irregular cycles and, as a result, can affect fertility.
Remember, ovulation isn’t the only factor affecting fertility; male factors also play a significant part as well.