INCREASE CHANCES OF GETTING PREGNANT
Did you know that if you have a normal 28 day menstrual cycle, you only have 12 to 14 fertile days per year? And even on your fertile days, you have only 4 to 12 hours after ovulation (when a mature egg is released) to get pregnant.
Since the window for conception is so small, if you wait to have sex until the day you ovulate, it’s probably too late!Â The freshly released egg should find sperm already waiting in your fallopian tubes.
In order to get pregnant faster, it is very important to know when you ovulate.Â If you can accurately predict your ovulation, you can insure that sperm are there to meet the egg when it’s released.
Sperm cells can live for 3 to 5 days in your fallopian tubes, but as with many things in life, the fresher the better. You’ll have the best chance to get pregnant if you are having sex every day or every other day for the week leading up to and a few days after your expected date of ovulation.
WHEN DO YOU OVULATE?
Your menstrual cycle is orchestrated byÂ a complicated symphony of hormones. If you are lucky, your hormones behave themselves and your cycles are regular and predictable. The “typical” woman has a 28 day menstrual cycle. Day 1 is the first day her period starts and day 28 is the last day before her next period begins.Â She is most likely to ovulate half way through her cycle, on day 14.
However, very few women and even fewer menstrual cycles are that predictable! Regular menstrual cycles can be longer or shorter and ovulation can occur anytime “in the middle” of a cycle, which is nebulous, to say the least.
There are several ways to find out when you are ovulating, some more reliable then others. The most accurate way is to detect your lh surge with an ovulation predictor kit.Â These kits work by measuring a hormone called LH (luteinizing hormone) in your urine, which “surges” when you are ovulating.Â You may find it helpful to useÂ ovulation predictor strips for a few months to find out which day in your cycle you typically ovulate.
Don’t be surprised, however, if it’s not the same day each month! Your hormonal balance can be disrupted by illness, stress, or natural variation and this can change your ovulation day. Even the most accurate methods are just a “best guess”.Â Again, the fastest way to get pregnant is to keep a fresh supply of sperm cells waiting for the egg.
HOW LONG DO YOU OVULATE?
Once the egg leaves your ovaries, it can survive only 12 to 24 hours, so it’s very important toÂ recognize your most fertile daysÂ in orderÂ get pregnant quickly. Â If you don’t know when you are most fertile, you may not time efforts to get pregnant correctly!
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OVULATION
Your body can also give you clues about your ovulation day. One of the easiest natural ways to monitor your most fertile days is to track your cervical mucus (also called cervical fluid or abbreviated CM). Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by your body that facilitates conception by aiding the sperm on their journey to your egg.Â The fluid changes in amount and consistency in harmony with your menstrual cycle.
- During your period, cervical mucus is absent or nearly absent.
- Following your period, your body begins to prepare for ovulation. Cervical mucus becomes more apparent in your vagina. It may be clear or slightly cloudy, sticky and thick, with a consistency like rubber cement.
- As ovulation draws near, the cervical mucus thins and becomes wet and creamy.
- When you’re ovulating, your cervical mucus may be extremely plentiful, and is stretchy and clear. It resembles raw egg whites if stretched between your fingers and is thus often referred to as “Egg White Cervical Mucus” (or abbreviated EWCM).
MOST FERTILE DAYS!
- Very quickly following ovulation, after your 4 to 12 hour window of fertility has closed, cervical mucus becomes white and scant or disappears completely.
Your cervix changes position throughout your menstrual cycle.Â By studying your cervical position, you can make a better guess about when you are ovulating and most fertile.
- During your period, your cervixÂ is low, soft, and slightly open.
- When you are ovulating, your cervix is higher, open, and soft.Â This is the cervix position that indicates you are fertile and ready to conceive a baby.
- Â After ovulation is complete and before your next period starts, your cervix becomes low, firm, and closed.
Read more about how to check your cervix position here.
BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE
Another method of knowing when you ovulate is tracking your basal body temperature. Your body temperature rises very slightly after you ovulate. If you monitor your temperature precisely over a period of months, you will probably see a pattern in your basal body temperature around your ovulation day.
To track your basal body temperature, you will need an accurate basal body thermometer. Keep a notepad and the thermometer next to your bed and take your temperature each morning before you get up.
Try to take your temperature reading at the same time each morning and don’t move around too much beforehand as this will artificially raise your temperature.
After completing your menstrual cycle, make a graph of your temperatures throughout the month. If you have ovulated and have accurately recorded your daily basal body temperature, you should see a point at which your temperature raised approximately 0.2 degrees and stayed elevated until your period began. This raise in temperature signals ovulation has occurred.
If you use the basal body temperature method to track your ovulation, don’t wait until the temperature rise to time intercourse. By the time your temperature elevates, ovulation is already over and your window of fertility has probably closed.
If you can pinpoint an average time frame in your cycle that you ovulate (for example, sometime between day 10 and day 16)Â have sex daily or every other day a few days before, during, and after that time frame to have to best chance of getting pregnant. Try our Ovulation Day Calculator to predict when you might ovulate.
Some women feel their ovulation.Â They notice mild abdominal pain and cramping around the time they ovulate.Â This is called Mittelschmerz (German for middle pain) or Middlesmertz and is reported by about 20% of women. Mittelschmerz is probably not a very accurate way to determine your ovulation day, but it is interesting to note.