It doesn't matter how much sex you have, if you aren't doing it at the right time of the month it will not increase your chances of conceiving. The simple fact is that you need to time it just right to ensure that sperm meets egg, and fertilisation occurs. This is where the question of your ovulation time comes in.
With plenty of ovulation tests out there to confirm your ovulation period more precisely, there are a number of ways for you to track this period yourself. Familiarising yourself with how your body works is a great way to stay on top of when it is best to conceive.
Most women ovulate with a menstrual cycle of 26-30 days ovulate between days 12-16 of their cycle. This would be appropriate to those who have a textbook menstrual cycle. However, ovulation can occur between day 11 and 21 during your cycle, if you have a shorter or longer cycles.
Tracking your cycle can come in handy to monitor when you are most fertile. Tracking your cycle can be most beneficial to women who experience irregular periods. It will help you establish a pattern and determine when your body is most able to conceive.
Menstrual charting is an effective and cheap way to monitor your cycle. Make sure to note any symptoms and signs that your body is presenting throughout your cycle. This way you can touch on certain symptoms that your body produces when ovulating. You will also be able to monitor what is normal for your body and what is not if you ever need to raise it with your doctor.
Tracking and charting what is called your body basal temperature (BBT), is another natural way of predicting when you're likely to ovulate. Your BBT is your body's temperature when it's at rest, and it tends to rise slightly (by around 0.2 °C) just before you ovulate, and stays slightly raised just afterwards.
Progesterone causes the rise in BBT. If it is too high, ovulation may have already occurred. Charting when your temperature rises will help you pinpoint when in the month you tend to ovulate. It will also confirm whether or not you ovulated. The aim is to have plenty of sex in the couple of days leading up to that time since that rise in temperature indicates you have already ovulated.
Cervical mucus is an easy way to determine, if you are ovulating or not. The days leading up to ovulation, your estrogen levels will increase and will affect your cervical mucus. You may notice that your cervical mucus becomes more watery the closer you get to ovulation.
It is important to get to know your cervical mucus to determine when you are ripe for fertilisation. You are most fertile when your cervical mucus resembles egg whites. If you are experiencing dry discharge then you are not in your ovulation period yet.
Tender breasts and sore nipples are common symptoms to a woman’s menstrual cycle. The closer you are to your ovulation period, the more heightened your hormones are. Your body will be experiencing an influx of hormones rushing through the body. These increased hormone levels might even make your breasts tender and slightly sore to touch.
Before ovulation occurs, you may notice an increase in your sex drive. This is your body’s way of telling you that it is getting ready for fertilisation. This is caused by high levels of estrogen.
However, there are a number of things that can influence a woman’s libido. If you have been stressed or have been coming off medications, you may notice an increase in your libido. It is encouraged that women take note of their ovulation period and use this increased libido time to try and conceive.
Pelvic pain, or Mittelschmerz Pain, can be experienced midway through your cycle. This pain is often referred to ovulation pain. This pain is caused by the action of the egg bursting from its follicle on the ovary and the lower abdomen to cramp on one side.
If the pain becomes persistent or unbearable, an anti-inflammatory will help to alleviate any discomfort. However, if the pain becomes a worry, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. Continuous pain can be contributed by endometriosis or ovarian cysts. Endometriosis and ovarian cysts can be the cause of your pelvic pain and irregular spotting.
You may notice a light spotting or brown discharge when you are ovulating. This is completely normal. The light spotting or brown discharge is caused by the growth and rupture of a follicle that surrounds the egg. This follicle rupture causes a small amount of bleeding to occur. The brown colour comes from the blood getting older.
However, if the spotting and discharge continues, it is wise to consult your doctor. Constant spotting and discharge could be signs of an infection or an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are charting your menstrual cycle, it is recommended to take note of your cervical position too. Being able to determine your cervical position can help you figure out if you are ovulating or not.
During ovulation, your cervix will become softer and more open for optimal fertilisation. When you are not ovulating, your cervix sits lower and is harder to touch. You may notice that your cervix is also closed when you are not ovulating. Your obstetrician can help guide you with these changes or you can learn to do it yourself, it is a fairly simple process to follow.
Your body has multiple ways to tell you when it is ovulating. To start off with, it is recommended that women track their cycle to stay on top of when they ovulate.
By doing so, you will be able to notice signs and symptoms that your body is most fertile and when it is most optimal to conceive. For confirmation on if you are ovulating or not, you can always purchase an ovulation kit.
These are cheap to buy and can be fairly accurate in their results.
Dr Beverley (MBChB, MRCGP) is a qualified GP. She works in a GP practice in Manchester and also helps in the out of hours GP service. She has experience in both obstetrics & gynaecology and paediatrics and has three children of her own.
Click here to read more articles by Dr Beverley Sanders
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