Trying to conceive
Remember those days when you weren’t trying to get pregnant. The days when you didn’t have a clue where you were in your cycle and you had sex whenever you felt like it. Back then the arrival of your period was met with complete surprise – oh, is it that time already?
When you’re trying to conceive it’s a very different story. You suddenly become an expert on the process. You analyse, you research, and you start talking in a new language that makes your partners’ eyes glaze over. Not exactly an aphrodisiac!
But many of my clients tell me they really struggle to work out exactly when they ovulate and they don’t know their ‘fertile window’ of opportunity.
Your fertile window
So when is a typical fertile window and how do you find it?
On a standard 28 day cycle (does anyone really have one of those?) the days are broken down like this…
- Day 1 is when you start your period. It typically lasts 5 days but could be longer or shorter. The bleeding comes from the uterus shedding the lining that has built up at the end of your last cycle.
- Days 1-14 is when the follicles in your ovaries start to grow, ready for ovulation, and your lining starts to thicken again after your period. This is the phase that can vary hugely in women.
- Day 14 is typically when you ovulate. An egg is released from one of the growing follicles and it starts to travel down to the uterus. The 3-5 days leading up to ovulation is your fertile window. Hurrah!
- Day 14-28 is when the lining continues to thicken, ready to home a fertilised egg. If the egg isn’t fertilised the whole thing starts again.
So if your cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days how on earth can you find your fertile window? Here are my top tips…
FERTILITY TOP TIPS
1. Tracking your cycle
This is so important. Make a note in your diary every month of when you start your period, when you think you ovulate and when you come on again. Write down any symptoms you notice at different times of the month.
Looking back at this information over a few months will help you to see patterns.
2. Use Ovulation Sticks
If you have a very irregular cycle these will really help you. The tests detect the surge of LH hormone that occurs 12-36 hours before you ovulate. Once you get a positive test it’s time to get going with the sex! Sometimes this surge can last for a day or two, or sometimes only a few hours, and not always in the morning. So it’s best to do 2 tests a day leading up to ovulation. If you think you will be ovulating soon don’t wait for the test result to have sex – sperm can survive for up to 5 days after all.
3. Look for physical signs of ovulation
These are things you probably wouldn’t have noticed back in the day! I always had cramping pains the day of ovulation. Your mucus will be thinner and stretchier in the few days before, kind of like egg white. Your tummy might bloat, and you might you actually feel like having sex! The signs are subtle but very helpful.
4. Take your temperature
This isn’t very helpful for predicting ovulation but it can confirm it has taken place. Take your temperate first thing in the morning before you get out of bed for the few days leading up to ovulation. Once you have ovulated you will notice a slight rise in the temperate. Make a note and look back at your diary dates to confirm a pattern.
5. Work back 2 weeks from the date your period starts.
I remember reading this fact and it is hugely helpful. The period of time between ovulation and your period is nearly always set at 14/15 days. It’s the first part of the month that varies hugely with women. So if you don’t ovulate until day 20 you should still get your period 2 weeks later. Once you have started your period, look back 2 weeks to see what date that was and if you had any other symptoms.
Good luck! It’s not an easy journey and it does take its toll emotionally. Hoping these tips will help you…
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