If you are trying to get pregnant (or trying to avoid it) you should know when you ovulate. Ovulation is the time of the month when your body releases an egg for fertilization—if an egg is fertilized it will implant in the lining of your uterus and you will be pregnant. If an egg is not fertilized, the egg passes from the body with your period, and the cycle starts all over again. Not every woman has a clear indication when her fertile days are near, but it’s not impossible to figure it out. Here are a few tips to help you know when you are in your most fertile days.
- Track your periods. In order to determine when you ovulate, you need to find out exactly how long your periods are on average. While it can vary by a few days from month to month, most women fall between 28 and 35 days or so. The first day of your period is day 1. Start counting days until your period starts again the next month and that’s how long your cycle is. To get a good idea of your period’s schedule, track about three months or so.
- Estimate when you ovulate. To estimate when you ovulate (oops—that rhymed!) you’ll need to count back 14 days before your period started. Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before you get your period, but it isn’t always exact. An egg may be released on the 12th day, or the 15th day so sticking with the 14th day is close, but may not always put you right on your target. If you have regular periods, counting back and then planning for next month should give you a pretty good idea of when to try, or when to avoid sex.
- Watch your body. Your body can show you signs of ovulation. Some women check their temperature every morning before getting out of bed. Most women have a temperature increase of about a half of a degree within 24 to 48 hours of ovulation. This method isn’t perfect—there are plenty of factors that can affect your temp and you’ll need to track it for several months to detect your pattern. If you do find your fertile days, you haven’t missed your window of opportunity. Your egg can be fertilized up to three days after being released from the ovary, so you still have time to try. Changes in mucus can also signal that you may be ovulating. Now don’t make that face. What mucus? The mucus that comes out of your vagina, also called your vaginal discharge. When you ovulate, you may notice that your body produces a wet, slimy discharge that is very stretchy and goopy. If you see this, there’s a good change you are ovulating.
- Pick up a prediction kit. For those of you who are completely uninterested in guesswork, you can go down to the drug store and pick up an ovulation predictor kit. These kits work much like a pregnancy test; you pee on the stick and it will show a symbol, line, or mark if you are in your fertile days. You will probably need to pee on a stick for several days in a row to find your most fertile time.
Are you trying to get pregnant? If you want to start a family and are having trouble finding your fertile days, or are interested in birth control options to avoid it, come see Dr. Hessel today. An established and certified OB/GYN serving the Forrest Hills, New York area, she’s here to help you meet your pregnancy goals—whatever they are. Make your appointment today.