WHAT IS OVULATION?
Ovulation is the monthly release of a mature egg from the ovary. After an egg is released, it travels through the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized by sperm. This is your window of opportunity!
Miscalculating ovulation is one of the most common mistakes couples make when trying to conceive.
WHY KNOWING YOUR CYCLE IS IMPORTANT
Being familiar with your menstrual cycle is an important step toward conception. If you know when you are ovulating, you and your partner can have sex when an egg is released and available to be fertilized.
THE BEST TIME TO TRY
Surprisingly, your fertile days are five days before to two days after ovulation. Here’s why—sperm can survive in the fallopian tubes for four to five days. So, trying up to five days in advance potentially increases your chances of conception. The hope is that when you ovulate, the sperm will be there, waiting and ready.
The egg, if unfertilized, only lives one to two days after ovulation. So you have up to two days after ovulation to give conception a try.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHEN YOU OVULATE
- Determine the length of your cycle
- This is measured by counting from the first day you begin your period to the first day you begin your period the following month.
- Note: Women’s cycles can be different lengths. The average cycle is 28 days.
- Subtract 14 from the total number of days in your cycle. This is the day you will ovulate.
- For example, if your cycle is 32 days long, you will most likely ovulate on day 18.
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF OVULATION
Some women experience no symptoms of ovulation at all, while others will experience some of the following:
- Cervical mucus—just days before ovulation occurs, cervical mucus will often resemble raw egg whites. You may observe this kind of discharge in your underwear or when you wipe while using the restroom.
- Basal body temperature—This is a measurement of the lowest reading when your body is at rest. Your basal temperature will increase by 0.4 degrees after ovulation. You can purchase a special basal temp thermometer to measure, but you will have to take your temperature every morning at the same time.
- Cervical firmness—You will notice a change in the position of your cervix. Consult your doctor to determine how to detect these changes.
- Breast tenderness
- Light spotting
- Increased sex drive
- Heightened sense of smell, taste or vision
TAKE FOLIC ACID
In addition to knowing and understanding your ovulation cycle, women who are trying to conceive should take folic acid regularly. The March of Dimes suggests that women who are trying to conceive should take a multivitamin that provides 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid helps encourage the development of a healthy fetus.