Ovulation: Tips For Getting Pregnant

What is ovulation?

Each month an egg matures inside your ovary. When it's ready it is released from the ovary and is carried through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.  When the ovary releases the egg (and sometimes more than one egg), it is the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle.

Ovulation is the part of your cycle that your chances of getting pregnant are highest. By learning to understand your menstrual cycle and the signs of ovulation, you will increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Your fertile period starts 4-5 days before you ovulate and ends 24-48 hours afterwards.

How do I know when I am ovulating?

For women with a 28 day cycle, around the 14th day is usually when ovulation occurs. For those many women who don't have such regular cycles, other signs are needed to help them calculate ovulation.  The best way to know your most fertile time is by paying attention to your body, and learning to predict that ovulation is about to happen.

What are the signs of ovulation?

Cervical mucus During your cycle the consistency of your cervical mucus changes. This reflects the rising levels of estrogen in your cycle. Your mucus starts out as dry but as you approach ovulation it becomes clear, stretchy and more slippery. The mucus at this stage is often compared to egg whites. Basal body temperature:Following ovulation your temperature increases slightly (by 0.4-1 degrees). Using a basal body thermometer, which is more sensitive than a regular one, you can record your temperature every day. Basal body temperatures should be taken first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Keeping a chart of your basal body temperature will show you a rise in temperature only after ovulation has occurred. It takes several months until you can predict ovulation using this method.

Fertility charts: This is a really useful way to track your cycle. There are many internet sites that offer charts that you can use to fill in information about your cycle and help you determine your most fertile time. You plot information such as length of cycle, date of last period, basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes  to help you predict ovulation.

Ovulation kits: For women with irregular cycles, ovulation kits are a popular method of predicting ovulation. They work by detecting surges in the luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine just before ovulation. Available at drugstores, they are easy to use and can predict ovulation 12 to 36 hours in advance.

About 85% of women who have sexual intercourse without birth control will be pregnant within the first year. Understanding your cycle and timing intercourse with your days of ovulation will help you maximise your fertility.

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