Knowing when you are about to release your egg can help decrease stress and increase the effectiveness of trying to conceive. While sperm can survive for up to 6 days in the female body, eggs survive twelve hours. Therefore, most pregnancies occur when sperm are waiting for the egg. While babies have been conceived with acts of intercourse up to 6 days prior to ovulation, the hightest chance of conception is within the two days prior to ovulation. Learning to interpret your body's signals can help you find your fertility.
As the egg approaches ovulation, increasing amounts of estrogen are produced and cervical mucus becomes sticky, or stringy like egg whites. Consistency changes as the water content of the mucus increases, making penetration by sperm easier. Cervical mucus changes can be identified up to 6 days prior to ovulation. Timing intercourse when you notice your cervical mucus changing can be effective in helping you to conceive.
Ovulation Predictor Kits.
OPKs detect luteinizing hormone (LH) or both LH and estradiol. As the egg moves closer to ovulation, estradiol rises. While estradiol rises, LH is released in increasing quantities then drops creating the LH surge that precedes egg release by 24-48 hours. To use an OPK, you urinate on the wick daily and look at the test kit window. With most kits, one line means urine made it into the kit and two lines means LH is detected. Kits that detect both estradiol and LH, read low peak when estradiol only is detected, and high peak when both estradiol and LH is detected. If you are able to detect the surge on the kit, intercourse the day of the surge, and the day after the surge should provide sperm for the arriving egg.
Basal Body Tempteratures
Once the egg is released, progesterone is produced. Progesterone increases body temperature. Therefore, your temperature goes up after ovulation. The best time to take your temperature is before you get out of bed in the morning. If you chart your temperature daily, you should see at least an 0.3 degree rise in the baseline temperature the day after ovulation. Temperature should stay up until shortly before the period. If you have conceived, your temperature will stay up during pregnancy. Unlike cervical mucus changes, and ovulation predictor kits, basal body temperatures do not let you know that you are about to ovulate. Rather they tell you that you have. So if you want to use them to time intercourse, you need to chart for a month to see when you ovulated and then plan to have intercourse in the cycle days prior to the temperature rise during the next month. Since menstrual cycles can be different from month to month, this method can be frustrating to some. Once you have seen that there is a temperature rise and that your temperature stays up for approximately 2 weeks, you may wish to stop checking daily temperatures to decrease the stress of trying to conceive. If, however, you find the daily temperatures reassuring, feel free to continue.
Don't worry. Not all women can detect all of the signs of ovulation. Follow whichever of the signs works for you.
If you are unable to detect any of the changes discussed here, you may not be ovulating. See your physician to make the final determination with a blood test for progesterone timed one week after the surge on your OPK or rise in temperature, which should be one week before your period. If you are not ovulating, your physician can try to determine the cause and give you medications to help you release your egg.
If the thought of testing for ovulation is frustrating to you, intercourse two to three times a week should cover your fertile window.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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