Don’t leave it to luck, if you’re hoping to conceive. You can get pregnant faster by starting with predicting ovulation.
Below we have listed four important things to know when trying to predict ovulation.
Conception is based on an intricate series of events. Hormones from your pituitary gland stimulate your ovaries to release an egg, or ovulate monthly. Once the egg is released, it travels to one of the fallopian tubes. If you have sex near the time of ovulation, you will increase your chances of getting pregnant. In normally fertile couples, there is a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle and about 85 percent of women who have sex without using birth control will get pregnant within one year.
You may be able to boost your likelihood of getting pregnant by learning to pinpoint exactly when you ovulate and by familiarising yourself with the cyclic hormonal and physical changes that take place in your body each month.
(Learn more: What Is Ovulation?)
However note that some women may find it tricky to predict ovulation because various factors can affect the exact timing of ovulation e.g. stress and excessive exercise.
The following are four points to keep in mind when trying to predict ovulation.
1) Keep an eye on the calendar.
Use your day planner or another simple calendar to mark the day your period begins each month. Also track the number of days each period lasts. While knowing exactly when a woman ovulates isn’t altogether clear, it all depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. A woman typically ovulates about 14 days before her next period — not mid-cycle, as is commonly held. If you have a consistent 28-day cycle, which is the average for example, then you would ovulate halfway through your cycle. But if you have a longer cycle such as a 35-day cycle, you would ovulate around day 21, not day 17.
2) Look out for changes in your cervical mucus.
Just before ovulation, you might notice an increase in clear, slippery vaginal discharge. This increased vaginal discharge resembles egg whites. After ovulation note that the odds of becoming pregnant are slim and the discharge will become cloudy and sticky or disappear entirely.
3) Keep track of your basal body temperature.
Your basal body temperature is your lowest temperature in a 24 hour period. The best time to take this is when you wake up in the morning. As soon as you get out of bed and before you take a bath or brush your teeth. Ovulation can cause a slight increase in basal body temperature i.e. your temperature when you’re fully at rest. To monitor your basal body temperature, use a thermometer. Take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed and plot the readings on graph paper or in a spreadsheet. Eventually, you may notice that a pattern emerges. Usually fertility is at its peak during the two to three days before your temperature rises. Note that the increase will be subtle, typically less than one degree.
4) Try an ovulation predictor kit.
Over-the-counter ovulation kits test your urine for the surge in hormones that takes place before ovulation. These kits can identify the most likely time of ovulation and may even provide a signal before ovulation actually happens. They work by telling you when your level of luteinizing hormone (LH) has gone up, signifying that one of your ovaries will soon release an egg. For the most accurate results, carefully follow the instructions on the label. Kits may be purchased from most pharmacies.