Fertility

What Is Ovulation?

What is ovulation?

Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is available to be fertilized.

The lining of the uterus needs to have thickened to prepare for a fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining as well as blood will be shed. It is this shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall that is called menstruation or menses.

How can I know if I am ovulating?

A lot of our readers ask this question.

You may not know this but you can actually track your menstrual period each month to figure out when your body is ovulating i.e. the time period when the ovary releases the egg for fertilization (as described above).

Tracking your period is usually the best way to know your most fertile days;

  • To do this however, you will need a thermometer and a calendar or a chart. Some basal body temperature (BBT) thermometers sold at any pharmacy, often come with a BBT calendar chart.
  • To begin put the thermometer and calendar right next to your bed where you can reach them.
  • Starting on the first day of your monthly period, take your temperature daily before getting out of bed in the morning, and record the result on the calendar.
  • Also record the days of menstruation and the days you have sex with your spouse.
  • Do this every day throughout the month.
  • Ideally at about 14 days after the first day of your period (menses), you should begin ovulating. Shortly after this happens, the body-at-rest temperature rises one-half to one full degree and remains elevated until the end of that cycle.
  • If you are trying to have a baby, it recommended that you engage in intercourse one or two days before the rise in temperature.

What else should I need to know?

  • Because not all women are “regular,”ovulation can occur before or after 14 days after the first day of your period. Therefore counting the days only works if you have a “standard” cycle.
  • Also if you don’t notice any sustained temperature rise during your monthly cycle, you might not be ovulating (even though you get your period).
  • This is something your doctor should know about; there are medications that can increase the likelihood of successful ovulation.
  • This method is not always accurate as it is influenced by many factors, including medication, alcohol, degree of physical activity, and illness.
  • Experts recommend that you should try to keep track of your BBT chart for about three months, to be able to accurately predict when you may be ovulating.
  • There are other methods to predict ovulation such as monitoring your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge that looks and feels like raw egg whites), changes in your body e.g. pain or a series of cramps in your lower abdominal area, usually localized to one side.
  • Another way to track ovulation is through ovulation kits and fertility monitors.

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At What Age Should You Have A Baby?

Scientists have revealed the perfect age for parents to start a family and why, and this might come as a surprise to many.To have the best chance of having just one child naturally, couples should start trying to conceive when the female is aged under 32. But for those yearning for two children, the woman should be about 27.

And to have three children, the new research indicates that women should only wait until they are 23 to start trying to become pregnant.

The researchers, from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said the latest female age that a couple should start trying to become pregnant depended on the importance of achieving their desired family size and their views on IVF.

If couples would consider IVF, those wanting a one-child family could wait until the woman was 35, but 31 was the cap for two children and 28 for three children.

While the results may come as a surprise to many young couples, it may also be reassuring for those aiming for a smaller family.

“For couples who are content with one child and do not wish a very high chance of success: they can start at age 37 for a 75 per cent (chance of success) and 41 years for a 50 per cent success chance,” lead researcher Professor Dik Habbema wrote in the journal Human Reproduction.

The ages were based on a model that combined fertility and IVF success rates for 10,000 couples and assumed the gap between babies was 15 months.

He wrote that many young people were “too optimistic” about their chance of conceiving after 35 and “miracle stories in the media” inflated the success of IVF.

“When there is so much information out there about celebrities having babies in their 40s, when the chances of success are so low (unless they use donor eggs), it creates unrealistic expectations,” Louise Johnson Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority CEO said.

“IVF does not provide a silver bullet for age-related infertility.”

It has partnered with Family Planning Victoria to design a fertility education guide for primary and secondary teachers.

“Children need to know about this technology and how it is used to create families,” Ms Johnson said.

A Melbourne mother of three children Alix Blackshaw is only 28, but she has already completed her family.

The registered nurse said both her and her husband, Dwain, were from big families and knew they wanted to have at least three children

“It’s all about personal preference, but it was my intention to have them all before the age of 30 and with a close age gap,” she said.

The benefits are that she will only be in her mid 30s when all her children start school, but it has also meant she has not been able to go travelling.

 

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