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Trying to Conceive? Knowing When You Ovulate

Are you trying to conceive? It helps knowing when you ovulate so that your chances of getting pregnant are increased.

Your body usually releases one egg each month in a process called ovulation, and needs to be fertilized soon after. To boost your chances, it helps to know your body and when you’re ovulating. Then you’ll know when you and your partner should be having all the sex!

Here are some ways of knowing when you ovulate.

Know your cycle

Keep a menstrual calendar for a few months so you can get an idea of what’s normal for you. Find a ovulation calendar tool online to help. If your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and your period arrives like clockwork, it’s likely that you’ll ovulate on day 14.

Check your calendar

Now that you know when you will likely ovulate, you can plan when to have sex. Your fertile window begins on day 10, so plan to have sex between days 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle. Sperm can survive for a few days inside your body, so it’s ideal to have them already there waiting for your egg.

Trying to Conceive? Knowing When You Ovulate

Chart your temperature

As your hormone levels change throughout your menstrual cycle, watch for signs of body changes. During the first half of your cycle, your ovaries give off the hormone estrogen and when your estrogen levels are high, your ovary releases an egg. After the release of the egg, your body starts to produce the hormone progesterone which causes body temperature to rise slightly.

If you track your temperature every day before you get out of bed, your basal body temperature, you may notice a pattern that shows when you ovulate. Taken with a special thermometer, your BBT is the baseline reading you get first thing in the morning

Track your fluids

Your hormones also change the texture of your cervical mucus, the sticky fluid that comes from your cervix. As your body gets ready to ovulate, you will notice more of this stretchy and slippery fluid. When your mucus feels like this, you are within your fertile window.

Ovulation predictor kits

Ovulation predictor kits like the First Response® Digital Ovulation Test are able to pinpoint your date of ovulation in advance by looking at levels of luteinizing hormone, or LH, which is the last of the hormones to hit its peak before ovulation actually occurs. The kits,  which checks your urine, have enough test strips to let you check your LH levels several times during your menstrual cycle. Start testing a few days before you think you might ovulate, then repeat a few times over the next few days to pinpoint the exact day. When your LH levels are highest, you’re in the fertile window. Your two most fertile days begin with the LH surge and you are most likely to get pregnant if you have intercourse within 24-36 hours after you detect your personal LH surge.

Twinges of pain

It’s possible to feel yourself ovulate – in fact 20 percent of women do! Your body will send you a memo when it’s ovulating in the form of a twinge of pain or a series of cramps in your lower abdominal area, usually on one side.

Ask your doctor

Some women don’t ovulate on a set schedule, so if you’re having trouble realizing when you ovulate, ask your doctor for help.

 

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Trying to Conceive: National Infertility Awareness Week

Starting a family and having children is a precious gift, one many of us take for granted. Many couples think they can start having kids just like that – but the harsh reality is that conceiving a child does not always come easy.

Most couples who are trying to conceive will become pregnant within a year. For others it can take longer.  In Canada, the incidence of fertility issues have risen in the past several decades, with one in six Canadian couples now experiencing fertility-related problems.

What is supposed to be an exciting and happy time in one’s life can become a significant source of stress and pressure for the couples that experience challenges along the way. If it’s taking longer than you expected to conceive, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor about what you should be doing to improve your chances of conceiving. Ontario, along with Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick, now offers some form of financial assistance for in-vitro fertilization to couples.

National Infertility Awareness Week is May 12 to 20. Dr. David Greenberg, Family Physician at St. Joseph Hospital, has some tips to help start the family planning.

Don’t “try”

For couples “trying” to conceive, every month can be filled with anxiety and worry. Heightened stress can actually cause more challenges. Therefore, it’s important to live in the moment and just enjoy your partner. Have sex every other day during the fertile window. One study found that intercourse is most likely to result in a pregnancy when it occurs two days before ovulation.

It’s not your fault

There are many reasons why conceiving a baby may be difficult, but it’s not anyone’s fault. Blaming yourself or your partner won’t fix anything and may lead to more problems, including tension in your relationship. Find ways to relax both body and mind, whether by exercising, taking deep breaths, listening to music or doing yoga.

Live healthy

Don’t wait until you find out you’re expecting to start making changes to your diet or exercise routine. Once you decide to start trying to conceive, start behaving like you’re already pregnant by eating right, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding alcohol, stop smoking  and exercising sensibly. Getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, dairy and healthy sources of fat. Also, go easy on the caffeine: consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine a day has been linked with a decrease in fertility in women.

Research has shown that a woman who is overweight (her Body Mass Index, or BMI, is greater than 35) can take twice as long to become pregnant as a woman whose BMI is considered normal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges women to take 400 mcg of folic acid every day for at least one month before getting pregnant to help prevent birth defects.

Track your cycle

Improve your odds of conceiving by having sex on the days when conception is likeliest to happen. Every woman’s body is unique and, when trying to become pregnant, your individual cycle should be taken into consideration. Use an Ovulation Calculator to help you determine your cycle.

The First Response™ Digital Ovulation Test detects and tracks your personal daily baseline levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) to detect your personal LH surge, unlike other ovulation tests that use a pre-set “average” level to determine an LH surge.

Trying to Conceive: National Infertility Awareness Week

Know when to see an expert

A woman and man should consider having an infertility evaluation if the woman is 35 or older and has not become pregnant after six months of having sex regularly without using birth control.  A woman who is under 35 and her partner should consult a fertility specialist if she has failed to become pregnant after one year of having unprotected intercourse on a regular basis.

For those who know someone trying to conceive, the most important thing is to be supportive and understanding. It’s important to consult your doctor to find the best steps for you.

Resources:

Visit Infertility Awareness Association of Canada for more information on fertility services, clinics, support groups and more.

Fertility Matters Canada is the national patient charity that provides education, support and assistance to individuals and couples who are struggling to build their families