Ovulation: Achieve and Conceive?

PD  Fitness and WellBeing 67058 Are you hoping to hold your own little bundle of joy soon?Trying to get pregnant can be a lot of fun, but for many couples itcan be frustrating too. Fertility is the result of many factors coming together at one time. Knowing the basics can help you make changes that could increase your chances ofconceiving.

Ovulation

During ovulation, an egg is released into the fallopian tube. Sperm must come in contact with the egg within 24-48 hours for pregnancy to take place. If the egg is notfertilized, menstruation will usually occur in about 2 weeks. Tracking your menstrual cycle will help you determine your best chance for pregnancy.A woman's menstrual cycle starts from the first day of herperiod to the first day of her next period. It is usually 23-35 days long. Although ovulation can be irregular, it typicallyoccurs 12-16 days before the start of your next menstrualperiod. For example, in a 28-day cycle, ovulation often occurs on the 14th day.Because ovulations may be irregular a calendar tracking may not work for you. The following methods can also help you determine when you arefertile:

Rise in Basal Body Temperature

Right after ovulation, many women have an increase in basal (early morning) bodytemperature. It may increase about 0.5°F-1.6°F. By taking andrecording your temperature every morning before rising, you shouldnote a pattern over the next few cycles. Plan to have intercourseduring the 2-3 days before your temperature normallyrises. The downside of this method is that you must be vigilant intaking and recording your temperature every day for severalmonths.Keep in mind that drinking or smoking and poor sleep patterns can have an effect on your basal body temperature.

Physical Changes

You may be able to determine ovulation by observing changes inyour body. One change is that your cervical mucus becomes clear,slippery, stretchy, (similar to raw egg whites) on the days before ovulation. This mucus helpsto increase the movement of the sperm through the uterus to thefallopian tubes where it meets the egg.Some women also experiencediscomfort, achiness, or twinges of pain in the lower abdomen duringovulation. The discomfort may lastfor a few minutes or several hours.

Ovulation Test Kits

Easy-to-use kits for determining ovulation are available in manystores. They involve urinating on test strips which change colorwhen you are ovulating. The changes are caused by hormones specific to ovulation. Accuracy varies depending on the product, so try different ones to see which one is more accurate for your.

Increasing Your Chances of Conceiving

Understanding ovulation is just one factor in pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant, keep these factors in mind:
  • Frequent intercourse will increase your chance of getting pregnant during your fertile period. It will not decrease malefertility.
  • Lubricants can slow sperm motility. You may want to avoid their use if you are tryingto conceive.
  • Use a combination of all these methods.
  • It may be more difficult to conceive in the first few months after stopping the use of birth control.
  • Lifestyle factors can effect your ability to conceive. Avoid smoking. If you are overweight, consider losing weight. Reduce stress.
  • Increased age can affect fertility.
Remember that even if conceiving your previous child was easy, itdoes not mean that future pregnancies will be easy toachieve. Knowing your how your body responds to hormonal changes can increase the chances putting you on the road to a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are planning on becoming pregnant.

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RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

Office on Women's Health
http://www.womenshealth.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References

Agarwal A, Deepinder F, et al. Effects of vaginal lubricants on sperm motility and chromatin integrity: A prospective comparative study. Fertil Steril. 2008;89(2):375-379.

Infertility in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 7, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.

Kutteh WH, Chao CH, et al. Vaginal lubricants for the infertile couple: Effect on sperm activity. Int J Fertil Menopausal Stud. 1996;41(4):400-404.

Menstruation and the menstrual cycle fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.pdf. Updated October 21, 2009. Accessed December 9, 2014.

Natural family planning. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq024.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121205T1356158818. Accessed December 9, 2014.

Treatment of infertility in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 7, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.

Trying to conceive. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/before-you-get-pregnant/trying-to-conceive.html. Updated September 27, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2014.

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