We were taught at a young age that a woman’s menstrual cycle is normally 28 days, with the assumption that ovulation occurs on day 14. However, this is not true for everybody. Many factors influence when we ovulate and how long our cycles last. The key to getting pregnant is to understand our body so that we can time intercourse to maximize the chance of conception. Here are 3 tips that you should know that can help you get pregnant sooner rather than later.
Tip #1: Understand and accept the fact that the chance of getting pregnant each cycle is 25%.
If intercourse is timed during a woman’s most fertile period, then there is only a 25% chance of getting pregnant. If ovulation is not timed accurately, the chance drops for the sperm and egg meeting at the right time for fertilization to take place. Generally, the fertile period in your cycle is 4-5 days before ovulation (the time sperm can live in your body) and ends 24-48 hours afterward (the time your egg can survive after its release). The best time a woman can get pregnant is when intercourse takes place the day before and on the day of ovulation.
Tip #2: Understand cervical fluid and how it works.
The cervix secretes certain fluids to best enable the sperm to meet the egg for fertilization. The amount and texture of cervical mucous/fluid will change as a woman gears up for ovulation. When the body is preparing for ovulation, the cervix will secrete creamy fluid (lotion-like). A few days before ovulation, the cervical fluid will be more watery. The best indication that ovulation is imminent is egg-white cervical fluid – it is generally clear in color and the texture is like that of egg whites. With egg-white cervical fluid, it can be stretched a couple inches from your thumb and index finger. The sperm can travel best in watery and egg-white cervical fluid. After ovulation, there generally will be less cervical fluid. Some women may have creamy cervical fluid a few days before getting their period. There are certain medications that may dry up a woman’s cervical fluid so it is best to consult your doctor regarding this issue.
Tip #3: Record basal body temperature.
A rise in your body temperature can confirm ovulation. Prior to ovulation, your body produces estrogen which generally causes your body temperature to be lower. When you ovulate, your body produces the hormone progesterone which generally elevates your body temperature. Your temperature should be taken at the same time every morning before you get out of bed in order to obtain more accurate results. It is recommended that you use a basal body temperature thermometer that measures your temperature to a tenth of a degree. These thermometers can be purchased at your local drug store. If you record your temperature accurately, you should be able to see a steady pattern of low temperatures before ovulation and then a steady pattern of high temperatures after ovulation. There should be a shift in your temperature of approximately.4-.6 degrees. By recording your basal body temperature, you can determine the length of your luteal phase.