To successfully achieve pregnancy, you need to be ovulating. During ovulation, your ovaries release an egg, which is then fertilized by the sperm. Once the egg is released, you have a 12 to 24 hour window for fertilization to occur. Generally, women ovulate about 14 to 16 days after the start of their menstrual cycle, though this timing can vary from person to person. Your fertile period begins about 4 to 5 days before ovulation and lasts for 24 to 48 hours after the egg is released, making it important to time intercourse accordingly.
Often, women have problems with ovulation but don’t realize that they have any issues that could impact their fertility. Dr. Douglas will evaluate whether or not you are ovulating as part of your infertility assessment. To monitor ovulation on your own, you can use one of the following methods:
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Checking your basal body temperature involves tracking, or charting, the baseline temperature your body runs at with a special thermometer. For accurate results, you need to take your temperate right after you awaken and before getting out of bed. As you approach ovulation, your temperature will rise, often as slightly as a half to one degree elevation. Charting the changes for several months will give you an idea about whether or not you are ovulating.
Cervical Mucous and Position
Another method for identifying ovulation is monitoring your cervical mucous and position. During a typical cycle, your cervical mucous will change from dry to sticky to thin and slippery, which indicates your most fertile period. The last day that you notice transparent, egg white-like mucous is considered the most fertile day. Not only does the mucous change, but so does your cervical position. When you are not ovulating, your cervix is closed and will feel like the end of your nose. Your cervix will feel softer, moister and more open as you get closer to ovulation.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
Often, women choose to utilize ovulation predictor kits to pinpoint when they are ovulating. Found in drugstores, these kits identify the sharp rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) that occurs midcycle, right before ovulation. Luteinizing hormone helps “cause” ovulation by breaking down the wall of the follicle so that the egg can be released. Usually, ovulation predictor kits contain multiple testing sticks. A positive result from the test indicates peak fertility and suggests that you will ovulate in the next 12 to 36 hours.