We’ve all heard a million times that in order to get pregnant, we need to have sex around our “fertile time”, which means when we are ovulating. Sounds simple enough, but what is the best way to predict ovulation when you really really want to get pregnant?
Ovulation is the part of the female menstrual cycle when a mature egg is released from the ovaries. Once released the egg travels down the fallopian tube where it may be met by a sperm and become fertilized. The key is to get the sperm to the fallopian tubes at around the same time as the egg. To do this, it helps to know when you are ovulating.
A woman can tell when she is ovulating in a number of ways. Some woman can feel the changes in their ovaries throughout their cycle, but most women who are trying to get pregnant will want a more sure-fire way to predict ovulation.
Menstrual Cycle Charting
Ovulating typically happens around Day 14 or 15 of a menstrual cycle, but this is not true for all women because each woman’s cycle is different. Ovulation usually happens 14 days before you start your period, so how many days into your menstrual cycle you ovulate depends on the length of your menstrual cycle. Start charting how long your cycles last and note when you have some of the physical signs of ovulation. (Creating a Family has a terrific resource to help-How to Know When You Ovulate Without Counting Days or Peeing on a Stick.)
Basal Body Temperature
Tracking your Basal body temperature (BBT) is a time-tested way to tell when you ovulate. Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you are at rest. It is taken first thing in the morning, preferably before you even get out of bed. It helps to use a specialized thermometer because the temperature changes are relatively minor.
As a woman approaches ovulation she will see a slight dip in BBT followed by a larger increase, typically of about 0.4 to 1.0 degrees, just after ovulation. While accurate, it is easier to see in retrospect when you have ovulated than to predict in advance when you are going to ovulate, but if you ovulate regularly, after a couple of months of charting, you will likely be able to predict in advance.
Ovulation Predictor Tests
There are several styles of ovulation predictor kits (OPK). The style recommended by Dr. Andy Toledo on the Creating a Family Radio show/podcast on How to Get Pregnant When It’s Not Happening Fast requires you to test several days in a row about 13-15 days before you expect your period to start. They are very accurate and easy to use. Dr. Toledo recommended Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test.
The amount and appearance of vaginal moisture changes throughout a woman’s cycle depending on the amount of estrogen her body is producing. Reading these changes can accurately predict when a woman is ovulating. As a woman approaches ovulation her cervical mucus becomes clear and “stretchable”, somewhat resembling egg whites. As with basal body temperature charting, you need a couple of months of tracking your cervical mucus to accurately predict your day of ovulation, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy, cheap, and accurate.
Which Way is Best to Predict Ovulation When Trying to Conceive
Most woman seem to prefer using the ovulation predictor kits. I think this is partly because of our universal love affair with technology and a belief in its superiority in most things. And if money is not a major concern—go for it. They are very easy to use and highly accurate. And truthfully, they are fairly reasonably priced.
I personally think that there is an advantage for all women to know their own body and how it changes throughout their cycle. So even if you opt to use an ovulation predictor test, I strongly suggest that at the very least you start paying attention to the monthly changes in your cervical mucus and see how it correlates to both the OPK and to your physical symptoms. How to Know When You Ovulate Without Counting Days of Peeing on a Stick
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- Increasing the Odds of Getting Pregnant Without Fertility Treatment
- 6 Fertility Myths That Could Be Hurting You When Trying to Conceive
- Getting Pregnant-Position? Frequency? Orgasm? 4 Facts To Know
Source: Creating a Family Radio Show/Podcast with Dr. Andy Toledo on How to Get Pregnant When It’s Not Happening Fast
Image credit: Negative pregnancy test:tribes of the city Positive pregnancy test:Esparta Palma Cervical Mucus- Marquette University