You are most fertile when you are ovulating. When is the right time?
Are you trying to have a baby with your partner, but even after a few months you still haven’t seen those two lines on the pregnancy test? It is important for you to know how your body works and when your chances of getting pregnant during your menstrual cycle are highest.
Under normal circumstances, one egg matures in your ovary each month. It is then released from the ovary during ovulation into the cavity of your small pelvis, from where it is caught by the fallopian tube.
In the fallopian tube, the egg is fertilized by a sperm and the fertilized egg (in fact, an early-stage embryo) is then transported by the fallopian tube to the uterus. Approximately on the sixth day after fertilization, the embryo implants in the uterine cavity and continues to develop and grow there.
At the first glance, this may seem like a simple process. However, the truth is that it is very complicated to control and its correct course depends on the interplay of several organs – the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain, ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. After ovulation, the egg is ready to be fertilized for about 24 hours. If it is not fertilized during this time, it dies and the women can no longer become pregnant in the given cycle.
However, the ability of sperm to survive in a woman’s fallopian tubes after an unprotected sexual intercourse is highly variable. Under normal semen analysis parameters, sperm should be able to survive in the fallopian tubes for at least 3 days, but sometimes it can be up to 7 days.
However, it is still true that a woman can become pregnant only during ovulation (that is, during that single day when the egg enters the fallopian tube – there, impatient sperms should be anxiously waiting). On the other hand, it is necessary to realize that female body is not a machine and women do not always have to ovulate on the same day. Even a completely healthy woman does not have to ovulate every single month – we then call such menstrual cycles anovulatory.
How do you know you’re ovulating?
There are several domestic methods for detecting ovulation, which are described below. It should be noted that these methods are really only indicative. If you are not sure whether or not you are ovulating, consult your gynecologist.
Calculation from the usual cycle length
This is the simplest method, which is based on the fact that the period between ovulation and the beginning of the next menstruation lasts about 14 days. This calculation is only suitable for women who have a regular cycle. If you subtract 14 days from the date of your expected menstruation, you will get the date when ovulation is most likely to occur.
If a woman has a 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation – i.e. the release of an egg from the ovary – occurs approximately on the 14th day after the onset of menstrual bleeding. If her cycle is longer, ovulation occurs later (with a 35-day cycle, ovulation occurs on the 21st day of the cycle). Conversely, if the cycle is shorter, the woman ovulates before the 14th day of the cycle (with a 21-day cycle, ovulation occurs already on the 7th day of the cycle).
Monitoring of cervical mucus
When you are most fertile, the nature of the mucus secreted by the cervix changes and you may observe it as a discharge. When you are ovulating, the discharge is thinner, transparent and occurs in larger quantities. It thickens immediately after ovulation and may appear to have white color.
Basal temperature measurement
Basal temperature is the body temperature, which is measured immediately after waking up and increases by up to 0.5 °C after ovulation. It will then remain elevated until the next menstruation, or during the entire pregnancy.
Ovulation tests, which you can buy at any pharmacy or even a drugstore, detect the presence of so-called luteinizing hormone in the urine. This hormone is responsible for triggering ovulation. The biggest advantage of the test is that it prepares you for ovulation in advance, because this hormone is released in larger quantities as early as 12 to 36 hours before ovulation.
Determination of ovulation by a gynecologist
The most accurate method to determine ovulation is the confirmation by ultrasound assessment and determination of hormone level from a blood sample. Before the anticipated ovulation, your gynecologist will perform an ultrasound assessment (the so-called folliculometry), in which they measure the size of the maturing follicle on your ovary and can even tell you with fair accuracy when exactly ovulation can be expected.
Approximately 7 days after ovulation, they can tell you by measuring the concentration of progesterone in your blood, whether ovulation took place correctly and whether the progesterone levels are sufficient for achieving pregnancy.
But it is most crucial to realize one thing: If a woman wants to get pregnant, she must take it easy, be cool and calm.
Regular measurement of basal temperature and repeated performance of ovulation tests may become a very stressful factor after a while. Over time, this stress can be passed on to your partner and may even negatively affect your relationship. Bear in mind that no ovulation is set as an alarm clock and even in a healthy woman it can vary within a relatively wide range. Reproductive medicine experts do not recommend close monitoring of ovulation and timing of sexual intercourse in the middle of the cycle. The right effort for conceiving a baby means having unprotected sexual intercourse once every 2-3 days during the whole month. This will ensure that you really have a chance to get pregnant even if your ovulation is delayed. However, it should be taken as a matter of course to perform at least a single test whether ovulation is taking place and to assess the semen analysis parameters in the male partner.
If you still cannot seem to get to those two lines displayed on the pregnancy test, get in touch with us at any time. Not only will we help you figure out why you’re still not getting pregnant, but we can also help you resolve this issue.