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  Fertility Questions

Questions & Answers about Ovulation,
Conception, and Implantation

"Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle is critical to charting fertility, predicting ovulation, and increasing your chances of conception..."

When can I expect ovulation take place? And when am I most fertile?

You are most fertile in the days just prior to ovulation - and the day ovulation takes place. For many women, ovulation occurs around fourteen days after the start of a woman's cycle (or cycle day one - the first sign of menstrual bleeding). There are different methods to calculate ovulation - and these strategies are indicated below and throughout ibabydust.com (from observing midcycle pains to bbt charting).

It is also recommended to fertility chart, or at least maintain an ovulation calendar so you can calculate the approximate date of ovulation. You can do this by determining the average length of your menstrual cycles over the past several months - and then subtract the length of your luteal phase from the length (total amount of days) in your cycle. If your cycle is irregular, then an ovulation calendar, by itself, may not be sufficient for accurately predicting fertility. Fertility charting and pinpointing natural fertility signs (see below) provide a more accurate, nuanced, and detailed ovulation prediction strategy for becoming pregnant sooner.

What is the Luteal Phase?

The Luteal Phase is the time period starting the day after you ovulate and continuing throughout the rest of your cycle (up to the first day of your next cycle). For most women, the luteal phase runs about 14 days or so and is generally consistent from cycle to cycle. Of course, the duration of the luteal phase may vary depending on your cycle length. The luteal phase is dominated by the hormone progesterone (which causes your body to warm up).

You can discover when you ovulate by measuring your basal temperature. At the start of the luteal phase, your resting (basal) body temperature increases in order to create a fertile environment for the embryo and to support implantation.

As a general rule, you can predict your ovulation date by subtracting the length of your luteal phase from the total length of your average menstrual cycle. Example: If your cycle is 28 days long and your luteal phase last 14 days, then ovulation may occur on the 14th day of your cycle (28 days -14 days = cycle day 14). Needless to say, calculating ovulation by this method may not work for everyone. Women may have irregular cycles and ovulation cycle can be disrupted now and then by health issues, travel, stress, diet, insomnia, etc.

When is the best time to become pregnant?

Peak fertility is classically understood to consist of the days just before ovulation and the day you ovulate. As the egg can only live for 24 hours maximum, conception must take place within this brief time period. Your fertile period (when you are fertile but not at peak fertility), starts about four to five days before ovulation (due to the fact that sperm, under optimum conditions like abundant cervical mucus, can live in your body for a number of days) and lasts until 1 day after ovulation. Therefore, your "fertile time" - the window of opportunity where lovemaking can lead to conception - is around 7 days. However, this is optimistic and requires optimum conditions for sperm survival as well as sperm health. To increase the odds of becoming pregnant, we advise trying to determine when you are at peak fertility.

What is an LH-Surge?

Ovulation is the process by which an egg (or ovum) is released from the ovarian follicle. After ovulation, the egg moves down the fallopian tube toward the uterus where fertilization may take place. Just before ovulation, a salient hormonal change gets underway - a sudden increase in Luteinizing Hormone, aka the LH Surge. LH is the hormone that causes ovulation. Hence, ovulation tests (OPKs) work by sensing this surge in luteinizing hormone and alerting the woman that ovulation is about to take place. An LH surge will take place between 12 and 36 hours before ovulation. And since the LH surge is quick - you may only receive one day of positive results. If you do see a positive, it is recommended to make love the day of the first positive ovulation test result, as well as the following two to three days after.

What are Ovulation Pains?

Another common fertility sign is mittelschmerz. A german word that translates as "middle pain", mittelschmerz is a pain on one side of your lower abdominal area. Mittelschmerz can take place before, during, or after ovulation and the pain may last a short time (seconds) or as long as an hour or more. Not all women experience these mid cycle pains. However, if you are fertility charting, do leave a space open on your chart for mittelschmerz as a common natural fertility symptom (or indicator).

What are the key method to predict ovulation?

Basal Body Temperature: BBT charting (or the basal body temperature method) requires you to track and record your resting temperature each day before you get out of bed. Temperature rises are caused by the sudden increase of the hormone progesterone right after you ovulate. When ovulation takes place, your body temperature will typically increase about 0.4F and 0.8F. The underlying physiological reason for the temperature increase is the creation of a warm, fertile environment for the embryo (following conception). This basal temperature increase will typically last from ovulation, through your luteal phase, and up until your next cycle.

The Cervical Mucus Method: By observing and tracking changes in your cervical fluids (CM), you can predict your fertility patterns and the general window of your fertile time. Just after menstruation, the amount of cervical mucuous will be less, and the quality will be "hostile" (e.g., sticky, unclear, won't stretch between your fingers). However, just before you ovulate, your cervical fluid will become noticeably more present. The quality of the fluid will change as well, becoming translucent or clear, as well as being slippery and stretchy. The fertile quality cervical fluid indicates the effect of estrogens and signals that ovulation is about to take place.

Ovulation Testing - Ovulation predictor kits (OPK) and fertility microscopes are the two main methods women use to test for ovulation. Urine ovulation tests, as noted above, indicate the lh surge: the increase in luteinizing hormone that takes place right before you ovulate. Ovulation microscopes like Fertile Focus assist in predicting fertility by alerting you to the increase in estrogen which occurs several days before ovulation. Many women use these tests together, as they pinpoint complementary fertility hormones (estrogen and lh).

The Calendar Method: The calendar method allows you to recognize general patterns in fertile and infertile times of the month. The calendar method involves keeping a written record of your cycle length and helps you predict ovulation by understanding the history of your menstrual cycles.

What is Fertilization?
Following ovulation, the egg is capable of fertilization for approximately 12-24 hours. Fertilization occurs near the bottom of the fallopian tube. Fertilization is when a sperm penetrates the egg. Following this penetration, implantation must take place.

What is Implantation
Once the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage (approximately five to six days after fertilization), it begins the process of implantation. Implantation takes place when the egg attaches or implants in the uterus.

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