If You Have Difficulty Reaching Your Cervix
Look out for: centrally aligned, soft cervix, which is difficult to reach, with a slight opening in the middle
Reliability index: Low
If you try reaching a finger into your cervix when you are closer to ovulating, chances are you wont be able to because high levels of estrogen cause the uterus to be pulled further inside the body.
If you do, you will find it centrally aligned and soft to touch, like pursed lips. You might even be able to make out a dent in the middle of the cervix, called the os, which is the opening to the uterus. If you are ovulating, the os will be slightly open.
After ovulation, as the estrogen level goes down, the cervix comes back down and might even be a little tilted to one side. The os remains closed until menstruation when it opens slightly.
Check the position of your cervix every day for several menstrual cycles to be able to compare the differences between the phases.
Caution: Unless you are a natural, understanding the cervical shift can be a tough job. So dont set great store by this method.
Chances Of Getting Pregnant On Your Period
In essence, menstruation is the monthly shedding of the endometrium, the inner membrane of the uterus. Menstruation lasts between three and seven days for most women. By the third day, levels of progesterone and estrogen are rising and working to rebuild your endometrium. Around day four, follicle ripening begins to go on the uptick, meaning the ovaries will start preparing eggs for release.
Unless you’re a very early ovulator , there’s little chance your man’s sperm will actually have any eggs to work with during this phase of your cycle.
Your chances of conceiving: Almost zero. It’s not detrimental to have intercourse, though, and some women see menstruation as a breather from the rigors of frequent procreation-oriented sex.
Right After Your Period Ends
Many women look forward to having contraception-free sex right after their period ends. Its true that its unlikely youll get pregnant a day or two after menstruation stops, but given the lifespan of sperm and the challenges around predicting ovulation exactly its not at all impossible.
This is especially true if you ovulate earlier than you usually do, or if you have a naturally short menstrual cycle of around 21 days.
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A Lot Goes Into Every Ovulation And If Conditions Arent Right It Wont Happen
The development and release of an egg each cycle occurs in response to the intricate ups and downs of your reproductive hormones. Ovulation is impacted by energetic, nutritional, emotional, and socioeconomic factors.
If You Dont Have A 28
But not everyone has a 28-day menstrual cycle, which is quite normal. Even if they do, they may not ovulate on the 14th day.
Scientist Allen Wilcox did a study with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on 696 menstrual cycles. He found that among the 69 women with 28-day cycle, only about 7 women ovulated 14 days before their next period. Some ovulated 19 days before their period, and some just 7 days prior .
The Wilcox study also found that more than 70% women are in their fertile window before day 10 or after day 17.1
This can be owing to the length of your period. For instance, if it ends by day 3, it is possible that hormonal changes in your body that trigger ovulation to occur on day 10. There can be other physiological causes, like lack of sex hormones or their delayed release. There can be psychological causes like stress too.
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When Does Conception Take Place
Conception starts at the moment of fertilisation, when the sperm penetrates the outer shell of the egg, and an embryo is formed. Over the next four to six days the embryo moves down the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it implants in the uterus lining and hopefully continues to grow. To check if you are pregnant, you should wait two weeks after ovulation before undertaking a pregnancy test.
When Should You Have Sex
The best day is the day before ovulation.
Now that you have found your ovulation day, the next step is timing the intercourse.
A 1995 study by Allen J. Wilcox on timing the intercourse in relation to ovulation found that the probability of conception ranged between 1o percent, when intercourse happened five days prior to ovulation, to 33 percent, when it happened on the day of ovulation. This indicates that the highest probability was on the day of ovulation. The study also found that only 6 percent of the pregnancies could be attributed to sperm that was three or more days older.16
A 1999 study, however, finds that the highest probability is when the intercourse occurs the day before ovulation and the lowest is when intercourse occurs on the day after ovulation.17 The American Pregnancy Association and many doctors suggest that the chances of pregnancy go down to 5 percent, even zero, if you have intercourse on the day after ovulation, because its better to keep the sperm waiting for the egg than the other way around. By that same logic, intercourse a day before ovulation makes more sense than on the day of ovulation.
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Understanding The Ovulation Calendar
Taking the first day of your period as day 1, mark day 7 to day 20 as fertile phase. If day 7 also starts your fertile window, you will notice the following signs:
If it starts on day 8, the signs will start showing a day later. But the ovulation calculator gives you a rather broad spectrum. To hit closer to home, look out for the physical and psychological changes.
Preparing For The Next Period
As the empty follicle shrinks, if the egg is not fertilized, levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease. Without the high levels of hormones to help maintain it, the thick womb lining that has been built up starts to break down, and your body sheds the lining. This is the start of your period and the beginning of your next menstrual cycle.
As the empty follicle shrinks, if the fertilized egg has not implanted into the womb, your level of progesterone decreases. The womb no longer needs to maintain an environment to support a baby so your body needs to reset ready for the next cycle. Any PMT symptoms that you have will start to decrease. Without the high levels of hormones to help maintain it, the thick womb lining which has built up starts to breakdown and your body will shed this. This is the start of your period and the beginning of your next cycle. For illustration purposes only
If the egg has been fertilized and implanted into the womb, the empty follicle is maintained by the increasing level of pregnancy hormone . It continues to produce estrogen and progesterone for much longer until the placenta is mature enough to support the developing embryo. For illustration purposes only
If the egg has been fertilized, it may successfully implant itself into the womb lining. This usually takes place about a week after fertilization.
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How To Track Your Cycle
Working out your fertility window can be helped by tracking your menstrual cycle. You can simply mark your periods on a calendar or try some of the many apps available online .
The average menstrual cycle is 28-35 days. Ovulation usually occurs 14 days prior to your period starting. We recommend you track two to three cycles and work out the average length of your cycle. From this you can work out the average time you are likely to ovulate.
- If your cycle is 28 days, ovulation should occur on day 14. Therefore aim to have regular intercourse from 10 days after your period has started.
- If your period is 35 days, then ovulation should occur at 21 days and intercourse should be from 17 days after your period started.
Determining The Best Time To Have Sex To Conceive
So, your fertile window may last up to 10 days, but clearly, if you want to get pregnant, you want to have sex as close to ovulation as possible.
How can you time sex for your most fertile days during your fertile window?
There are many methods of tracking and predicting ovulation. Your best options include ovulation test kits , body basal temperature charting, and checking for fertile cervical mucus. An ovulation day calculator may also help provide an estimate, but isnt always most accurate of methods.
That said, research has also found that timing sex for pregnancy can cause excessive stress in some couples. Timing sex for conception may be good for getting pregnant but not great for your relationship. Thats important to consider.
According to the research, having sex when you have fertile raw-egg-white-like cervical mucus is the best way to time sex for pregnancy.
Another option is to have frequent sex and not worry so much about the exact ovulation day. But again, this can put more strain on a relationship than may be warranted and isnt a reassuring option for those who have been trying for some time or know there may be an underlying fertility problem.
Unless you are in the midst of fertility treatments, and your doctor has asked you to have sex on a particular day or set of days, you may want to consider dropping ovulation detection.
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How To Calculate Your Safe Days
Calculating your safe days is no less than a prediction game. However, it acts as a boon to help you understand your cycle well, along with the most suitable days to have unprotected sex without fear of getting pregnant.
The ideal way to calculate safe days is by calculating the length of the menstrual cycle and maintaining a period calendar.
The length of the period cycle is calculated from the beginning of the menstrual period as day one until day 1 of the next menstrual period.
Safe days is also an effective birth control method that may be used instead of medications.
Considering a menstrual cycle, the first week after period onset is usually safe. The eggs are not released, and ovaries are still in the process of forming eggs within them.
The last week before your next period cycle is also considered to be safe. The process or phase of ovulation has passed away, and a comparatively lesser chance for fertilisation to occur.
These calculations of safe days are ideal for women who have a regular menstrual cycle of 28-32 days.
If Your Urine Shows An Lh Surge
Look out for: a high amount of LH in the urine that rises each day for 3 days max
Reliability index: High
When you do a simple urine or blood test at home with an ovulation predictor test kit that measures the level of luteinizing hormone in your urine or blood plasma, does it say theres a rise in it? If it does, and if you have been seeing it rising for the last 3 days, you are close to ovulating.
The high estrogen levels in your body before ovulation stimulates the release of LH. LH in turn triggers ovulation. Usually, ovulation occurs within 3 days of the first significant rise in the level of LH and within 36 hours of peak LH.5
Because the rise in LH is linked to the high estrogen levels, youll notice a link between your cervical mucus quality and LH levels. The peak day of cervical mucus coincides with the LH surge.6 This is the ideal day for copulation. But, again, to be safe, engage in intercourse as soon as you see the LH rising.
Caution: Start testing right after your period, twice a day, between 10am and 8pm. Dont test first thing in the morning, nor after drinking a lot of water.
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Ovulation Matters For Reasons Other Than Fertility Too
Ovulation is a superpower awarded to all cycling bodiesnot just those who are trying to become pregnant.
Ovulation has health benefits totally separate from pregnancy.
The best part is progesteronea hormone the ovaries make exclusively following ovulation. While its been branded a pregnancy hormone, progesterone is good for your health overall. Its been shown to reduce inflammation, build muscle, promote quality sleep, protect against heart disease, and calm stress , among other benefits.
Ovulation helps make periods easier.
Generally, the more progesterone you make after ovulation, the lighter your period , and fewer painful cramps and PMS symptoms come with it . Ovulation timing also determines period timing, so consistent ovulation helps keep periods regular.
We designed Steady Moodour daily multivitamin for multi-symptom PMS reliefto support healthy progesterone production and overall hormonal health throughout all the phases of the menstrual cycle, including ovulation. By nourishing your cycle with the nutrients and herbs it needs to thrive, Steady Mood can help make your period days better and your ovulation days amazing.*
This information is for education purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition.
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Can I Be Pregnant And Test Negative
If your test comes back negative and you still think youre pregnant, its certainly possible! You may have taken the test too early and need to produce more pregnancy hormones first.
You can talk to your doctor, who may recommend taking a blood test for the earliest and most accurate results.
False positives are rare. Positive pregnancy tests rarely indicate something other than pregnancy, including:
- a problem in the ovaries
Calculate When Ovulation Starts
If you have a 30-day cycle, then ovulation will occur approximately on day 16 of your cycle. Ovulation occurs 10-14 days before your next period, so you will get an approximate ovulation date by subtracting 14 from the number of days in your cycle . This means that ovulation will occur 16 days after your period starts. If you have your period on January 1, ovulation will take place on January 17.
Use the chart below to determine when you’re most likely to ovulate based on the length of your menstrual cycle. Find the length of your cycle in the left-hand column to see how many days after the beginning of your period you will ovulate and when you’re at your most fertile.
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