Bloating Before A Period Is A Common Pms Symptom
The week before your period, you may experience breast tenderness and swelling.
Symptoms such as bloating, swollen arms and legs, and bags under the eyes can also appear. Swelling and bloating are common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome that are caused by water retention.
Whether other symptoms of PMS are present or not, water retention is common during this time.
Can I Use My Menstrual Cycle To Predict My Due Date
Yes. You can work out how far along your pregnancy is by counting from the first day of your last period.
This can be confusing because you probably didnt get pregnant until around 2 weeks later, after you ovulated. Even if do you know the date you got pregnant, this is counted as day 14 of your pregnancy , not day 1.
Your pregnancy is calculated from your last menstrual period because every time you have a period this is the bodys way of getting ready for pregnancy. It also gives healthcare professionals a standard to follow because its very difficult to know exactly when the sperm fertilised the egg.
If your period is irregular or if youve recently been on the pill it will be harder to try and work out your due date.
The most accurate way to work out your due date is to have an ultrasound scan when youre around 11 to 14 weeks pregnant. This is used to see how for along you are and check your babys development.
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What If My Cycle Is Irregular
It can be more difficult to get pregnant if you have irregular periods because you may not ovulate regularly.
There are many possible causes of irregular periods, which may affect your fertility. For example:
Having irregular periods does not mean you wont get pregnant and there are things you can do to boost your chances of success.
See your GP if your periods have stopped, youre missing monthly periods or you have irregular periods and are struggling to get pregnant.
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How To Know When Youre Ovulating
Knowing when you ovulate can help you plan for sex at the right time and improve your chance of getting pregnant. You can keep track of your menstrual cycles on a chart, in a diary, or on a free period-tracker app on your smartphone.
To work out the length of your menstrual cycle, record the first day you start bleeding . This is day 1. The last day of your cycle is the day before your next period begins.
Some people think the menstrual cycle and a period are the same thing.
A period is when you bleed .
A menstrual cycle starts on the day when a period starts and ends the day before the next period. A cycles length is considered normal if its between 21 and 35 days. They can vary between women and from one cycle to the next.
- Working out your average menstrual cycle length
If your menstrual cycles are different lengths you can work out your average cycle length.
The number of days in a womans menstrual cycle can vary month to month. Periods are not always regular. It can be useful to work out an average cycle length, based on the length of three menstrual cycles, to estimate when youre most likely to be ovulating.
If you add the number of days in three cycles and divide the total number by three, it gives you your average cycle length.
Sarah tracked her last three menstrual cycles by counting the time from the first day of one period, to the day before the next period.
Cycle 1 was 28 days Cycle 2 was 32 days Cycle 3 was 27 days
28 + 32 + 27 = 87
Can I Get Pregnant With Anovulation
Lifestyle changes and/or medication can often treat anovulation, which means youll have an opportunity to get pregnant. However, many other factors are involved in successful conception and pregnancy.
If youve been treated for anovulation and are still having a difficult time becoming pregnant, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider. They may recommend in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination .
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Why Does Ovulation Matter
Not ovulating every once in a while may not be a concern, but if it becomes common, or if you stop ovulating altogether , serious health concerns can arise as a result.
The process of ovulation provides your body with much-needed levels of estrogen and progesteroneâhormones that play a role well beyond fertility. They impact your bone density, heart health, metabolism, sleep quality, mental health, and beyond. Getting enough of them is important.
Anovulation during the fertile years is associated with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers later in life . Athletes with menstrual dysfunctions, for example, are significantly more likely to suffer from stress fractures .
How To Predict Ovulation
Theres no single perfect way to predict ovulation . There are many ways to estimate it, and which you choose depends on how much you want to get to know your body, and how much youd rather just spend money on a kit that can tell you . Ovulation is usually easiest to predict if you have a regular cycle. Of course, if youve been estimating your ovulation cycles for a while and not getting pregnant, its worth seeing a doctor. None of these methods are foolproof, says Kudesia. Ive seen people come in with regular cycles who were trying to get pregnant for years, and then we find out theyre not ovulating. It turns out to be much more complex than wed like it to be. Nonetheless, for many women, these ovulation prediction methods can be helpful or even right on.
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When Do You Ovulate And How Long Does It Last
Knowing when you ovulate and how long ovulation lasts is crucial for detecting your fertile window. The fertile window includes the 5 days before ovulation, and the day of ovulation itself. Peak fertility includes the 2 3 days just before you ovulate.
When you ovulate, the process of the egg bursting out of the follicle is complete within a matter of minutes or hours. After the egg is released from the ovary, it must be fertilized by a sperm within 12 24 hours.
If youre trying to conceive, its more important to know when the fertile window occurs than when you ovulate. Luckily, the fertile window lasts longer than ovulation itself6 days compared to just a few hours. The reason for this is that sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract for up to five days. Your best chances for pregnancy occur when sperm is waiting in your fallopian tubes before ovulation occurs.
When You Are Most Fertile
The 5 days before ovulation, together with the day you ovulate, are the days when you are most likely to conceive. Sperm can live up to 5 days inside your body, so if you have sex up to 5 days before your egg is released, you can get pregnant. After ovulation, though, your egg can only live for 12 to 24 hours. After this time is up, your time for getting pregnant has gone for now till the following month.
Your chances of getting pregnant are at their highest in the 3 days leading up to and including ovulation.
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How Can I Tell When I’m Ovulating
Ovulation is when an egg is released from one of your ovaries.
If you want to work out when you ovulate, there are a number of things you can use:
- the length of your menstrual cycle ovulation usually occurs around 10 to 16 days before your period starts, so you may be able to work out when you’re likely to ovulate if you have a regular cycle
- your cervical mucus you may notice wetter, clearer and more slippery mucus around the time of ovulation
- your body temperature there’s a small rise in body temperature after ovulation takes place, which you may be able to detect with a thermometer
- ovulation predictor kits hormone levels increase around the time of ovulation and this can be detected using ovulation predictor kits that measure the level of hormones in your pee
Using a combination of these methods is likely to be most accurate.
Ovulation Predictor Kits And Monitors
Over the counter kits that test for ovulation detects LH surge which occurs hours to days before ovulation. Fertility monitors can detect your most fertile days in your menstrual cycle.
Other ways you can know when ovulation will occur are
- Ovulation cramps or pain 2 weeks before your period
- Increased urge for intercourse
- Breast swelling and pain days after ovulation
- Ovulation or brown discharge that occurs 2 weeks before your next period
- Change in smell and taste
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Basal Body Temperature Method
Also called the temperature method, you take your temperature each morning as soon as you wake up . You use a basal body thermometer, which may go in your mouth or your rectum. A basal thermometer is more sensitive than a regular thermometer. It measures body temperature to a tenth of a degree.
A womans basal body temperature rises slightly during ovulation . If you track your temperatures leading up to ovulation, you should see a sustained rise in your basal body temperature after ovulation.
To help you plan, write your body temperature down each day on a tracking sheet. You should track your temperature for at least three months before using this method for family planning.
However, its important to note that the basal body temperature method is not good at predicting your ovulation when trying to conceive. Once you identify the rise in your temperature, youve already ovulated. However, this method is a good tool to monitor your pattern of ovulation.
Calculating Your Monthly Fertility Window
Your fertility window is the time during your menstrual cycle when youre most likely to get pregnant. For most people, its the five days leading up to ovulation, the day of ovulation and the day after ovulation. Calculating your monthly fertility window can help you target the optimal time to have sex if youre trying to conceive. However, natural family planning is a less reliable form of contraception and does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
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How To Know When Ovulation Occurs For Cycles Longer Or Shorter Than 28 Days
Because the length of the luteal phase is relatively rigid, its easy to determine when you ovulated once your period starts: about 14 days ago. Its not as easy to determine when you will ovulate. But a few tools can help you estimate:
Tracking your cycle
Tracking can help you identify patterns in your cycle and estimate a cycle length thats typical for you. You can roughly calculate your ovulation day by subtracting 14 days from your average cycle length.
Say your average cycle is 32 days . A 14-day luteal phase would put your ovulation day around Day 18 of your cycle.
Say your average cycle is 22 days. A 14-day luteal phase would put your ovulation day around Day 8 of your cycle.
Keep in mind its normal for your cycle length to fluctuate from month to month, so this method is just an estimate.
Also keep in mind this method assumes your luteal phase is 14 days long. While 14 days is typical for most, the luteal phase can vary between 10 and 16 days. If youre on either end of that range, its more accurate to determine your average ovulation day using an ovulation test strip, or by taking your temperature.
Ovulation test strips
Ovulation test strips are over-the-counter sticks you pee on, and they reveal when youll ovulate. Its recommended you start using ovulation test strips no later than Day 8 of your cycle, then continue to test every day until you see a positive test. A positive test usually means youll ovulate within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Mild pelvic pain
Safe Sex And Birth Control Options
If youre trying to avoid pregnancy, you dont necessarily have to rely on figuring out when youre the most fertile. You have a bunch of birth control options, which include:
Remember, that outside of barrier methods, these birth control methods will not protect you from STIs and you should be tested regularly if you are sexually active.
Additionally, if you think youve just had sex during your fertile window and want to avoid giving birth to Junior in 9 months, you can take emergency contraception. This includes morning-after pills that can be taken within 5 days of unprotected sex or getting a Paragard IUD within the same timeframe.
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What To Expect At Your Appointment
During your first visit with a fertility specialist, your doctor will ask a lot of questions about your history, to try to understand factors that may be making it harder to become pregnant. They may order some blood tests to try to understand any irregularities that might be keeping you from getting pregnant, and to make sure you are in the best possible health to become pregnant. Theyll also order a semen analysis on your partner though this wont be performed on the day of your initial appointment. Depending on your medical history, you might also plan an ultrasound and additional imaging to further explore. If you arent ovulating, your doctor may prescribe medications, including ones that can help induce ovulation. The best choice is very personal and your doctor will help you understand all of your options.
Wherever you are on your fertility journey, remember that approximately 85% of healthy women will get pregnant within a year of trying. For those who struggle to conceive, you can increase your chances by mixing love with science and seeing a doctor who specializes in fertility.
We want our patients to feel as comfortable as possible during this emotional and sometimes stressful time. Our team is committed to providing the most caring, compassionate, and leading-edge fertility care available.
Your Ovulation Is Not A Clock
Any factors that influence the hormonal pulsing in your brain can influence your ovulation. Environmental and internal factors like stress, diet, and exercise changes can lead your ovulation to happen slightly earlier, or later, or not at all. Your period may then come earlier or later as well, and be lighter or heavier.
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Can You Get Pregnant Outside A Fertile Window
Your fertile window refers to the time its possible to get pregnant. In a typical menstrual cycle of 28 days, there are around six days when youre most fertile .
But its important to keep in mind that cycle length can vary greatly from person to person, which was shown in a study conducted by Flo and the University of Adelaide. Even in people with regular cycles each month, the timing of the fertile window can be highly unpredictable as ovulation can take place on different days.
So, can you get pregnant when youre not ovulating? The short answer is yes. Its possible to get pregnant outside of your predicted fertile window because timing of ovulation may differ each month and sperm lives in the body for several days. Therefore, though more unlikely at some points, pregnancy can result from unprotected sex at any time during your menstrual cycle. If you want to avoid pregnancy, theres actually no safe time of the month to have unprotected sex so its important to always use contraception.
You can calculate your fertile window by tracking your cycles with Flo, observing your cervical fluid, and taking your bodys basal temperature. Using ovulation test kits will also make your predictions even more accurate.
Lets take a closer look at the possibility of conception at the different phases of your cycle.
Track Your Basal Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature, or BBT, that is. Taken with a special, basal body thermometer, basal body temperature is the baseline reading you get first thing in the morning, after at least three to five hours of sleep and before you get out of bed, talk or even sit up. Your BBT changes throughout your cycle as fluctuations in hormone levels occur. During the first half of your cycle before ovulation, estrogen dominates.
During the second half after ovulation, there’s a surge in progesterone, which increases your body temperature as it gets your uterus ready for a fertilized, implantable egg. That means your temperature will be lower in the first half of the month than it is in the second half.
Confused? Here’s the bottom line: Your basal body temperature will reach its lowest point at ovulation and then rise immediately about a half a degree as soon as ovulation occurs. Keep in mind that charting your BBT for just one month will not enable you to predict the day you ovulate but rather give you evidence of ovulation after it’s happened. Tracking it over a few months, however, will help you see a pattern in your cycles, enabling you to predict when your fertile days are and when to hop into bed accordingly.
Many women do find this approach a bit frustrating and it is important to know that studies have shown that the timing of ovulation does vary among women after the dip in temperature. Ovulation predictor kits are more precise.
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