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When Are My Most Fertile Days?

Lots of us spend many years taking steps to avoid falling pregnant, yet when we do start trying for a baby, it can be harder to conceive than we think. On average, it takes 6-8 months to become pregnant, when actively trying, so although some couples conceive straightaway, for others, it may take a year or longer.Knowing more about ovulation, for example when it happens, the physical signs and how to track your cycle, can give you an edge and help you to conceive sooner.

How will I know when I’m ovulating?

Women are most fertile around ovulation, when the ovaries release the egg.

Signs of ovulation include:

• wetter, clearer and more slippery vaginal discharge

• cramps in the lower abdomen

• a small increase in your basal body temperature

• a higher sex-drive

Should we aim to have intercourse when I’ve seen signs that I’m ovulating?

Timing is key, but as every woman is different, you’ll need to pinpoint the right time for you. Many women do this by working out when they are ovulating and then trying to have intercourse that day. It may surprise you to find out that this is NOT the most effective way to become pregnant, as an egg’s lifespan is only about 12 to 24 hours, meaning that you might be too late each time, if you wait for the signs.

How will I know in advance when I’m due to ovulate?

The average woman’s menstrual cycle is between 28 and 32 days, though cycles can be longer or shorter. For tracking purposes, Day 1 of the menstrual cycle is considered to be the first day of a woman’s period. Ovulation takes place around 14 days before a woman expects to have her next menstrual period, if her monthly cycle is 28 days. In this case, the most fertile time would be Day 10 - Day 14.

If your cycles are regular, by tracking your ovulation days over several months, you will start to notice a monthly pattern. As sperm are capable of surviving for several days in the fallopian tubes, it’s recommended that you have sexual intercourse every day, or every other day, from a few days before ovulation, up until the day after ovulation has occurred.

As well as looking out for the physical signs of ovulation, you can track and record your basal temperature each day and see when it rises. In conjunction with this, you can use an ovulation predictor kit or fertility monitor, both of which use urine tests to measure the levels of hormones to determine the ovulation day each month.

How can I improve my chance of conception?  

• track your menstrual cycles and ovulation days over several months

• maintain a healthy weight, as being overweight or underweight can affect the regularity of ovulation

• have regular sexual intercourse every 2-3 days a month

• limit alcohol intake, as it can reduce fertility in both men and women and cause harm to the foetus

• avoid smoking, as it also reduces fertility and can harm the development of the foetus

 

Should I see a doctor if I’m planning to get pregnant?

A doctor can offer advice about conception and prescribe Folic Acid, which is important for a developing foetus and increases the chance of a healthier baby. They can also advise women who have irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome or just one fallopian tube on how best to approach conception and suggest any support that may help.

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Most pregnancy tests can be carried out from the first day of your missed period. Some very sensitive tests can be carried out before this. Pregnancy tests involve collecting a sample of urine and this can be collected at any time of the day. If you get a positive result, it’s advisable to contact your GP to find out how to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

What can I do if I’m still not falling pregnant after 6 months of trying?

Most couples engaging in frequent, unprotected sex will conceive within 12 months of trying. If you are under 35 and it still hasn’t happened after a year, you should contact your doctor.

Fertility levels drop for women over the age of 35. Doctors recommend seeking medical advice after 6 months of trying for women over 35.

Planning to start a family is a time of excitement, anticipation and often a lot of questions. Here at The IVF Network, we have advice and information to support you on your fertility journey, during your pregnancy and beyond.

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