How To Track Ovulation When You’re Trying To Get Pregnant
Pregnancy is a tricky thing. For some women, it seems to happen by simply thinking about getting pregnant. For others (myself included) it may take months or even years for that wish to become a reality. Either way, once you decide you’d like to get pregnant there are ways to help you increase your chances, and tracking your ovulation is one of best options.
A basic health class refresher for you: The first day of your period is considered “Day 1” of your cycle. For most women, their bodies release an egg about two weeks later (around Day 14) which is called ovulation. If you are trying to get pregnant, the days around the egg release are when you want to do the deed! The egg will live for about 24 hours, which will be your only window to conceive until the next cycle.
Have more questions about the basics? See this overview for some common Q&A’s on ovulation and conception.
Once you understand how your cycle works, it’s time to start tracking your rhythm so you have the best chance at conceiving. While 12-16 days after you start your period is the normal time you release an egg, some women can ovulate earlier or later than the normal window, causing a lot of frustration while trying to get pregnant. Knowing how your unique cycle works and when you typically ovulate will help eliminate some of the confusion and frustration around when you could conceive.
Here are some options for tracking ovulation:
Basal Body Temperature
The short explanation of tracking your temperature is this: as your body prepares to release an egg, the hormone progesterone increases which causes a 0.5-1.0 increase in your body temperature. Once you chart your temperature for a couple of months you will start to see a pattern, and will be able to see when you normally ovulate.
Checking Cervical Mucus
If you haven’t noticed yet, most things about your cycle go in a particular rhythm, your cervical mucus (aka discharge) is the same. At the beginning of your cycle you will probably notice little to no discharge at all. But during your most fertile time around ovulation, you may notice a change to white or cream colored mucus that is slightly stretchy.
Ovulation Predictor Tests
Similar to a pregnancy test, these urine strips help to predict when you are about to ovulate. Unlike a pregnancy test, two lines is not a “positive” that you are ovulating. One line is the control line, the second is looking to detect an LH surge in your body (Quick, what the heck is an LH surge?!) Since you have small amounts of LH in your system all the time, you may always see a faint second line. You know you have reached your LH surge (meaning you are about to release an egg) when the second line is equal in darkness or darker to the control line.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to make sure you are consistent in the way you do it each day to eliminate the possibility for a fluke result. I would also highly suggest you read over these 10 common fertility mistakes that women often make when trying to conceive. I know I guilty of many of them because of misinformation or old wives tales I’d be told over the years!
Hopefully this helps to shed some light on the basics of ovulation. And if you don’t get pregnant right away, don’t get discouraged. It’s completely normal for it to take up to a year to get pregnant! But if you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your OB and just make sure that you are on the right path. Happy tracking!