Even if your cycle length is 28 days, that does not mean you will ovulate on cycle day 14 because your luteal phase may not be 14 days long. Your luteal phase is the number of days between ovulation day and when your period starts again. The luteal phase length hardly changes. A normal luteal phase can be anywhere between 10 and 16 days. It must be at least 10 days in order to sustain a pregnancy (if you find that your luteal phase is less than 10 days, than you may need progesterone therapy.) Therefore, if you had a 28 day cycle, with a 10 day luteal phase, that means you ovulate on day 18! Or if you had a 28 day cycle with a 15 day luteal phase, that means that you ovulate on day 13. This is why you cannot rely on the calendar method and why so many that do, fail to get pregnant. Their cycle is not the "standard" 28 day cycle with a 14 day luteal phase.
You must check your basal body temperatures to determine the length of your luteal phase. The fertility awareness method discusses how to check this and other fertility signals. To learn how to check your luteal phase and discover when you are most fertile, sign up for our email club. Get your free fertility e-report here.
There is a difference between fertile and ovulation. Ovulation is when your body releases an egg that can be fertilized if a sperm penetrates it. When that egg is released, it usually lives for up to a day. That day is called Ovulation day. For several days just prior to ovulation, your body produces "fertile" cervical fluid. Sperm can survive in fertile cervical fluid. Therefore, you are fertile during the time that you have fertile cervical fluid up through the day of ovulation. Fertile cervical fluid is wet, slimy and slippery (and even stretchy) like egg whites or kind of like semen. I check my cervical fluid by inserting a clean finger in my vagina and swiping around in there while I am squatting in the shower. You get a good sample that way.
You must check your fertility signals to find out when you ovulate each month. Your cervical fluid will tell you that you are "approaching" ovulation. By checking your morning temperatures, you will confirm that ovulation indeed past.
To confirm that ovulation has past, you need to take your morning temperatures every morning before getting out of bed and observe at least a .2 degrees shift up in temperatures than any of the last six temperatures before it. My pre-ovulation temperatures usually run between 97.0 and 97.9. After ovulation, my temperatures usually jump up to between 98.1 and 98.4. You have to find out what's normal for you, but my temperatures are pretty "normal" and can give you an idea.
To achieve conception, strategically time intercourse to occur at least every other day during your "fertile" window and on ovulation day. In order to keep up with this, you must chart your findings on a fertility chart.
You will not know the length of your luteal phase until you know when you ovulated. Your luteal phase starts the day after ovulation and goes through the day before you start your period (day of bright red flow).
After ovulation is passed, you cannot get pregnant. Your luteal phase is when you experience "premenstrual" symptoms.
In order to determine your luteal phase, you need to track your basal body temperatures during the month. Take your temperature right when you wake up in the morning at the same time everyday (within an hour). Do not get out of bed (even to go to the bathroom) when you take your temperature. You will observe that before ovulation, your temperatures stay in a "low" range. After ovulation, you will notice your temperatures in a new "high" range. My low range is between 97.0 and 97.9. My high range is between 98.1 and 98.4.
The day you observe the thermal shift you can start counting as day 1 of your luteal phase. Once your period starts again, you count the day before as the last day of your luteal phase.
If things are normal, your luteal phase can be between 10 to 16 days. Usually it is between 10 to 14 days. Your luteal phase needs to be a minimum of 10 days in order for you to be able to sustain a pregnancy. Your luteal phase is not supposed to vary, but I have been tracking mine for over a year, and it has varied a little bit (between 12 and 13 days -- I had one weird cycle in which it was actually 10 days).
You may have a luteal phase defect if you have a short luteal phase, which may be indicative of a progesterone deficiency. If you have been tracking your cycles and are coming up with less than 10 days for your luteal phase, you should consult your health care provider. If your luteal phase is too short, then a fertilized egg may not have sufficient time to embed properly in the uterus before the uterus lining begins to detach for your period. Though this defect will not hinder conception, it will hinder your ability to stay pregnant.
If you are trying to plan for pregnancy, you also need to track your cervical fluid consistency. Your cervical fluid consistency tells you when you are fertile and therefore approaching ovulation. The basal body temperature readings help you confirm that ovulation has passed. Together, they give you a complete picture of your fertility cycle.
Are you trying to figure out when fertile days are approaching in your monthly cycle? You don't have to guess. And you don't have to buy expensive equipment to find out. You are considered "fertile" during the few days before ovulation day and including ovulation day. How do you know when those days are? You have to check your cervical fluid and know when you have "fertile" cervical fluid.
Checking your cervical fluid does not involve any supplies. Some suggest just swiping the opening of the vagina with a finger or toilet paper, but I have found it most helpful to insert a clean finger within the vagina and swipe around inside. I usually do it when I am in the shower squatting. This way, I get a good sample of what kind of fluid I have.
Cervical fluid changes throughout the month. After your period is over, you may find that your finger comes out pretty clean. That's normal. Within a few days, you will probably start observing some type of cervical fluid. It starts off "not fertile", which is usually sticky or gooey or dry. Then it will start to get wetter (another few days or so) and become more gooey wet or creamy. Then when you have reached your "fertile period", it will become slimy and slippery with a clear or streaked coloring. Your fertile fluid looks and feels a lot like egg whites or semen. You may even be able to stretch it between you fingers. How long fertile? you may wonder. Your body will produce this fertile fluid for up to 5 five days or so before ovulation day. When you find this fertile fluid, your body can support the life of sperm, which can live in this fluid for up to five days. It is during this time, that you are fertile and therefore should aim to have intercourse at least every other day throughout this time up through ovulation day.
How do you know when ovulation day is? You will observe a shift in your morning temperatures of at least .2 degrees to a higher range the day after ovulation day. You need to be taking your temperature every morning around the same time before you get out of bed to even go to the bathroom. Record these temperatures. They will stay in a low range before ovulation. My low range is between 97.0 and 97.9. After ovulation day, my temperatures rise to 98.1 to 98.4. (Each person's temps are different, but mine are pretty normal.) The last day of low temperatures is ovulation day. Your cervical fluid will dry up either the day of ovulation or the day after ovulation.
In summary, you are fertile during the days that you have fertile cervical fluid before the shift up in morning temperatures. Join the Bonded From Birth email club and receive your special e-report to learn more about how to track your fertility signals. Get your free fertility e-report here.
I'm sure you're already aware that drinking and smoking are big no-no's when you're trying to get pregnant. But is just one glass of wine after work a problem?
A recent research study that looked at the effect of lifestyle and fertility found that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a week significantly lowered a woman's chance of pregnancy, specifically if the woman already is having trouble conceiving.
Also, according to the March of Dimes, no amount of alcohol has been proven to be 100% safe in pregnancy. To be on the safe side, you should avoid drinking while you are trying to get pregnant.
What about your partner? Drinking has also been linked to lower fertility rates in men, as well as an increased risk of miscarriage. According to one study, which evaluated the effect of alcoholic consumption on IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) success, for every additional drink the man consumed, the risk of conception not leading to a live birth increased by 2 to 8 times. This was true for beer drinking as well. Not only should you avoid alcoholic drinks, your partner should also abandon alcohol.
If either of you are smokers, be aware that smoking has a strong impact on your fertility. When either partner smokes, you are lowering your fertility, increasing the risk of miscarriage, and putting your unborn baby's health at risk. Before you continue with trying to get pregnant, please try to quit smoking first.
Freelance Contributor: Crystel Cortez
Smoking and Reproductive Life, by the BMA's board of Science and Tobacco Control Resource Centre
Stephen EH, Chandra A. Updated projections of infertility in the United States: 1995-2025. Fertil Steril. 1998 Jul;70(1):30-4.
There is a decreased chance of getting pregnant as women age. Fertility naturally starts to decline at age 20, but after age 35, fertility decreases rapidly.
It is generally believed that women are born with a finite number of eggs. By puberty this number is expected to be around 250,000! Even though we likely only have a finite number of eggs, we have more than enough to accommodate our monthly use of a few of them over many many years. In fact, fewer than 500 oocytes are released in a woman's life time.
How do we use up our eggs? Each month in preparation for ovulation, the body selects several eggs, called oocytes, to continue their development, until one (and in rare cases, 2) oocyte is chosen to finish maturation. Ovulation occurs when that chosen oocyte is released from the ovary and made available for fertilization if there are sperm present.
As we approach menopause, our supply of eggs has diminished and ovulation may not occur on a monthly basis. Due to irregular ovulation and diminished fertile cervical mucus, conception may be more difficult if you are over 40 years old, but it is not impossible. Staying closely in tune with your fertility signals can help you time intercourse appropriately.
Freelance Contributor: Crystel Cortez
Tietze C. Reproductive Span and Rate of Conception Among Hutterite Women. Fertility and Sterility. 1957; 8: 89-97.
Marieb E. Human Anatomy and Physiology. Seventh Edition. Benjamin Cummings: San Francisco, 2007. 1091-92.
Fertility Awareness is getting in tune with your menstrual cycle so that you know when you are fertile, when you likely ovulated, and when you are past ovulation. Ovulation, which occurs one day a month, is when your body releases an egg to be fertilized. By checking your fertility signals, you can know exactly where you are at in your cycle. Your two primary fertility signals include cervical mucus and basal body temperatures. Cervical mucus is the fluid that leaks out of your cervix, down your vaginal canal and out of your vagina. It changes consistency throughout the month based on where you are at in your cycle. Several days before ovulation, your cervical mucus becomes slimy, stretchy and clear, which tells you that ovulation is soon to happen. Basal body temperatures are your resting temperatures. They stay in a low range before ovulation and rise to a high range after ovulation. Fertility awareness involves checking and keeping a a record of your cervical mucus and basal body temperatures throughout the month. Gathering this helpful information only takes a few minutes every day. Every woman who wants to take charge of her gynecological health should consider practicing fertility awareness.
Are you trying to conceive? This blog contains articles that will answer questions on how our menstrual cycle works and how to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.
FREE E-Report: When Are You Most Fertile
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