This is a guest post
Trying to get pregnant can be more difficult than you’d ever choose. Even if you’re at the peak of fertility and in perfect health, there are a limited number of days in each menstrual cycle where you even have a chance of getting pregnant. The key step you can take is to identify your most fertile days in advance and make sure you’re targeting those in your plans to conceive. This puts you at a significant advantage compared with people who don’t when their fertile window – the days in each cycle when the lifespan of sperm overlaps with the 24 hours of viability from when an egg is ovulated – will fall.
Finding Out When You Will Be Fertile
Identifying your fertile window means predicting when you will ovulate. Ovulation is the fixed point in this process: men can produce sperm more or less on demand, but women ovulate once a month, approximately, and the egg that is ejected remains fertile for no more than 24 hours.
You have several options for identifying when you’ll be at the peak of your fertility, so let’s take a look at them.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
These are convenient and widely available but are OPKs the answer for you? They work by testing the hormones in your urine, looking for the surge in LH (Luteinising Hormone) that causes ovulation.
The problem with these tests is that they can only tell you after you’ve ovulated: this cuts down on the amount of fertile time you have access to. Also, because they’re based on your hormones, any condition that affects your hormones can cloud the results of the tests. Conditions like PCOS or Hyperthyroidism make it vital for people to track their ovulations, but OPKs can’t necessarily help them.
Tracking your basal body temperature can give you an important insight into your fertility. This is the low level your body temperature drops to overnight when you’re in an extended period of rest. This minimum temperature reacts to your body’s preparations for ovulation, and if you know the pattern to look for, you can use it to identity when you ovulate.
To track your BBT you need to take your temperature (orally, vaginally or rectally for the most accurate results) each morning as soon as you wake up. This gives you access to your BBT, before your metabolism heats your body. Over the course of a month, you may see a drop of a tenth of a degree followed by a raise of a similar amount sustained for three days. This is a marker of ovulation, that tells you how far into your cycle you ovulate so you will always know when you are fertile.