Trying to conceive? It starts with a conscious decision, but there’s no guarantee when that moment of conception will happen for sure. Everything must come together at the right time—it’s no wonder why babies are called miracles!
Knowing when you ovulate is the best way to increase your chances of getting pregnant. This understanding of the natural processes your body goes through is called fertility awareness, allowing you to estimate when your fertile days are through regular menstrual cycles (you may also know it as family planning or the rhythm method). There are many ways to practice this, like measuring your body temperature every morning or checking your cervical mucus (your vaginal discharge) on the daily. But by far the easiest, most accessible method is to keep a fertility calendar.
A woman can only conceive a few days in her cycle—we call this the fertile window. It varies for every woman, but what is constant is it is dependent on the day of ovulation, when your ovary releases an egg to the Fallopian tube. Pregnancy occurs when this egg is fertilized during sexual intercourse. And of course, all conditions must be met: at least one healthy sperm must be able to fertilize this egg within the 24 hours after ovulation. Sperm can live for up to 5 days inside the female body, so it is possible to get pregnant before ovulation.
WHO IS THE FERTILITY CALENDAR FOR?
Since the fertility calendar method looks at the patterns of your menstrual cycle, it is most reliable for women with regular cycles, or a more or less consistent cycle length. (If you are irregular and ready to take the plunge into motherhood, it’s still best to consult with your GP.)
Even if you’re not actively trying to conceive, keeping a fertility calendar can help you, too! Monitoring your reproductive health and being aware of your all the changes in your body allows you to manage it properly and to stay always in control of your life. Important note if you’re using the calendar method as a form of birth control: as with all other contraceptives, it’s not 100% certain!
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
So how to identify your fertile window? You can do this with a calendar, or better yet, a period tracking app. A history of at least 3 cycles will work, but more is ideal. You’ll need these 2 pieces of information:
- The first day of your cycle, or the first day of menstruation. (Note: tracking this also comes in handy for various medical check-ups, like urine tests. Let your app do the remembering for you!)
- Your cycle length. This is counted from the first day of menstruation until the first day of the next. The average cycle is 28 days, but anything between 21 to 35 days is normal for adults.
Ovulation usually happens 14 days or 2 weeks before your period would start again. Let’s say you have your period on October 1 and you have a 28-day cycle. Your fertile window would be from October 11-15, with your day of ovulation being on October 14.
Your body will not tell you outright that you are ovulating (Hey, it’s been happening and you never knew, right?), but it will give off some symptoms. Hormonal changes, particularly a surge in estrogen, may cause the following:
- Breast soreness or tenderness
- Increase in basal body temperature up to 1 degree
- Change in vaginal discharge consistency (It may appear clear and stretchy.)
- Light spotting or discharge, usually brown
- Mild pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Libido spikes caused by a heightened sense of smell, as you are more attracted to male pheromones
All clear? Now that we’ve gotten your fertile window identified, let’s look into your lifestyle choices. Some tips to help you keep at your fertile prime:
1. Keep a well-balanced diet. Deficiency in nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin C have been linked to longer menstrual cycles, meaning decreased ovulation. Take a well-balanced diet, and consider a multivitamin supplement. You will especially want the super-vitamin folic acid, recommended as a prenatal vitamin due to its can help reduce instances of birth defects on top of hearth health benefits. Doppelherz Aktiv Omega3 + Folic Acid is a glorious mix of vitamins and amino acids that supports a healthy pregnancy.
2. Avoid caffeine. While it’s still safe to drink coffee while you’re trying to conceive (that’s 200mg or up to two 8-ounce cups), it’s best to avoid your cup of joe due to its diuretic properties, which impacts the consistency of your cervical fluid. If you absolutely need an energy boost, try Roarganics Maca Root Powder. Mix it with smoothies, oats, or a homemade protein bar for razor-sharp focus without the caffeine, while keeping your hormones balanced.
3. You want to keep your hormones stable—a tell-tale sign is if your menstrual cycle stays regular. Stressors can throw off your body! Reduce stress as much as possible, keep a balanced, steady working schedule. Sip on some relaxing tea, and what better than Tinytea’s aptly-named Fertility Tea, which has an assortment of Chinese herbs that help treat reproductive health concerns such as PCOS and endometriosis. Pop some of these Relax Stress Support Formula from Herbs of the Earth, too. On top of regulating hormones, this supplement contains advanced multivitamins and mineral complex that provides relief from anxiety and promotes cognitive heath!
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