Ovulation charting involves using a variety of methods to track the normal processes of your monthly cycle to find the best times for conception. Proper tracking can highlight fertile days within your monthly cycle.
You can try each natural conception method individually or combine the methods with ovulation predictor kits. Simple, home methods include the calendar method, charting basal body temperature (BBT method), and/or charting cervical mucous to determine when you are ovulating.
According to Dr. Paul Chang from TCART Fertility Partners, “For those who enjoy doing math: subtract 14 from your cycle length to determine your date of ovulation. For example, if your cycle length is 28 days, your date of ovulation is the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. Having sex around the date of your ovulation is the optimal time to help you conceive.”
Women using the calendar method will track their menstrual cycles for at least three months before trying to conceive. This method will take into account your first day of your last menstrual cycle, the average length of your cycle (generally not recommended for cycles less than 27 days) and the length of days past ovulation (luteal phase). This method can help you to determine trends and abnormalities in your cycle. Using an advanced charting application can make this easier for you.
What to look for: During the first part of your cycle, your BBT temperature will be low. Right before you ovulate, your BBT will drop even lower (ovulation) then spike over the next 10 days (luteal phase – the average is 10 days; a short luteal phase may make it more difficult to become pregnant). However, once it spikes you will most likely have ovulated, so it is recommended to begin intercourse when the drop in BBT is noticed. A general tip is that you will have ovulated whenever you see a spike in temperature of at least 0.4 degrees above the highest of your previous 6-7 days’ temperatures. Note: Some women will not have a drop in temperature, so look for the spike and make note for the next month.
Ovulation happens when an egg matures and is released from the ovary; it then travels down the fallopian tubes and is ready to be fertilized. The uterine lining becomes thicker in preparation for egg fertilization and implantation if fertilized. If the egg does not become fertilized, conception does not occur and the uterine lining will shed (menstruation).
Factors Affecting Ovulation:
- Health & Wellness
Facts About Ovulation:
- Generally only one egg is released per cycle from your ovaries.
- The egg lives approximately 12-24 hours after being released.
- Women are born with millions of eggs; that number decreases with age.
- In the days leading up to ovulation, your body will increase production of estrogen. Estrogen (specifically estradiol) is what triggers your luteinizing hormone (LH) to surge. (The surges in estrogen are responsible for making the environment more “sperm-friendly” within your body, as well as causing the uterine wall to thicken (progesterone)
- An LH surge is when your luteinizing hormone increases. This surge is generally the day before or day of ovulation when your ovaries release an egg.
- An egg that is unfertilized will disintegrate and be shed with the lining during menstruation.
- Some women experience minor pain or discomfort when ovulating, some experience light spotting.
Conception occurs when a sperm penetrates a mature egg. The fertilized egg starts dividing into many cells and continues its journey down the fallopian tubes into the uterus where it implants itself into the endometrium. The cervix becomes “plugged” by thick mucus in preparation for the next nine months. Your baby will be termed an embryo until the 8th week after fertilization, of which the term for your baby will be fetus!
Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips for Getting Pregnant:
- Stop smoking
- Decrease alcohol intake and stop alcohol intake once pregnant
- Stop recreational drug use
- Discontinue use of contraceptives
- Lower stress levels
- Maintain a healthy diet and remain active
- Know your cycle
- Begin taking vitamins and increase Folic Acid intake
Your partner should follow similar tips in order to be healthy for conception to occur.
If you think you may be pregnant: Use a pregnancy test kit at home and be sure to contact your doctor to make an appointment as soon as possible!