Posted On 29 Oct 2019
It is great to know how to calculate your ovulation cycle, especially when trying to conceive. When you are trying to fall pregnant, it can be helpful to know when ovulation occurs and when you are most fertile.
While you are trying to know how to calculate your ovulation cycle and fall pregnant, you should first know what that the term ovulation means.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from one of the ovaries. This occurs every month or rather is expected to occur every month except when there are gynecological conditions that can disrupt the occurrence.
A woman is most fertile around the time of ovulation.
When Does Ovulation Usually Occur?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ovulation takes place around 14 days before a woman expects to have their next period if their monthly cycle is 28 days.
The most common pattern for women whose cycles are regular is for ovulation to occur 14 days before the next period is due. But if your cycles aren’t regular, it simply means ovulation will not occur on day 14, since you don’t know precisely when to expect your next period.
How Long Does Ovulation Last?
Ovulation lasts between 12 and 24 hours. This is how long the egg released by the ovary is feasible.
By 12-24 hours after ovulation, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that menstrual cycle because the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube.
Right Time to Have Sex for Conception
The right time for sex for conception is during your fertile window.
When a mature egg is released from the ovary, the egg travels down the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized. If sperm is in the fallopian tube when the egg is released, there is a good chance that the egg will be fertilized, forming an embryo, which can develop into a baby.
For you to fall pregnant, you should have sex during the five days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation.
Your most fertile days are the three days preceding ovulation and including your ovulation day. Having sex during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant.
Your Fertile Window and Your Most Fertile Day
The section of the cycle around ovulation is called the fertile window. This is your ovulation day and the five days preceding your ovulation day.
The most fertile day is the day an egg is released from the ovary. This day is your ovulation day.
The most fertile day is not the same for every woman, this is because the menstrual cycle is also not the same.
Most women have a cycle of 28 days, while for some women, it maybe 29, 30, 31, 32 or even shorter. Therefore your most fertile day will be very different.
Your fertile window and your most fertile day highly depend on your menstrual cycle which is the first day of your menses to the last day before your next menses begin.
To easily explain this, one can use a baseline of 28 days since most women have a cycle of 28 days, this is to say your menses is stable and is not fluctuating, then one can say your most fertile day will be on day 14 counting from your first day of menstruation.
If a woman ovulates on day 14 and has unprotected sex, she can conceive on that day or within the following 24 hours.
Sperm can survive for up to 5 days inside the female reproductive system. So, even if a woman misses her ovulation day and did not have sex on day 14 or 15, it is still possible to become pregnant if she had unprotected sex on days 9 to 13. This is because her fertile window began a few days before ovulation.
Ovulation Symptoms and Signs to Observe
Before ovulation, estrogen levels increase, and soon, progesterone levels increase. You can look for signs of increased estrogen levels to know that your body is preparing to ovulate, and you can look for signs of increased progesterone to confirm that ovulation occurred.
Signs of ovulation that you should look out for:
- Your basal body temperature falls slightly, then rises again.
- Your cervical mucus becomes wetter, clearer, with a more slippery vaginal discharge similar to egg white.
- Your cervix softens and opens up.
- You may feel a mild cramp in your lower abdomen.
- Your vulva or vagina may appear swollen.
- Your sex drive may increase.
Conditions That Can Hinder Ovulation
Several factors can prevent a woman from falling pregnant, one of these factors is ovulation disorders.
Ovulation disorders mean that you ovulate infrequently or you are not ovulating at all.
Ovulation disorders can be caused by problems with the regulation of reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, or problems in the ovary. These problems can be:
- Excess physical or emotional stress.
- Being too overweight or too underweight can affect ovulation.
- Sleep disruption
- Hypothalamic dysfunction, you may have problems with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Premature ovarian failure.
How to Calculate Your Ovulation Cycle
Most women have different length of the menstrual cycle. This makes it difficult for you to know when you ovulate.
The best approach to calculating your ovulation cycle is to know your average menstrual cycle length. With this approach, irrespective of the length of your menstrual cycle, you can easily know when you will likely ovulate.
How to Calculate Your Average Menstrual Cycle Length
Based on the length of three menstrual cycles, you can calculate your average menstrual cycle length to predict when you are most likely going to ovulate.
To do this, add the number of days in three cycles and divide the total number by three, this will give you your average cycle length.
Let’s take an example (let’s get practical here, take a pen and paper to calculate your average menstrual cycle length)
Count your last three menstrual cycles by counting from the first day of one period to the day before your next period.
Cycle 1 was 28 days; Cycle 2 was 29 days; Cycle 3 was 33 days
28 + 29 + 33= 90
90 divided by 3 = 30
This means that your average menstrual cycle length is 30 days.
Now that you can calculate your average menstrual cycle length, let’s go ahead and calculate your most fertile day.
Know that ovulation happens about 14 days before your period starts.
Let’s use the average menstrual cycle length of 30 days we just calculated. Therefore:
Average menstrual cycle length = 30 days
Ovulation before next period =14 days
30 days minus 14 days = 16 days.
If your average menstrual cycle length is 30 days, you will ovulate around day 16 in your next cycle, and your most fertile days are days 14, 15 and 16.
Let’s take another example using an average menstrual cycle length of 28 days. Therefore:
Average menstrual cycle length = 28 days
Ovulation before next period =14 days
28 days minus 14 days = 14 days.
If your average menstrual cycle length is 28 days, you will ovulate around day 14 in your next cycle, and your most fertile days are days 12, 13 and 14.
Let’s take one last example, using a shorter cycle of an average menstrual cycle length of 22 days. Therefore:
Average menstrual cycle length = 22 days
Ovulation before next period =14 days
22 days minus 14 days = 8 days.
If your average menstrual cycle length is 22 days, you will ovulate around day 8 in your next cycle, and your most fertile days are days 6, 7 and 8.
Calculating your average cycle length and observing ovulation signs will give you more accurate results when trying to fall pregnant.
Ovulation calculators try to estimate when ovulation will occur, but these are not 100 percent accurate. If you are relying solely on this then you may miss your ovulation day. For most women, the fertile window does not fall entirely within the days predicted by clinical guidelines. It’s much more reliable to follow the physiological signs and symptoms of ovulation.
How to Increase Your Chances of Falling Pregnant
Have regular sexual intercourse
When you desire to fall pregnant, you should actively be trying to conceive. There is no short cut about it, whether you like sex or not is irrelevant in this matter.
I have asked some women who visit our fertility center and sometimes during a phone consultation, how actively have they been trying to conceive? And I get answers like once in a week and I am like what???
Actively trying to conceive means you are having regular sexual intercourse. Having sex every 2-3 days covers all bases and increases your chances of falling pregnant.
Reduce your alcohol consumption and avoid smoking
Alcohol consumption can reduce fertility in both men and women. Tobacco smoking also, can reduce your fertility and harm a developing fetus.
Focus on your goal of getting pregnant. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to achieve what you want to achieve?
When you find out you may need fertility support to fall pregnant, map out your plans to conceive and stay focus.
One of the things to look out for is locating a good fertility center.
When you find a good fertility center, you should stay with them to work out your fertility goals.
You should be able to relate your fertility goals with the fertility expert and they may be able to work with you in achieving your goals.
So many women have gone into depression trying to fall pregnant, moving from one fertility center to another in a very short period.
From my experiences working with our clients, I have discovered that staying focus helps you achieve your pregnancy goals within a shorter period.
In our natural fertility clinic, we work with our clients from when they begin to use our fertility products, through the stages of pregnancy and until delivery.
I have written a post concerning increasing your chances of falling pregnant, you will find it helpful. You can check out my post on 10 Tips for Couples Trying to Conceive.
Terms to get familiar with:
Your menstrual cycle – Your menstrual cycle is the first day of your menses to the last day before your next menses begins.
Your fertile window – This is your ovulation day and the five days preceding your ovulation day.
Your most fertile day – This day is your ovulation day. The day your egg is released from your ovary.
Your most fertile days – Your most fertile days are the three days preceding ovulation and including your ovulation day.
Your cervical mucus – This is your vaginal discharge that follows a predictable pattern throughout the menstrual cycle.
Your fertile cervical mucus – This is the clearer, slippery vaginal discharge similar to egg white.
Your average luteal phase – This is the time between ovulation and the next menstrual period which is 14 days long.
Ovulation – This is the release of a mature egg from one of the ovaries.
Menstruation or period – This is the normal vaginal bleeding that occurs monthly.
Some women have very irregular cycles or find it difficult to work out an average cycle length. This can make it hard to work out when ovulation occurs.
Supporting your reproductive system helps to enhance your ovulation and fertility. You will find OvuCare and FertilXtra for Women very helpful.
OvuCare is put together to help you produce healthy cervical mucus to increase your chances of falling pregnant while FertilXtra for Women is put together to balance your hormones and enhance your fertility.
I would like to know how you have been tracking your ovulation and what has worked for you, please leave your comment below.
Benney loves writing and has been writing fertility articles since 2014. She advocates for natural fertility, and support men and women through their fertility journey. She consults for FERTIL-24 natural fertility clinic, Port Harcourt.
Benney loves God and nature.
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