Are you trying to get pregnant? If you are, you should focus on your menstrual cycle more than ever before. Getting pregnant is all about trying on the important days and, for that, you have to start “mapping” your cycle. Here are some tips to help you do that.
Understanding your cycle
When am I most fertile? This is the one question that most women ask, regardless of whether they are trying to get pregnant or to avoid getting pregnant. Typically, a menstrual cycle spans over a period of 28 days. This means that you have approximately seven days in the entire cycle to get pregnant (the Fertility Phase in the image). The window starts five days prior to ovulation. It is important to count the days of your menstrual cycle. The first day of your period (Bleeding Cycle in the image) is DAY 1 of your cycle. The most fertile period is between Days 9 and 15, but it can extend up to Day 18. Also, please note that the cycle length may vary in certain months. If the egg is not fertilized within 12 to 24 hours of ovulation, it will no longer be fertile. Sperm can stay in a woman’s body for up to five days following intercourse and women trying to get pregnant are advised to try every two to three days during a cycle (see more suggestions here).
Things to note
Your body may show a few signs ahead of ovulation. If you are trying to get pregnant, we suggest you keep a diary to understand the cycle for at least a couple of months. There are many apps available for this.
- You may witness a change in your basal body temperature. After ovulation, the basal body temperature may increase slightly, and the rise will continue until the start of your periods. Use a basal body thermometer to record your temperature, especially after the 10th day of your cycle.
- Check your cervical mucus. Use a tissue to check the opening of your vagina every day for mucus. The mucus can be sticky or slippery, depending on your cycle. However, tracking the changes along with basal body temperature can help in understanding the fertile period. During the fertile period, you may have “egg-white” like mucus.
More on ovulation
Ovulation doesn’t occur on the same day every month and, therefore, your calendar isn’t the most effective way to calculate your fertility phase. When the egg is released by the ovaries, there are a few signs that most women experience, although these signs can be mild or subtle for many. You may feel mild abdominal pain on the lower part of the stomach, along with changes in your discharge. Besides the increase in basal body temperature, you may also have increased sex drive.
By age 35, the chances of getting pregnant begin to diminish. Hormonal changes and diseases also impact the odds of getting pregnant. You should talk to your doctor if you have been trying unsuccessfully for a few months. Your doctor might recommend a few tests to identify the underlying cause of your fertility issues. Don’t panic because of FOMOM (the fear of missing out on motherhood). Help is around the corner!