Choosing A Basal Body Temperature Thermometer
Consider purchasing either an electronic or mercury thermometer for gauging basal body temperature. Then, make sure to use the same one throughout the entire measurement period.
Generally speaking, electronic thermometers are safer to use they signal when peak temperature is reached and store all the information for future reference. In contrast, mercury thermometers must be shaken. Also, if a mercury thermometer reading falls between two markings, always choose the lower one.
Q Difference Between Menstruation And Menstruation Cycle
When a woman menstruates, her body discards the lining of the uterus. The blood flows from the uterus through a tiny opening, passing out the blood through the vagina. This is called menstruation.
A menstrual or period cycle is calculated from the first day of the period to the first day of the next period. An average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, but some women may have longer or shorter cycles. It can range from 21 to 35 days in adults and 21 to 45 days in teens.
What Is An Irregular Period
Ovulation PredictorLets start by defining what an irregular period actually is. You dont need a 28-day cycle to be regular. Only about 15 percent of women have a 28-day cycle, says George Carson, a Regina-based OB/GYN. In fact, the normal length of a cycle can vary between 22 to 35 days. So, as long as your cycle falls within that window and runs about the same length each time, its regular.
But, if you cant count your cycle and pinpoint within a day or two when your next period will come, you may be irregular. While there are conditions that can affect the regularity of your periodincluding stress, thyroid conditions, polycystic ovary syndrome , fibroids and moreeven if your irregular cycle isnt the result of a health condition, it can affect your fertility.
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How Long Is A Safe Period
Based on their experiences, many women believe that it is safe to have sex and avoid getting pregnant just after their period starts or before it begins. Beware, fluctuating hormones and changing schedules can make these calculations inaccurate. As a general rule, if your cycle is a regular one , then the seven days before your period should be the safe period. But do not forget that this calculation works only if your periods are regular. Heres what a missed period may mean.
How To Boost Fertility
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , an estimated 35% of infertility cases are caused by a mix of factors involving both partners. So, if you are having difficulty getting pregnant or you just want to increase your chances of getting pregnant faster, here are some steps that you and your partner can take.
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What The Colors Mean
When you open the Health app or Cycle Tracking app, it’s easy to check your period or fertile window at a glance. Here’s what the symbols and colors in the app mean.
A light blue oval marks your predicted six-day fertile window.
Red stripes on a circle mark when your period is predicted to occur.
Solid red circles mark your logged period days.
Purple dots mark days when you logged information.
Cervical Mucus / Ovulation Method
The colour of cervical mucus changes when you are ovulating. Note the colour of cervical mucus every day. A change in colour would indicate that you are in the ovulation phase.
Here is how you can interpret your cervical mucus:
- The flow masks the mucus during menstruation.
- No mucus is produced for a few days after menstruation. These dry days are safe days.
- When the ovum ripens for the next cycle, mucus production increases. It appears yellow, white, or cloudy, and feels sticky.
- Clear, slippery mucus which is stretchable indicates the most fertile days of the cycle.
- A few dry days after clear mucus indicates the onset of the next period.
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How Accurate Are Fertility Apps
“Unless someone is checking ovulation through physical means, like by using an ovulation prediction kit, the cycle app is just providing an estimate of when their fertile days are,” Dr. Chan says.
In fact, a 2018 study found that the accuracy of prediction by menstrual cycle apps was no better than 21%.
What Is A Safe Period To Have Sex
A thumb rule If you are having sex, you can get pregnant! Despite all calculations and theories, there is no definite way to determine when a woman will ovulate, so many factors come into play. Most women ovulate 12 to 14 days before they begin their period, but some women ovulate at a different time. So, figuring out when it is safe to have sex yet avoid pregnancy is quite a guessing game.
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You’re Most Likely To Conceive In The Five Days Around Ovulation
“The most fertile time of your cycle is right around ovulation,” says Minkin.
During ovulation, you release an egg from your ovaries into one of your fallopian tubes where it can be fertilized by sperm. But if that egg isn’t fertilized within 12 to 24 hours, it breaks down and, essentially, dies.
However, the time when you’re most likely to get pregnant is longer than 24 hours. That’s because sperm have a longer lifespan, living inside a person’s body for 3 to 5 days.
So, “if some sperm are deposited a day or so in advance , that’s fine,” says Minkin, because the sperm will still be around when the egg is released.
Therefore, you’re most likely to conceive if you have sex in the five days surrounding ovulation and the day of ovulation. But don’t overdo it.
If you have sex too often, the amount of sperm in each ejaculation might be less concentrated and “it may not be as effective at getting you pregnant,” says Minkin. Once a day, or every other day, seems to give the best results.
How Do I Even Begin To Understand My Cycle
This is it. This is one of the keys to getting pregnant, says Sophocles. She explains that to work out the length of your menstrual cycle, you want to start counting the first day you start bleeding as cycle day one. âThe last day of your cycle the day before your next period begins.â Keep track of the days for not just one month, but several, so you can figure out the length of your average cycle, Sophocles advises. So if your cycle goes from 28 days one month to 32 days the next and 27 the cycle after that, it all amounts to 87 days, which when divided by three cycles, gives you an average cycle length of 29 days. Once you figure out an average cycle length, you can start targeting certain fertile times.
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Am I Pregnant Or Is It Something Else
When you become sexually active, it comes with a lot of what ifs, the main one being am I pregnant? Since many symptoms of pregnancy are not specific only to pregnancy, women often wonder if their symptoms are due to pregnancy or something else entirely. To find out if it is time to consider taking a pregnancy test, check out this article.
One of the best things to do if you are trying to get pregnant, to avoid pregnancy, or to understand your cycle is to track it! There are many different apps for your smartphone, tablet, and/or computer that can help you track when your next period is expected. These applications can also keep notes on your symptoms, and after a few months of use can help you narrow down your expected fertility window/ovulation.
If youre trying to see when your expected fertility window is this month, try our free ovulation calendar.
When To See A Fertility Specialist
Dr. Chan says one of the biggest misconceptions about getting pregnant is that pregnancy can be achieved after only a few tries. Sometimes it can take a few months or even longer.
There are factors in both men and women that can cause infertility.
“If there’s something causing infertility, like poor sperm, blocked fallopian tubes, or advanced age, none of these things can be fixed with an app,” Dr. Chan says. “There’s a limit to the amount of information that technology can provide before you need a real, complete medical evaluation.”
A couple is defined as infertile if conception does not happen after 1 year of unprotected sex for women under age 35, and after 6 months of unprotected sex for women over age 35.
“If you’re still not pregnant after 6-12 months of trying, definitely make an effort to see a fertility doctor,” Dr. Chan says. “If there are other aspects of your medical history that might put you at risk for infertility, such as irregular or no periods, or a history of endometriosis, you should be seen even sooner.”
While apps can help women be more aware of their menstrual cycle, it’s important to regularly see a physician to discuss your birth control options and family planning.
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Who Cannot Use The Safe Period Calculator
Applying the same rule as aboveif you are in the regular 26-day to 32-day cycle and the variation between your longest and your shortest cycle is more than eight days, then it would be risky to use this method.
Do remember that because of hormonal changes, it would be wiser to wait for six months after childbirth to use this method.
Also, because of erratic cycles, this method is not suitable for teenagers or women on the verge of menopause. This method might not work for women who have erratic cycles because of conditions like PCOS and hormonal imbalance.
How Do Ovulation And Pregnancy Work
Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from an ovary. About once a month, an egg matures and is released into the fallopian tube. It then heads toward waiting sperm in the fallopian tubes and uterus.
An egg is viable between 12 and 24 hours after it leaves the ovary. Sperm can stay alive up to five days after having sex. Implantation of an egg, which happens after fertilization, usually takes place 6 to12 days after ovulation.
You can get pregnant immediately after your period. That can happen if you have sex toward the end of your cycle and are approaching your fertile window. On the other hand, the probability of getting pregnant right before your period is low.
If youre tracking ovulation and wait 36 to 48 hours after ovulating, the chance youll conceive is low. The probability for pregnancy decreases the further in the month you are from ovulation.
If pregnancy doesnt occur, the uterine lining will shed and your menstrual period will start.
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How Can I Increase My Chances Of Having A Baby Girl
According to this method, to increase the chance of having a girl, you should have intercourse about 2 to 4 days before ovulation. This method is based on the notion that girl sperm is stronger and survives longer than boy sperm in acidic conditions. By the time ovulation occurs, ideally only female sperm will be left.
What Else Can I Do To Up My Chances Of Getting Pregnant
Something to think about: âIf youâre a 25-year-old woman and youâre struggling to conceive and your partnerâs 40, or 45, itâs also worth going to a reproductive endocrinologist,â Sophocles says. Something the doctor will likely do is examine the semen, she says.
Some doctors say maintaining a healthy diet may help, as might a reduction in stress. Then again, if both are possible, they are good ideas for everyone to try and implement in their lives, whether or not pregnancy is a goal.
Dr. Lauren A. Bishop, M.D., reproductive endocrinologist, assistant professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Columbia University Fertility Center
Dr. Jill Blakeway, DACM, LAc, licensed and board certified acupuncturist and herbalist, found of Yinova Center
Dr. Maria Sophocles, M.D., board certified OB-GYN, and medical director of Womenâs Healthcare of Princeton
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How Do I Know If I Am Fertile Enough To Get Pregnant
If your menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and your period arrives like clockwork, its likely that youll ovulate on day 14. Thats halfway through your cycle. Your fertile window begins on day 10. Youre more likely to get pregnant if you have sex at least every other day between days 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle.
How Does Pregnancy Happen
Conception happens around the time of ovulation when the ovaries release an ova, or egg, which travels through the fallopian tubes and eventually to your uterus.
To reach an egg, sperm must enter the vagina, pass through the cervix and uterus, and reach the fallopian tubes, where fertilization usually occurs.
In order for a pregnancy to take hold, that fertilized egg must then attach to the uterine wall in a process called implantation, which usually occurs 6-12 days after conception.
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When To Have Sex To Get Pregnant
You don’t have to wait for the day you ovulate to have sex. The best time to have sex is when you are most fertile in the days leading up to, during, and immediately after ovulation.
That’s because sperm can survive for 3-5 days inside the fallopian tubes. Basically, it hangs out like a hitchhiker and waits for the egg to pass through and catch a ride to the uterus where implantation occurs.
Once released, an egg can survive for 12-24 hours. So you can also get pregnant by having sex a day or two after ovulation before the egg disintegrates and is flushed out of your system. Once the egg is gone, you must wait until your next ovulation to try again.
Tracking Your Cycle With Physical Ovulation Symptoms
Leading up to ovulation, cervical mucus becomes clear and slippery, with a consistency akin to egg whites. During ovulation, some women feel a twinge of one-sided , sometimes called mittelschmerz, described as sharp or cramping. After ovulation, basal body temperature slightly rises.
quick search online can lead to many free fertility charts you can download and print to help you track your physical symptoms. By taking your basal temperature daily, tracking your menstrual cycle and making notes of how your body physically feels each day, you can, with time, see patterns that can help you better identify the day youre likely to ovulate. If a paper graph or chart feels too old-school, many apps now exist allowing you to easily track these physical signs on your computer or phone, including the new .
However, relying on physical changes alone to manage fertility comes with a few challenges many women dont experience ovulation symptoms, or their symptoms vary from cycle to cycle. And a change in your cervical mucus is the only truly predictive physical symptom.
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How To Track Ovulation When You Have An Irregular Period
While women with regular cycles can simply assume theyre ovulating at the same time each month, its a bit trickier for those with irregular periods. Fortunately, there are a few ways to figure out your bodys schedule.
The first sign to look for is mucus. If you get a lot of clear, sticky mucus in the middle of your menstrual cycle, then youre probably ovulating, says Beth Taylor, an OB/GYN with the Vancouver-based Olive Fertility Centre. The mucus, which is secreted thanks to an increase in estrogen, means your cervix is ready to be penetrated by sperm to get pregnant.
Another way to determine if youre ovulating at all is to track your temperature each morning with a basal body temperature thermometer, which can hone in on small changes up to 1/100th of a degree. After the egg is released in your body, both estrogen and progesterone are flowing. The progesterone causes your bodys temperature to increase by half a degree Celsius .
But this method is a bit tricky for women with irregular cycles. Because the temperature change indicates the egg has already released, it means you need to have sex just before the increase in order to hit your fertile window. Most women track their temperature and use the data to predict when its going to rise in future months. But even if your cycle is a little unpredictable, It can be useful in looking backwards to see: am I likely to ovulate? And when? says Carson.
Where Can I Learn More And Get Support
This is a lot of information! But starting to track your cycle and interpret the data can be a task that requires a little support. Many queer and trans birth workers offer fertility support services to help guide you through this process! The Queer Doula Network Directory is a great way to find someone local to support you through your family-expanding journey. If youre interested in working with me, you can always reach out using the contact form on my website!
I also want to shout out nonbinary midwifeRefuge Midwiferys Beyond the Baster class! This class first introduced me to the ins and outs of cycle tracking and charting. I couldnt recommend more highly!
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