If you’re currently trying to get pregnant or indeed if you’re trying not to, there are some ways to help pinpoint your best dates.
We know so much now about trying to get pregnant, trying not to conceive and how to best position ourselves (no pun intended) for either to happen. But whichever camp you fall into, it’s helpful to read up on fertility basics to help guide you to either having a baby or having your next period.
Dr. Jill Purdie, an American obstetrician and gynaecologist, told Today.com something we (hopefully) already know, is that “a woman is the most fertile at the time of ovulation”.
However, Purdie also says the timing of ovulation depends on the length of the menstrual cycle. “Women can typically get pregnant about three to four days prior to ovulation and one to two days after ovulation,” she says.
So what are the signs to look out for that you might be ovulating?
If your menstrual cycle is typically regular, this fertile window should be predictable.
“If a person has a 28-day cycle, ovulation will occur at day 14 and the next period will start 14 days after that,” Purdue says. “If the person has a shorter cycle, say 25 days, ovulation will occur sooner around cycle day 11.”
An egg can only be fertilised for about 24 hours following ovulation, while a man’s sperm can live in a woman’s body for anywhere between three and five days.
Tracking ovulation assesses if an egg is being released or not. “Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and the eggs age as the woman ages,” Dr Purdie explains.
“There are blood tests that can be done to predict ovarian reserve to determine if a woman has a reasonable number of eggs remaining; however, there is no test to look at quality of those eggs.”
There are plenty of apps available that can be incredibly handy in tracking the dates of your cycle, and they also often track symptoms, temperature, hormonal fluctuations and more.
Flo Health and Natural Cycles are two decent ones available for free. But tracking your period mightn’t be straightforward if your cycle is very irregular – however Dr Purdie says there are still ways to recognise the ovulation dates.
“They can look for signs of ovulation, such as increased cervical discharge. They can also use basal body temperature charting.”
“Women will typically get an increase in their body temperature the day after they ovulate,” Purdie says.
Women with irregular cycles may also use ovulation prediction kits – yes, yet more peeing on sticks for those of us TTC. These kits detect the hormone which is responsible for causing the ovary to release the egg.