Getting pregnant does not always happen when you would like it to. Some couples decide it is time to have kids and within a month or two they are announcing they are pregnant. Other couples try month after month without success. If you are one of the couples having difficulty, do not feel discouraged. It is estimated that 25 percent of couples trying to conceive experience problems with fertility. There have been great advances in infertility treatments over the last ten years. A better understanding of the reproductive system may help to solve the problem.
Knowing when you are most fertile is a significant step towards conception. This will be the few days a month when you are ovulating. Ovulation is when the ovaries release an egg and it is deposited in the uterus. Your menstrual cycle begins with the first day of your period and ends with the last day before your period. Ovulation will typically occur mid cycle. Once released the egg is only viable for fertilization for 24 hours. Sperm can survive for approximately 72 hrs. If you do the math you will see that the2 to 3 days before you ovulate are the best days to try for conception. Knowing exactly which day you are going to ovulate may seem difficult, but here are some helpful tools.
Ovulation test kits measure the amount of Luteinising Hormone (LH) in your urine stream. Prior to ovulation there is a surge of LH in your system to cue the ovaries to release an egg. This happens approximately two weeks after your period. You will need to know how long your menstrual cycle normally is, as cycles can vary from 28 to 34 days. Ovulation test kits come with step by step instructions and will supply a chart to help you determine which days to start testing your urine. It is important to test urine at the same time every day. False positive results can occur as a result of some oral medications. Check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. When the test strip detects higher levels of LH that means ovulation will occur within the next 48 hours. This is when you should have intercourse. Ovulation test kits are available at any drugstore or online at many fertility or pregnancy websites.
Another method is charting your basal body temperature (BBT). This method requires you to measure your body temperature during the first few hours of waking. By charting these temperatures over a period of time you will be able to determine when you are ovulating. During your menstrual cycle there are two hormones that play important roles. Estrogen is the hormone that is active in your system during the first half of your cycle, also called the follicular phase. Estrogen helps to trigger the ovaries to release an egg. When ovulation occurs Progesterone is released to help prepare the uterus for possible implantation. These changes within the body create fluctuations in your BBT. Typically, you can expect to see a decrease in BBT just prior to ovulation and then a significant increase, approximately.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more, once the egg has been released. Your BBT’s will remain high if conception takes place, but will return to their base line if your period starts. By tracking and charting your temperatures you will be able to know when the best times are for intercourse. A digital thermometer that measures to the tenth of a degree is easiest to use. You can make your own chart to keep track of your temperatures or download and print one from an infertility treatment website. If you are uncertain about your temperatures or do not see any change in BBT consult your doctor.
Like so many aspects of life a little understanding goes along way. Maximize your chances using these tools. If you still are unable to conceive after 1 year, or 6 months if over 35, talk to your doctor about infertility treatment options.