Understanding Your Cycle

Understanding Your Ovulation Cycle

One of the best ways to boost your chances of conception easy and naturally is to understand the monthly cycle that determines when you are fertile.

What is the ?Fertile Window?

This is a 5 or 6 day window in the monthly cycle when a woman is at their most fertile. This time is during the lead-up to ovulation, which is when an egg is released and travels down the fallopian tube. While the egg only survives for a day after ovulation, sperm can survive for anything up to a week inside the body. It stands to reason that if there is sperm inside the body from 5-6 days before ovulation until the day after the egg is released, that there is a better chance of the sperm meeting the egg and fertilisation occurring.

When is Ovulation?

Knowing when your fertile window falls relies on knowing when you ovulate. Ovulation usually occurs 2 weeks before a menstrual period, the average is 14 days but anything between 12 and 15 days is normal. This time, between ovulation and the beginning of the menstrual period, is known as the luteal phase and while it may vary in length from woman to woman, it will usually be the same each month for the individual. This means you will usually ovulate around the middle of your cycle; if your cycle is longer or shorter than the 28 day average then you might find that the time between your menstrual period coming to an end and ovulation occurring is much longer or shorter than another woman with a different cycle. The key is to know your cycle well by recording your dates and looking out for changes that occur when you ovulate, including changes in cervical mucus, temperature and how you feel.

Increasing your Chances of Conception

Even if you know your cycle well and do all you can to ensure you have sex before and during the fertile window each month, your own cycle may vary from month to month. Very few women have a completely regular cycle because the cycle is easily influenced by outside factors such as stress, changes in weight and normal hormonal fluctuations. This means that your own cycle is not always easy to predict and therefore your fertile window might not occur when you were anticipating. The best way to make sure that the released egg will be met by sperm is to have sex every couple of days throughout the month.

Very Irregular Periods

It is a myth that those with a very irregular menstrual cycle are necessarily less fertile. Even those who miss periods and those have very heavy or very light periods may still ovulate. The best way to establish if your menstrual cycle is just irregular or if the irregular cycle is a symptom of a condition which may affect your fertility is to speak to your doctor. Simple investigations could reassure you that you will be perfectly able to conceive or help you maximise your chances if there is a fertility issue.