In my Facebook Fertility Support Group so many women ask questions about Ovulation. So I have put together my most FAQ’s to answer some of the questions you might have about your cycle and ovulation, but also to dispel some of those myths!
Ovulation doesn’t always occur on day 14
In fact, very rarely. It is an absolute fact that many women have no idea as to when they are most fertile. This is not helped by us health professionals that tell you that you are fertile on day 14 of your cycle. Total myth! Sure, if you have a 28 day cycle you will be fertile around day 14 but very few women have a 28 day cycle! For example a women who has a 24 day cycle will ovulate sooner than day 14 and a woman who has a 32 day cycle, later. I often wonder how many couples out there are waiting for the magic ‘day 14′ only to be too late or way too early.
The life of the egg is very short
The life of the ovum (egg) is only 12-24 hours. You could be excused for wondering how anyone ever gets pregnant! The good news however, is that sperm hangs around a bit longer than the ovum, and lives for about 5 days (and can be up to 7) so the chances of sperm meeting egg is increased. However, that’s only if you are having sex at the right time.
Have sex every 2-3 days to maximise conception
Research shows that sex every 2-3 days throughout the cycle produces healthy sperm. You then have good strong sperm for around the time of ovulation, rather than only having sex around ovulation and hoping that the old and less mobile sperm will do the job. Clearly, you may want to concentrate your efforts a little more around the fertile time.
Basal Body temperature rises following ovulation
A woman’s body temperature rises immediately following ovulation and therefore recording oral BBT alone is of little use. Once you notice a temperature rise ovulation has already occurred and you may be to late. A temperature rise however is a great indication that you have ovulated and therefore very reassuring that everything is working correctly, but to be used accurately, you need to also monitor another fertility indicator at the same time.
Cervical secretions are the most reliable indicator of fertility
Throughout the month a woman’s cervical secretions change from no secretions (known as dry days) to fertile secretions. Once learned, this method is a very reliable way of determining when you are become fertile, when you ovulate and when your fertile time has ended.
You can monitor your cervix to tell you when you are fertile
The final naturally fertility indicator is our cervix (neck of the womb), the cervix changes in feel and position throughout the cycle. This method is a little more complex to learn, but for many women who don’t notice cervical secretions it is increbilve useful. So, if you put these three indicators together and learn how to accurately identify them, you can determine when you are most fertile. Not only that, after you have had your baby, this skill (with a little more understanding) can be used to avoid pregnancy as a natural and effective (up to 99%) method of contraception.
Stress can affect ovulation
If you are under stress, are suffering from an illness or have some disruption to your lifestyle, your date of ovulation can easily be affected. Unless you are monitoring your cycles using the natural fertility indicators the first time you are likely to be aware that your date of ovulation has changes is when your period is either early or late. In general, in a normal cycle your period will always occur 10-16 days following ovulation.
You need to have a good luteal phase for pregnancy to occur.
For an implanting pregnancy to be supported, the length of the second part of your cycle (the luteal phases) needs to be greater than 9 days. This gives enough time for the hormone progesterone to act on the lining of the womb (endometrium) and thicken it enough to allow implantation to take place.
How you can help to increase your luteal phase.
There are a number of natural ways you can help to increase your luteal phase. Have a read of another blog I wrote on natural remedies to increase the luteal phase. There are also medical treatments such as proegesterone therapy that you can talk to your Doctor about.
Ovulation Predictor kits (OPK’s) are not always accurate.
OPK’s determine whether lutenising hormone (LH) is dected. LH rises right before ovulation occurs, and therefore OPK’s detect that ovulation is going to occur. However women with conditions such as PCOS or dimished ovarian reserve have higher levels of LH and therefore OPK’s can give false positive result. As there are 1:10 women in the UK who have PCOS and many more that are yet diagnosed, this equates to a large amount of women that OPK’s will not work for.
You can conceive from sex that occurs before ovulation.
Any sex that you have during your fertile time prior to ovulation can result n a pregnancy. This is because the life of the sperm is 5 days and on occasions up to 7. Therefore having sex in the 5 days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation gives you the best chance. There are no recorded pregnancies from sex that occurred on the day after ovulation.
Ovulatory pain is not a reliable indicator of ovulation.
Women report many signs of ovulation. Such as breast tenderness, bloating, heightened sense of smell and taste and ovulation pain. Whilst these may be due to ovulation, the subjective nature of these symptoms and that they could be based on pure coincidence, means that they are not termed reliable indicators. Recording your natural fertility indicators such as temperature, cervical secretions and cervical position are all methods of observing for ovulation.
Having a period does not necessarily mean that ovulation has taken place.
Some women have what is termed as an-ovulatory cycles (meaning no ovulation) and can experience some bleeding that is mistaken for a period. However this is not the case. The bleeding is due to either a build-up of endometrium that cannot be sustained or by a drop in oestrogen levels. Monitoring temperature is a good way to confirm whether or not ovulation has taken place.
Contraception delays return of fertility.
When stopping hormonal contraception it can take awhile for your fertility to return. When you initially stop the combined oral contraceptive you may be very fertile for the first month however after this time it is likely that your fertility will take a number of months to return completely. Your fertility is likely to take longer to return after stopping the contraceptive injection and could be as long as 9+ months.