Many of us spend so many years worrying about getting pregnant that we don’t often understand when the fertile window is to maximise this.
The key to understanding your fertile window is working out when you ovulate!
Unfortunately, the Fertility App algorithms can often get their predictions on ovulation wrong, especially for those with cycles that vary in length. These predictions are a good guide, but the best way to know when you’re ovulating is to look for signs within your body. We teach clients how to better understand and recognise their fertile window by tuning into their own body and signs such cervical mucus, cervix position, basal body temperature (BBT) charting, libido and mood changes.
From a practical perspective, observing your cervical mucus is one of our favourite ways of recognising your fertile window. Major benefits are that it tells you BEFORE you ovulate giving you time to plan for sex (or insemination).
As you approach ovulation, there is an increase in oestrogen which leads to increased cervical mucus. The consistency will also change to being more stretchy and viscous-like, often described as “egg white” consistency. Not only is this a good indicator of your fertile window, but it also acts as a natural lubricant and the Ph level of the vagina is a more receptive environment for the sperm and actually helps assist its journey to the egg. Do you notice this change? We will be giving more information on how to assess and improve your cervical mucous in a later blog. After ovulation, the increase in progesterone changes the cervical mucus to become sticky and thick. This creates a more difficult environment for the sperm to travel in.
BBT charting will tell you AFTER you have ovulated but can be a great tool for us as practitioners to get more information on your cycle.
Many patients will also have ovulation test strips looking to confirm the rising levels of LH (luteinizing hormone) in your urine. A surge in LH typically precedes ovulation by 12 to 36 hours which gives you time to have sex prior to ovulation.
So, once you know when (and if) you are ovulating, the fertile window (and time to try) is up to 5 days before you ovulate. The most fertile time being 3 days before and the day of ovulation. If you have a text book cycle of 28 days and you ovulate on day 14, then your best days for trying are day 12, 13 and 14. However, if you have a longer cycle – eg 35 days, you are more likely to ovulate later around day 21, in which case you would want to try on days 19, 20 and 21.
So once you learn to know when you are ovulating (as your body tells you), you know to start trying in the 5 days prior, and definitely in the 2-3 days preceding and day of ovulation.