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Typically, we are taught that the so-called “fertile window” includes the day a woman starts to ovulate, plus the 5 days prior. And the likelihood that sex will lead to pregnancy is greatest within the last 2 to 3 days before ovulation. With that being said, I’m sure you’re wondering when exactly you ovulate. 

For women who have regular, predictable periods, you will ovulate about 14 days before the first day of bleeding. As long as you have intercourse around the predicted time for ovulation, your probability of conceiving should be higher. 

When you first start trying, I think it’s unnecessary to worry about your exact time of ovulation. But after trying for a while many couples like to apply some strategy. Some ways to monitor ovulation include:

• Basal body temperature tracking: The progesterone released in a woman’s body after ovulation results in an increase in her temperature. If you take your temperature each morning before you get out of bed, you may see about a 0.5 degree increase 2 days after ovulation. Obviously, this won’t help you get pregnant that month. But it can help you better predict your future cycles and the optimum fertile window for your body. 

For this method, using a regular thermometer is best since the electric ones aren’t as accurate for small changes.

• Cervical mucus method: The amount of the mucus coming from the cervix increases over the 5 to 6 days preceding ovulation. And it is greatest during the 2 to 3 days before. I have found that many patients aren’t comfortable assessing this. And for many, it is challenging to accurately gauge the quality of the woman’s cervical mucus. But if you are able to master this strategy, make sure you have sex during the days when cervical mucus production is greater. 

• Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs): These can be bought at any pharmacy to detect surges in the luteinizing hormone (LH) that occur right before ovulation. Ovulation can occur anytime within the following two days of a LH spike. So sex during these days would theoretically be taking place during the best time of a woman’s fertile window. 

Have you used any methods for pinpointing your own fertile window?   Let us know.

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