Ovulation 101

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Ovulation 101

Pop quiz: What’s the one thing you HAVE to know about your cycle in order to get pregnant?

Answer: When (and if) you’re ovulating!

Contrary to what we all learned in eight grade sex ed, you only have a very small window each month during which you can conceive a baby. If you miss that window, it doesn’t matter if you have sex every single other day of your cycle, you’re never going to get pregnant.

In fact, studies have shown that in couples with normal fertility, having sex at the right time reduces the average number of months trying to conceive from six to one. So if you’ve been trying for less than six months and you’re not tracking your cycles to determine when you’re ovulating, it’s entirely possible that making this one change could help you get pregnant this month.

Not convinced? There are three main ways that tracking your cycle can help you get pregnant:

  • Knowing when to have sex – Your fertile window only lasts for a few days each cycle… Miss it and you’ve blown your chance for the month.
  • Finding out IF you’re ovulating – There are lots of things than can happen with your hormones that would prevent you from ovulating. And if you’re not releasing an egg each month, you’re not going to get pregnant—period. Charting your cycle is easiest way to find out whether or not you’re ovulating. If you’re not, forget about everything else… Priority number one is figuring out what’s going on hormonally and addressing the root cause.
  • Determining other hormonal imbalances – If you’re ovulating and having sex during your fertile window, but still aren’t getting pregnant then it’s time to start looking at other factors. Having several cycles charted can help you start to recognize patterns that may be interfering with your ability to conceive. For example, if the second half of your cycle is too short, an egg may not be able to properly implant in your uterus. This problem, known as luteal phase defect, is a really common reason for infertility, but can easily be addressed through natural means. In fact, charting can even reveal hormonal imbalances that don’t show up on blood work. But the only way to know what’s going on for sure is to start tracking your cycles now!

Before you get started charting, you’ll need to understand how your cycle works.

An average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days (although more or less can be normal), from the first day of bleeding to the last day before your next period. Day one of your cycle is the first day of bleeding. Spotting doesn’t count, so day one is the first day you actually need to use a pad or tampon—even if your period doesn’t start until late in the day.

The first day of your period is also the first day of the follicular phase of your cycle. This phase lasts an average of 14 days, but might be shorter or longer depending on the overall length of your cycle.

Ovulation happens at the end of your follicular phase and also marks the beginning of the second half of your cycle—the luteal phase. The luteal phase is also an average of 14 days and is usually more consistent in length than the follicular phase, regardless of the overall length of your cycle.

Since your follicular phase can vary in length from cycle to cycle, predicting when you’re going to ovulate can be difficult. And since each egg only lives for 12-24 hours once it’s released, your window to conceive is small.

The most important thing to know about timing sex in relation to ovulation is that you need to start ramping things up before you ovulate… Waiting to have sex until you’ve actually ovulated means you’ve waited too long. Sperm can live in your body for up to five days, so getting started a few days early is absolutely critical when you’re trying to get pregnant.

There are several ways to predict when ovulation is approaching, but the easiest and most reliable is by charting the physical changes that occur leading up to ovulation. You’ll be able to predict and confirm ovulation from the very first cycle you chart and if you’re not pregnant within a few months you’ll even be able to start recognizing patterns that may indicate hormonal imbalances that may be interfering with your ability to conceive.

If you’re ready to get started charting—trust me, it’s easy and the payoff is HUGE—just enter your info below to register for my FREE five day Empowered Charting course. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to know about charting when trying to conceive.

There’s a ton of info out there about charting cycles, but a lot of it is directed at women who are trying to avoid pregnancy and makes things WAAAY more difficult than it needs to be. My course will show you exactly what you need to know, without getting into any of the unnecessary details that are completely irrelevant when trying to conceive.

Just enter your info below, then check your email to confirm your address. Day One of the course will arrive instantly so you can get started right away! Happy charting!


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The information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. While I always advise taking an active role in your own health care, the information on this site is not intended as medical advice. Please talk to your health care provider before making any changes to your diet or supplement regimen to ensure they are appropriate for you and your specific health goals.