After years of trying to not get pregnant, women who are starting down the path to trying to conceive (aka TTC) might be surprised to learn that making a baby isn’t simply as easy as going off birth control. According to WomensHealth.gov 10% of women have infertility while another 15-44% struggle to become and stay pregnant.
No matter where you find yourself on the path to conceiving, understanding how conception occurs is key to successfully becoming pregnant. For most of us, health class was years ago and may not even of covered the true logistics of ovulation and why identifying your ovulation window is one of the most important steps to having (or not having) a baby.
For years, researchers have closely watched fertility trends and tracked what the likelihood of pregnancy is month to month. Depending on your age, most women have a 25% chance of becoming pregnant in a given cycle. That number is most likely a lot smaller than teenage you assumed.
Thanks to technology and modern medicine, identifying ovulation has become easier, providing a more accurate way of determining how to time intercourse for successful conception.
Remind me, what is ovulation?
Ovulation is the time in your cycle when you are most likely to become pregnant. If you have a typical 28 day cycle (lucky you) it should occur around day 14. During this time, hormones in your body trigger the ovaries to release an egg. If sperm meets with and fertilizes an egg during this window, you become pregnant. As you approach ovulation, the lining your uterus begins to thicken estrogen helps create a healthy sperm friendly environment. Once ovulation occurs, you have 24 hours for the egg to become fertilized. If you miss this window, your period will begin and you will not become pregnant.
So you need to have sex when you ovulate to make a baby?
Yes and no. For most women, sperm can live up to five days inside your cervix without yet fertilizing an egg. The trick to becoming pregnant is timing sex close to and before ovulation. It’s much easier to plan around a window of 3-4 days then it is to try and hit that 24 hour marker.
Without known when you are ovulating, conception becomes challenging and might take months or years to occur.
How do you know if you are ovulating?
The body sends several subtle signals to tell you that ovulation is about to occur:
- Mild Cramping: Not enough to feel like you are about to start on your period, but for some women it might be noticeable to feel a slight cramp when the egg is released from your ovary.
- Egg White Discharge: Clear, thick and sticky. Using a clean hand, you should be able to stretch this discharge up to ½ inch.
- Basal Body Temperature Increase: Basal Body Temperature is your temperature measured to the thousandth degree each morning when your body is still at rest. When you ovulate, this number ticks upward ever so slightly. To track this, you need a very exact thermometer and to check every morning at the exact same time.
These things can be difficult to notice and if you have any fertility challenges or undiagnosed conditions like PCOS, might not be noticeable at all.
What if I don’t recognize any of that?
Luckily, the old methods of tracking ovulation are in the past. You can now more precisely measure ovulation in other ways. One option is using LH tracking tests. Similar to a pregnancy test, you insert the strip into urine and it will turn positive when ovulation has occurred. The tricky thing about using LH tracking strips is often by the time you receive a positive test, ovulation has already occurred and you’ve completely missed the window for conception.
Identifying ovulation BEFORE it has occurred is the best way to conceive and thanks to the ovulation tracking bracelet from Ava, finding ovulation is easier than ever.
Worn at night, Ava tracks skin temperature, resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability, and sleep, to provide a more accurate window of when ovulation is likely to occur. When Ava notices changes in your body that might indicate ovulation, your fertility calendar will update appropriately, letting you know that it’s time to start making a baby.
Using Ava to track your cycles more effectively can help take the stress off trying to conceive and allow you and your partner to be more romantic and sporadic about love making. A larger window to target within means more opportunities to have sex, and who can argue with that!
No matter where you are in your journey to parenthood, the process can be stressful. Tools that allow you to remove some of that stress are always good to keep in the play book!