Falling pregnant is all about having sex and lots of it every month. Or is it? The reality is that many Australians – men and women – are not aware that timing is absolutely vital when they are trying for a baby. The only time a woman can conceive is during the ‘fertile’ window of the menstrual cycle, the three days leading up to and actual day of ovulation.
How can you tell when you are ovulating?
Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary, moves down the fallopian tube and waits ready to be fertilised.
There are several ways to work out when you ovulate:
- Just before ovulation your vagina’s mucus becomes clear, slick and slippery, the consistency of egg white. This is a good sign that you are about to ovulate.
- Ovulation happens about 14 days before a period starts. If you know the average length of your menstrual cycle you can work out when you ovulate.
- The length of a cycle is the number of days from the start of one period to the day before the next period starts. So, if your cycles are on average 28 days, you ovulate around day 14. But, if your cycles are longer, say 35 days, you can expect ovulation to happen around day 19. And, if they are shorter, say 21 days, ovulation happens already around day 7. Click here for an ovulation calculator to help you work out your average cycle length.
- Commercial ovulation predictor kits are readily available and help pinpoint when ovulation is about to happen. Testing involves weeing on a stick where there is a test strip which detects the rise in hormone levels which happens just before ovulation. You start daily testing a few days before you expect to ovulate. Ovulation happens 24-36 hours after the colour on the stick changes.
While timing is so important, it’s not everything. It is also good for you and your partner to be as healthy as possible when trying to become pregnant. Find out more here.
This article was produced by the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA).
VARTA provides public education and resources for professionals and the community on fertility and issues related to assisted reproductive treatment, including IVF, surrogacy and donor-conception.