Knowing your ovulation patterns
Typically, women ovulate about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual cycle. However, this window can vary from month to month, even for women who have regular periods. Besides counting the days, there are a few tips for women to determine the fertility window.
Understanding basal body temperature
Basal body temperature refers to the body’s temperature upon first waking in the morning. In women, basal body temperature rises slightly during ovulation. This temperature difference can be as small as 0.4 degrees, so experts recommend using a basal body thermometer. Women are most fertile in the 2-3 days before basal body temperature peaks and 12-24 hours after ovulation. There are a few factors that can alter basal temperature, including:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Drinking alcohol
- Getting poor sleep
- Having a fever
How to read the calendar
Most women are used to tracking periods. If a woman has kept a period calendar for the last 8-12 months, this information can help determine when the fertile window will be. To make a quick calculation, subtract 18 from the number of days in the shortest cycle length. Then, take this new number and count ahead that many days from the start of the next period. This is likely the first day of ovulation.
Can tracking apps help?
For many women, using a fertility tracking app can be much easier than calculating the fertility window by hand. If a woman has trouble getting pregnant, bringing all the tracking information from the app to a healthcare provider can be extremely useful.
When to see a fertility specialist
Women under the age of 35 should see a specialist after 1 year of trying to conceive without success. For women over the age of 35, exports recommend seeing a specialist after only 6 months. A reproductive specialist can help determine if there are any underlying conditions or health risks interfering with getting pregnant. These specialists can also recommend fertility treatment options, including medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF). For more information about tracking ovulation, speak with a healthcare provider.