If you are attempting to conceive, you are certainly familiar with ovulation and the many hormones that fluctuate during your menstrual cycle.
While having a lot of sex might aid in conception, it is equally important to know WHEN to have sex in order to conceive.
Your fertile window is the period of your menstrual cycle during which you are fertile and capable of becoming pregnant.
On average, a woman’s reproductive window lasts six days. However, you are only technically fertile for 24 hours. How does it function?
In the twenty-four hours after ovulation, the sperm has the best chance of fertilising the mature egg cell that has been produced. However, normal sperm may survive in the fallopian tubes for up to five days, so if you had intercourse in the five days coming up to ovulation, you may get pregnant when the egg is released. Your fertile window consists of the day immediately after ovulation and the five days before it.
Ovulation normally happens 14 days before a woman’s menstruation is due, therefore her reproductive window begins around this time.
This indicates that whether you engage in sexual activity early or late in your menstrual cycle, it is improbable that you will get pregnant.
When Are You Most Likely to Conceive?
During your fertile window, you’re most likely to conceive.
The duration of your fertile window varies from woman to woman and depends on variables such as the egg cell’s life span (which may range from 12 to 24 hours) and the sperm’s life span.
The chance of pregnancy following scheduled sexual activity peaks two days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation.
When Should You Have Sex for Optimal Pregnancy?
Regular sexual activity is suggested during the fertile window (5–6 days) in order to enhance the likelihood of pregnancy.
How Will You Know That You Are Ovulating?
We know that your fertile window covers the days leading up to ovulation as well as the day of ovulation, but how do you know when you will ovulate?
Using ovulation predictor kits is one of the most prevalent methods to anticipate ovulation, but how are they used and how do they work? To address these issues, it is necessary to first comprehend what luteinising hormone (LH) is.
WHAT IS LH (Luteinizing Hormone)?
Luteinising hormone is the hormone responsible for releasing the egg during ovulation and initiating the crucial fertilisation process (the 24 hours after the egg is released).
There are four major stages in a woman’s menstrual cycle:
Menstruation. The menstruation phase is characterised by the shedding of the uterine lining and the passage of menstrual blood via the vagina. This menstrual fluid contains blood, mucus, and uterine lining cells.
Foliation. After menstruation, the follicular phase starts. It is initiated by the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which your brain releases to your body to instruct it to begin generating follicles for egg development. As follicles and eggs grow, oestrogen levels gradually increase, causing the uterine lining to thicken. Eventually, just one follicle, the dominant follicle, will remain. The remaining follicles perish because they are weaker. Once the egg and follicle have completed their development, ovulation begins.
Ovulation. When the egg and follicle have completed their development and oestrogen levels have reached their optimum, the brain releases a rush of luteinising hormones (LH surge). This LH surge triggers ovulation by causing the follicle to break and release the egg.
Luteal Development. During the luteal phase, the ruptured follicle stays on the ovarian surface and develops into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone (and a little amount of oestrogen) to keep the uterine lining thicker in preparation for a fertilised egg. In the absence of fertilisation, the corpus luteum decreases and menstruation resumes.
WHEN TO HAVE SEX AFTER AN LH SURGE
Correctly timing intercourse after an LH spike is difficult because of the many factors to consider. It is advisable to engage in sexual activity following your initial LH surge.
However, how long after an LH rise does ovulation occur?
It is also suggested that you engage in sexual activity in the days leading up to your anticipated ovulation date and for a few days following your LH peak.
But how can an LH spike be tested? Consequently, ovulation prediction kits are useful.
Ovulation prediction kits are an excellent method for predicting ovulation and your peak reproductive days, and they are an invaluable tool for scheduling sexual encounters.
HOWEVER, HOW DO THEY WORK?
Ovulation test strips detect the rise in luteinising hormone (LH surge) that happens shortly before ovulation. If you have a normal menstrual cycle, you should begin testing regularly a few days before your predicted ovulation date (which is typically 14 days before your menstrual period) until you obtain a positive result.
A positive ovulation test indicates an increase in LH. It is suggested that you schedule your sexual activity with your first positive LH test result since this indicates that ovulation is imminent. This is not always the case, though.
LH surges may occur anywhere from 16 to 48 hours before ovulation, and it is possible to have numerous LH surges during the month.
It is possible for women to have numerous LH surges or biphasic peaks during the month, but this is unusual. Biphasic peaks are often reported in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hormonal swings.
If you often have many LH surges or biphasic peaks during your cycle, you should continue testing until you obtain a final positive ovulation test result followed by a negative, since ovulation typically happens after the last peak and decline.
When attempting to conceive, uneven cycle durations might make it considerably more difficult to schedule sexual activity. You must test daily to identify an LH spike, which might be costly.
HOW ELSE MAY I CONDUCT AN LH SURGE TEST?
Blood testing. If your doctor is aiding you in your fertility journey, he may request that you undergo frequent blood tests to determine the timing of your LH surge. Typically, doctors will do blood tests one week before ovulation.
There are ovulation prediction procedures that do not include testing for an LH surge that are favoured by many women.
Ovulation in certain women is often accompanied by ovulation symptoms. Many women rely on ovulation symptoms to identify whether or not they are ovulating. These symptoms consist of:
- Pelvic or abdominal discomfort (ovulation pain)
- Cervical alterations
- Changes in vaginal discharge (egg white discharge usually indicates ovulation, whilst creamy white discharge after ovulation may indicate pregnancy)
- Breast Tenderness
- Sore Nipples
- Variation in Sexual Drive
- A gain in weight
- Bleeding or spotting (ovulation bleeding)
BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE TRACKING
The monitoring of basal body temperature (BBT) is a natural technique of contraception. It entails recording your resting body temperature at the same time daily. A modest rise in your basal body temperature suggests that you are ovulating.
After measuring basal body temperature for a few months, you will be able to use the data to estimate when you will next ovulate.
The cervical mucus technique is an additional natural way of contraception. The cervical mucus approach is observing your cervical mucus and paying attention to the presence of fertile cervical mucus, which might suggest ovulation.
The cervical mucus of a fertile woman is thin, transparent, and slippery, with the consistency of raw egg whites. The term for this discharge is egg white discharge.
The calendar approach allows you to anticipate your ovulation window by analysing your past menstrual cycles. To utilise the calendar approach, you need just to track the durations of your prior menstrual cycles to determine the average length of your periods. This information may then be used to forecast when you will ovulate.
Fertility monitors are devices that detect your fertility hormone levels (including LH) and basal body temperature to determine your fertile window and forecast ovulation. Using saliva, cervical fluid, or urine, the device can monitor your basal body temperature and reproductive hormone levels.
SHOULD WE HAVE AS MUCH SEX AS POSSIBLE WHILE TRYING TO CONCEIVE?
Regular sexual activity throughout your menstrual cycle is a great strategy to boost your chances of becoming pregnant, particularly around the time you anticipate ovulation.
Nevertheless, sex should never seem like work. If you feel like you are pushing yourself to have sex in order to conceive, you may want to wait until you are happy and comfortable before engaging in sexual activity, since stress might decrease your chances of conceiving.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.