Disclosure: I am NOT a licensed medical professional. This blog post is based off of my personal experience and research. I recommend talking to your doctor if you have any questions or need more detailed information.
3 Foolproof Ways to Track Ovulation
I get it: tracking ovulation in order to get pregnant is NOT fun or romantic, but then whoever said that getting pregnant was supposed to be either of those things?
I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they’re starting to try for a family, but they don’t plan on tracking their cycle. “The trying is the fun part!” they say. They have no clue what’s ahead of them. Everyone starts trying for a baby thinking that they’ll get pregnant right away. I know we did…boy were we surprised.
Everyone knows someone who got pregnant right away. Hey, if it happened for them, it will happen for you, right? It’s easy to think, “No need to keep track my cycle, we’ll just be incredibly intimate all month long and it’ll happen!”
There’s Only A Small Window Each Month
The truth is that your chances of conceiving are 15%-25% each month if you are actively trying. Because of this, only about 50% of couples conceive in the first 6 months of actively trying. Even though 84% of couples will conceive within the first year, every month you’re left holding that negative test will end up crushing you.
One of the reasons you have about a 1/4 chance of conceiving every month is because you have a very small window to conceive during ovulation. If you are intimate the 2 days before and the day of ovulation, then you have the best chance of getting pregnant. According to Your Fertility, “by 12-24 hours after ovulation, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant during that menstrual cycle because the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube.” That’s not a very large window, so it helps when you have a vague idea when ovulation is taking place. This is why I highly recommend tracking ovulation within your cycle as soon as you start trying to conceive, even if you don’t use the information right away.
Not Sure How To Track Ovulation? No Problem!
Not quite sure how to figure out when you’re ovulating? Or do you have irregular cycles which makes it more challenging to figure out when ovulation is taking place? Well lucky for you I’ve done this three separate times before (twice resulting in pregnancies) and I’ve learned a thing of two during this journey. The first time we got pregnant, my cycles were 42-47 days long (which is INCREDIBLY irregular) and I was ovulating a week later than normal. The second time, we conceived on our first try, so trust me when I say I know what I’m talking about! So let’s dive in and talk about 3 foolproof ways you can track ovulation.
1. Ovulation Test Strips
The easiest way to track your ovulation is to use ovulation test strips. These strips work like a pregnancy test, except instead of detecting HCG, it is looking for a surge in the Luteinizing hormone (LH). This hormone spikes right before ovulation, which is a good indicator that your body is about to release an egg.
If you have the money, I highly recommend purchasing the Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Kit. This is THE best way to test because it will read the test strip for you and tell you when your LH is high and when it is at its peak. The only downside to this kit is that it is $39.99 and only comes with 20 tests. To get more you have to purchase an entirely new kit. You can’t just purchase the strips separately, which is infuriating. But, it’s truly the best test you can get. So if you don’t mind the cost, get this one for sure!
If you’re like me and you don’t have $40 every 1-2 months to spend on ovulation tests, there are less expensive options out there that work pretty well. The Easy@Home Ovulation Kit is only $16.57 and includes 50 ovulations test strips with 20 pregnancy tests. This makes each test a lot more affordable, but they can sometimes be a little difficult to read.
Likewise, the Pregmate Ovulation Detector Kit is priced similarly to the Easy@Home kit at $15.25 for 50 ovulations tests and 20 pregnancy tests. I do prefer these strips to the Easy@Home strips, but not by much. I have used both consistently and haven’t noticed a huge difference between the two. While these alternatives both work fairly well, they definitely aren’t as good as the ClearBlue kit I mentioned above, which can leave you frustrated when trying to use them.
2. Track Your Cervical Mucus
According to the American Pregnancy Association, cervical mucus is defined as “a fluid secreted by the cervix, the production of which is stimulated by the hormone estrogen.” Essentially, as the estrogen in your body fluctuates throughout your cycle, the texture and amount of your cervical mucus (CM) changes as a result.
When your body is preparing to ovulate, your estrogen levels rise and as a result, your body will produce a stretchy egg-white-like mucus. This is considered very fertile mucus, and is a sign that ovulation is coming very soon. This egg-white CM helps to protect sperm as it enters the cervix, which is why it’s optimal for conception.
By tracking what your cervical mucus looks like throughout your cycle, you will be able to narrow down your most fertile days. This is extremely helpful if you have irregular cycles. This method is hands down THE best way to track ovulation. It’s better than using the cheap ovulation test strips above, in my personal opinion, but you have to pay attention to it!
3. Track Your Basil Body Temperature
One of the easiest ways to track ovulation is by tracking your basil body temperature (BBT) every day during your cycle. Your basil body temperature is your body’s lowest temperature while at rest. When you ovulate, the spike in the progesterone hormone will cause your temperature to rise by about 1-2 degrees. It will remain higher after ovulation and will drop again just before your period if you are not pregnant.
Even if you are on your period, you will want to track your temperature in order to establish a baseline. To get the most accurate reading, you will want to take your temperature first thing in the morning. Do this before you get up to do anything. Keep your thermometer on your bedside table and set a reminder on your phone to help you remember. You can use type of thermometer you want, but just make sure it’s a reliable one. Personally, I use an under-the-tongue thermometer because I think it gives a more accurate reading than our forehead thermometer.
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