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Guide to ovulation

Guide to ovulation

You need to be ovulating to conceive. Read Dr Pixie’s guide to the signs of ovulation and give yourself a head start on getting pregnant

I like to call this Operation Ovulation, as it becomes every woman’s obsession once they start to think about children. Unfortunately it’s not as straightforward as our biology teachers would have led us to believe.

When am I ovulating?
We don’t all ovulate bang on day 14. That’s because we don’t all have regimented 28-day cycles. Even in those of us who do, there’s no cast-iron guarantee that this is the day the egg is going to appear.

So what do you do? Well, I’m a fan of ripping up the calendar and instead opting for regular sex. For those who want to play the numbers game, day 14 is theoretically supposed to be ovulation day. But this only relates to a 28-day cycle. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the end of the cycle, meaning if you have a 30-day cycle, you will ovulate on day 16 (30 minus 14). A 23-day cycle will see you ovulating on day 9 (23 minus 14).

Get ahead
But even with meticulous maths, your cycle can change on a monthly basis, so you can still get the date wrong. And it’s not just about ovulation day – having sperm in the system for five days prior to ovulation, plus the day of ovulation, increases your chances. Sperm have a lifespan of 5-7 days while the usefulness of eggs expires within 12-24 hours. So based on a regular 28-day cycle, the best time for sex is between day 9 and day 14.

When am I ovulating?
You can use either intelligent science or female intuition to gauge whether you are ovulating. Your vaginal mucus will change at the time of ovulation and take on the consistency of egg white. Your temperature will also rise but, unless you are tracking it, you won’t notice. One in five women feel discomfort in their stomachs, signalling ovulation. It can be momentary or last a few days. It tends to be on one side and feel like a cramp, ranging from severe to mild.

Research also tells us that we give off an alluring scent and feel sexy at this time in the cycle, but that’s hard to monitor. I used ovulation sticks (available from pharmacies) when I was trying to conceive, as I found following the calendar and charting cervical mucus quite a challenge. Ovulation-test kits tell you when you are ovulating. This leaves ovulation planning to science, giving you the freedom to get on with the sex.

By Dr Pixie

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