If you are in a great relationship and feel it is time to mix your DNA with your partner and create a child, or the proverbial clock is ticking and motherhood is calling, understanding your ovulation cycle will increase your chances of success.
Ovulation (when an egg is released from a woman’s ovaries) is a precious window of time and the key to pregnancy. A woman’s egg is generally available to be fertilized for only 12-24 hours after it is released, with ovulation typically occurring halfway through the menstrual cycle (about day 14 for a 28 day cycle). It is possible for ovulation day to shift every month, even for women who have regular menstrual cycles. And for the many women who have irregular periods, or perhaps a FSH or LH defect, predicting ovulation day can be tricky.
So how can we tell when we ovulate?
Chart your Basal Body Temperature (BBT): You can take your temperature each morning right after waking with a BBT thermometer. Your temperature will stay consistent during the first half of your cycle. It reaches a low point just prior to ovulation, and will rise (about a ½ degree) as soon as ovulation occurs, due to a surge in progesterone.
Look for cervical mucus: Our cervix produces clear and stretchy mucus (similar to egg whites) a few days before ovulation. This mucus serves to lubricate the vagina, and protect and carry the sperm. This mucus is an indicator of our most fertile days each month. Since the life span of sperm can last up to 3-6 days, it is best to have intercourse prior to and during ovulation to enhance your chances of conceiving!
Mittelschmerz: You may be able to tell when you ovulate because you have cramping in your lower abdomen on the side that you are ovulating. This is a sign that you are releasing a mature egg.
Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK): This kit predicts when you will ovulate 12-24 hours in advance by monitoring luteinizing hormone (LH) levels.
If you are trying to conceive, you can also promote healthy ovulation, by keeping stress levels low. High stress can impede proper blood flow to the reproductive organs, so make time for relaxation on a regular basis! Adequate sleep also plays an essential role in hormone production and regulation.
Also don’t be afraid to seek treatment if you have menstrual or hormonal irregularities: I use acupuncture and herbs to help women have a healthy menstrual cycle, correct hormone imbalances, and stimulate healthy follicular growth, ovulation and fertility. I have also found that Mayan Abdominal Massage or Naturopathic care can be helpful options. For example, depending on your personal needs, herbal supplements can help your chances of fertility success:
Chaste tree berry/Vitex: normalizes the pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating sex hormones.
Dong quai, and Black cohosh: helps regulate the body’s estrogen balance.
Stinging nettle: nourishes the uterus and strengthens kidney and adrenal function.
Red clover: high in trace minerals, and balances PH levels of the body and uterus.
Folic acid: promotes cellular growth and regeneration.
Zinc and Selenium: helps facilitate healthy sperm development. Male reproductive health is important, too!
Good luck. If you have anymore questions or need some help enhancing your chances of pregnancy don’t hesitate to call me at 808 633-6581. Mahalo.
Image Credit: Jane Hudson Stoller Photography