Why should you use an ovulation calendar? In a word: timing. Some couples seem to achieve a pregnancy with no effort. If you’re in the group that needs a bit of help, however, an ovulation calendar is one of the most important tools you can use to help conceive a pregnancy. At New York Reproductive Wellness, we consider an ovulation calendar one of the basics you need to know about.
The menstrual cycle revolves around ovulation. About once a month, an egg is released from the ovary and travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. Unless fertilization occurs, the egg is washed out with the menstrual blood and the cycle begins anew. Conception can only occur during a narrow 24-hour window while the egg is alive and most women produce only one egg a month. Although 28 days is considered the norm, women may have menstrual cycles more or less than that or may have irregular cycles.
Using an Ovulation Calendar to Track Variables in the Ovulation Process
Given the short time period when the egg is viable and capable of being fertilized, it’s important to know that ovulation can be affected by a variety of factors. These include:
- Length of the menstrual cycle – some women have cycles longer than 28 days; it’s unusual to have shorter cycles but it can happen.
- Ovulation doesn’t occur – you don’t necessarily release an egg every month; given that you only have 12 chances to conceive each year, missing ovulation in a single month has a big impact.
- Ovulation doesn’t always occur at the same interval – although most women ovulate between day 11 and day 21 of the cycle, timing can vary from woman to woman and even from month to month.
- Health conditions – stress, chronic illness and infections can all affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation timing.
Why You Need an Ovulation Calendar
In addition to tracking your menstrual cycle, an ovulation calendar lets you track other signs like changes in cervical mucous, your body temperature and mittleschmertz, a sensation of pain in the region of the ovary when ovulation occurs. This helps you time intercourse, which is one of the best ways to help promote conception. Ideally, intercourse should occur the two days prior to and the day of ovulation. Since sperm live for about five days, this offers the best chance of conception.
How Do I Use an Ovulation Calendar?
Both paper and online tools or apps are currently available to track ovulation. You could even use a wall calendar. The data you enter usually includes the first and last day of your period, the length of your period, your temperature, the condition of the cervical mucous and other signs like mittleschmertz. If you aren’t sure exactly what to track, check with your doctor.
Tracking your menstrual cycles and other information may help you promote conception. As with many other things in this world, timing really does matter. If you have questions or are concerned about fertility issues, please contact us.