When am I Fertile? Understanding Ovulation

Many women come to me for acupuncture to help them get pregnant. I love that I can help them be more fertile and at their healthiest…and it’s especially satisfying when they get to tell me the good news! -Melani Bolyai, L.Ac.

Your optimal fertile time is normally 24-36 hours before you ovulate. This means that the most effective time for you to plan to have intercourse is during this period. You have the most chance of success in conceiving during this time.

If you want to become pregnant, it is extremely helpful to know your body’s cycle, and your time of ovulation. This is when an egg that is mature and ready to be fertilzed by a sperm as it travels from the ovaries toward the uterus via the fallopian tube. During this time period is the optimal time for sperm to be introduced into the system so that they can make the trip toward the egg.

One determining signal of your ovulation schedule is your cervical mucus. You can examine the quality of your cervical mucus to calculate when you will ovulate. Your cervical mucus can be a key sign that your body is preparing to release an egg and therefore is at its most fertile. During this most fertile time period, your cervical mucus can have an appearance like raw egg whites. Cervical fluid should be abundant, slippery, and have a stringy texture: it can be apparent on the inside of your underwear or on toilet paper, or even when you hold it between your fingers.

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Ovulation predictor kits or fertility monitors can also help you determine when you ovulate. These kits test your urine for lutenizing hormone (LH), which allows you to chart hormonal surges to pinpoint the days in which you are most fertile, and are available online or in most drugstores. Once you have some experience measuring your fertility signs, you will probably develop an eye for your personal fertility indicators.

Although it doesn’t necessarily tell you when to have intercourse, you can accurately chart your cycle using the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) charting method. It can be useful for establishing a plan of intercourse based on your body’s ovulation pattern, and can verify that ovulation did in fact occur. Using this method, you will examine your temperature changes throughout your cycle to determine when ovulation occurs: the day after ovulation, a woman’s body temperature rises. It is important to note that to get an accurate BBT read you must measure your temperature orally with a special BBT thermometer (available online or at most drug stores) at the same time in the morning each day, immediately when you wake up, and before you get out of bed.