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Ovulation and Fertility

Up until the past few decades, a woman's ovulation and fertility were a complete mystery to most doctors and researchers. However, since then scientists and researchers have put together what they know about ovulation and fertility to the benefit of women everywhere.

When it comes to ovulation and fertility, it is first important to note that because of the way ovulation works, a woman is only fertile a few days out of the month, which means that conception can only happen on those days.  During each cycle, which normally lasts around 28 days on average, healthy couples not on birth control only have a 20 percent of getting pregnant. Because you can only conceive around the time of ovulation, this is a small window of opportunity each month when the egg is viable for fertilization. However, that is not to say that having sex whenever means that it is unlikely you will get pregnant. Because some women do not have a regular ovulation schedule and the length of their fertility often fluctuates, it is possible that they could get pregnant at any time, because they can ovulate at any time. This is especially true for teen girls who have unprotected sex thinking they will be safe from conceiving. It can often take four years after the teen first starts her first menstrual cycle to have a regular period and ovulation cycle. Trying to time sex around when you are not ovulating is a type of birth control that only works if you know exactly when you are ovulating. 

Many women who are trying to avoid becoming pregnant can watch the signs for ovulation. Just as women who are trying to conceive can also watch these ovulation signs in order to become pregnant. Regardless of your ultimate goal, it is important to know what ovulation and fertility signs to look for during your monthly cycle. It is also important to remember that this type of charting is only effective if the woman has a fairly regular schedule. Otherwise, it is important to pay even more attention to the body's signs of ovulation and fertility. 

Ovulation and fertility undergoes a significant change however when a woman is on a hormonal method of birth control like the pills, shot or intrauterine device. These will prevent the body from ovulating like normal to prevent the woman from becoming pregnant.

Signs of Ovulation and Fertility:

  • With most women, the cycle of ovulation and fertility follows a regular schedule each month. While this is not always the case, if you have an average cycle, you will be able to track it pretty closely on a calendar. After tracking it for a few months, you will be able to develop a pattern and will have a good idea of the approximate days you will ovulate. If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, do not engage in sex on these days or if you do use a barrier form of contraception. However, if you are already on a type of hormonal birth control then you won't necessarily have to worry about which days you would ovulate during your cycle as previously mentioned. However, with a woman that is not on a hormonal birth control, this is not an issue. Your cycle will continue as normal.
  • Paying attention to your body will also bring forth other signs and symptoms that come along when it is time for your body to ovulate. For example, some woman experience cramping in the lower stomach near the ovaries. Some might also see slight spotting during ovulation. 
  • Many woman also take the time to check their basal body temperature (BBT) each morning during the month. When there is a surge in progesterone, your body temperature may increase ever so slightly. This surge in temperature usually happens a day or so after ovulation because of the extra release of progesterone. Once this happens each month, you will be able to keep track of the days it occurs and watch for the pattern each month on your calendar. This is a good way to be able to estimate your ovulation day for future months. 
  • Checking your cervix is another way to determine your ovulation and fertility. Paying attention to the cervical mucus is another way to see if your body is fertile. If the mucus takes on a consistency similar to egg whites, this is a good indication that your body is fertile.
  • Lastly, you can always check your ovulation and fertility dates by using ovulation predictor kits. These are similar to pregnancy tests but they check for the days you are most likely to ovulate. 

Generally most women use a combination of these methods, if not all, to determine with their ovulation and fertility is at its peak in order to achieve conception or directly avoid pregnancy. 


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