Biological Clock Ticking? Pinpoint your Fertile Window and Beat the Clock!
Part 2: Timing & Frequency of Intercourse
This article is intended for couples new to the whole idea of "trying to conceive" (TTC), an article for couples new to the notion that "getting pregnant" might not be as effortless - or as quick - as initially assumed... The fact is, achieving a pregnancy often requires several cycles of concerted effort - and by concerted effort I mean active, strategic fertility charting. If you're like many couples out there today, you'll likely be trying to conceive a baby later in life than previous generations. And as we all know, the hectic pace of modern life makes tackling this whole baby-making project a bit taxing and unfortunately often a bit like work.
Any way you look at it, conceiving a baby is certainly more challenging today than in the past, particularly if you are over 30 years old or on the way to 40. The fact is, some women are now aiming at a first child when, in the past, they would be typically nearing grandma-age status! And that means that our biological clocks are ticking... The difficult problematic here is to try to retain the verdant Romance of conceiving a baby while more methodically guaranteeing success in getting pregnant!
No matter what our particular life-situation, the crux to successfully achieving pregnancy comes down to simply understanding when you are most fertile each month during your menstrual cycle. Focusing in on your "fertile window", the handful of days anterior to ovulation, is the objective here. So instead of random guess-work, blind luck, or fortuitous happenstance, fertility charting is the efficient, natural solution to help couples anticipate when they are most fertile each month in order to radically boost the odds of a pregnancy.
As noted above, charting fertility is essential today because many of us are going for a baby later in life, and as we age our fertility (the ability to conceive) gradually declines. Yes, that's because our biological clock is ticking, to use a tattered cliche. For this, we have certain hormonal issues to thank and, in some cases, a decreasing ovarian reserve. And don't forget male fertility as well, as nearly half of all infertility obstacles are contributed by the man of the house.
For couples today, this means that it may take several menstrual cycles - or even longer - to successfully get pregnant. So to compress the amount of time it takes to conceive, we'll discuss some basic fertility charting methods as well as associated tools and tests for predicting when you ovulate. Maintaining an solid, detailed ovulation calendar and regularly testing for ovulation are the two biggest factors (along with good health) in achieving the exciting goal of conceiving a little one!
Fertility Definitions: Let's look at four key terms in understanding fertility and getting pregnant: Once we see how these factors interact, we can begin targeting that "Fertile Window".
|The ability to become pregnant, or the specific time of month you are most likely to conceive a baby.|
|The cyclical series of female hormonal and physiological changes in which an egg is produced and the uterus prepared for pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining deteriorates and is discharged during menstruation.|
|The release of a mature egg from the ovary; the 24-hours of peak fertility when a woman is most likely to conceive a baby.|
|Planning intercourse (procreative sex) around a woman's most fertile time - the days before and during the time she ovulates.|
Fertility is not just the general ability to conceive, but the time of month it becomes possible to conceive. In effect, a woman is only fertile a few days each month - and there's the rub: If you don't have an inkling about this narrow range of days, you're simply relying on random chance to get pregnant! A woman is fertile only around the time she ovulates - those few days right around the middle of her cycle. As an egg (ovum) can live for just twelve to twenty-four hours, timing intercourse is the crux of conceiving. The trick is simply to predict when you ovulate - or "O", to use the online vernacular of the TTC community. Once we've located the "fertile window", we can time intercourse. Timing and frequency of lovemaking are both important, and ideally you should have procreative intercourse on the handful of days prior to when you ovulate and the day of ovulation itself. Thankfully, we not only have fertility charting methods, we have an entire array of testing products to target our fertile window.
Build an Ovulation Calendar! A fertility chart is essentially just a very detailed ovulation calendar that allows you to track physiological data and monitor fertility signs like changes in cervical mucus or actual pains you may feel in your abdomen associated with the release of the egg. Your menstrual cycle offers plenty of physiological and hormonal signposts and "coded signals"; if you can simply decode these bodily messages, you can know where you are in your cycle. The first day of menstrual bleeding is always the first day of your chart. Each morning, "check in" with your body to make your "fertility report".
First of all, basal body temperature (bbt) charting is the universally-approved fundament of any fertility chart or ovulation calendar. The point of bbt charting is to simply identify a central hormonal shift indicative that ovulation has taken place. In short, once the egg is released around midcycle, the hormone progesterone explodes on the scene to heat up your body for pregnancy. If you are taking your basal temperature each morning, than you can pinpoint when this temperature increase takes place and know when you ovulated.
It's important to recognize that this progesterone-related thermal shift cannot predict fertility; it only tells you, after the fact, that the egg was indeed released. So what's instructive about bbt charting is getting a birds-eye view of when you O each month so you can perceive patterns and determine monthly coordinates by which to navigate your way to a pregnancy on future menstrual cycles. BBT charting also confirms that you are indeed ovulating each month - on schedule; and in the same way, it can also alert you to possible infertility issues (for example, a doctor can read your chart and determine if there are possible hormonal problems or imbalances and prescribe corrective measures or further testing). Only by bbt charting can you fully determine when you O each month, if your cycle is regular or irregular, or if there may be problems or irregularities that might require a doctor's opinion or medical help.
Once you have established your calendar or bbt chart, you can then start noting those "fertility signposts" as they go by. Here, tracking changes in cervical fluids is one of the most telling of all the fertility signs. During your cycle, cervical fluids will undergo several changes - in amount, texture, and appearance. The presence of abundant, fertile-quality cervical fluids will tell you that you are a very near your fertile window. (Products like FertileCM can be used to help increase the quantity and quality of cervical mucus.) Changes in the look and feel of cervical mucus are the direct result of increases in certain reproductive hormones - and that's why cervical fluids are a great indicator of where you are in your monthly cycle! While you are monitoring these changes, you can also check the position of the cervix, which also moves up and down during your cycle. To read more on these fertility factors, please click here.
Once you get the bbt chart rolling and start plugging in those daily fertility details, you are on your way to identifying your fertile window. Next, let's look at the best time to make love in order to boost our chances of a pregnancy! This involves looking at ovulation prediction devices and understanding how to time both lovemaking and "organize" the frequency of sex.