Photo Courtesy of Janine / Flickr Creative Commons
While some women may be able to get pregnant on the first try, for many, conceiving a child can be a disheartening experience. If you’re having trouble conceiving, tracking your fertility can be a great way to get the ball rolling on expanding your family. Fertility charting, also known as Natural Family Planning (NFP), can help pinpoint the days of the month you’re most likely to get pregnant.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize your chances of getting pregnant using fertility charting.
Get the right tools
At a minimum, you will need a calendar or planner to start tracking your menstrual cycle. There are also several online tools and apps you can use to record your data electronically. Fertility Friend is an online resource for fertility planning and tracking that offers users educational videos and a personalized hormonal profile to determine your fertility window. It even analyzes your data and provides an accurate interpretation of your fertility signs.
Start monitoring your cycle
The first day you should plot on your calendar is Day 1 of your period. This will mark the beginning of your menstrual cycle. When your period ends, your body begins the process of producing a new set of eggs in the ovaries. After about 14 days, ovulation begins and the eggs are released from the ovaries. It is during this time your chances of pregnancy are the highest.
By knowing your ovulation schedule, you can better plan when to get the “process” started. The most fertile days for pregnancy are from three days leading up to ovulation through the day of ovulation. What does that mean for you? It means you can actually work with Mother Nature to get pregnant successfully.
Track signs of ovulation
In addition to charting your menstrual cycle on a calendar, you should have a separate notebook to keep track of ovulation signs. Common signs of ovulation include changes in cervical fluid, basal body temperature and cervical position. Make note of these signals every month until you can confidently identify when you’re ovulating.
Include the day (Day 10, Day 14, etc.) of your menstrual cycle and the change you noticed that indicated your body could be ovulating. Go back and mark this day on your menstrual cycle calendar. In the beginning, you may find it useful to keep an ovulation predictor kit handy. You could opt to primarily use these kits, however, this option can get a little expensive.
Interpret your results
After charting your menstrual cycle for a month, it’s now time to interpret your results. Even if your charting didn’t result in an immediate pregnancy, what can be deduced thus far is the length of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cycle is less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart, you should consult with one of our Winter Park OB/GYN doctors. An abnormal menstrual cycle could indicate you are ovulating inconsistently.
Knowing the length of your menstrual cycle will take most of the guess work out of determining when ovulation begins. Although the average start of a woman’s ovulation period begins on Day 14 of the menstrual cycle, it can begin as late as Day 21. If for example your menstrual cycle is about 29 days, mark days 11-16 on the calendar as your ideal fertility window.
It’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your OB/GYN if you are having trouble getting pregnant. Our Winter Park OB/GYN doctors can provide you with additional support and resources needed during the pregnancy process. To schedule an appointment, contact Contemporary Women’s Care at 407) 478-6249 or use our online appointment scheduler.