The big O. No, not Orgasm…Ovulation. It’s the time when women are at their most fertile. It’s the optimal time to be having sex if you want to conceive (and the worst if you want to avoid it). But do you actually know when you’re ovulating each month?
As a woman, one of the most empowering things you can do is get to know your body. Whether you’re trying to have a baby or trying to prevent it, tuning into your body and listening to what it’s trying to tell you can help. For many women, this concept can seem foreign. Having spent most of your life trying not to fall pregnant, we have shut down our innate wisdom and lost connection to our body. During each stage of your menstrual cycle, the body will give you signs and symptoms, such as ovulation twinges or a wavering sex drive, you just need to know what to look for and understand what they mean.
Understanding your menstrual cycle is the first step to understanding your fertility. Traditionally, a normal menstrual cycle is considered 28 lunar calendar days. There’s a big BUT here – only 15 percent of women actually have a 28-day cycle. That means you’re completely normal if your cycle is between 24 and 35 days – rejoice! However, if your cycle is shorter than 24 days, or longer than 35 days, this could indicate that you might not be ovulating regularly. Regular ovulation and fertility go hand-in-hand, but that’s just the start of getting to know your body’s fertility signals.
Do you have those times in the month when you go the bathroom and notice slippery cervical fluid when you wipe? Or white marks in your underwear? This is your cervical fluid and it changes depending on where you are in your cycle. Hormonal changes over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle affect the amount and the consistency of cervical fluid. Around ovulation, you will notice you have an increased sensation of wetness, your fertile cervical fluid will be clear, abundant, stretchy and resemble egg whites.
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Keep a diary and track your cervical fluid observations. We recommend tracking your cervical fluid from the time your period finishes. Write down what you notice: colour, texture, wetness, stretchiness and consistency.
Most women don’t really know or understand when their fertile period is because ovulation can be difficult to pinpoint. Begin by tracking your menstrual cycle each month. You can start by marking your days in your diary, calendar or phone. From the first day of your period, it takes around 14 days for a follicle to mature then release. It is when this follicle releases that we are at our most fertile. From the time our follicle releases we have a small window of 24- 48 hours to conceive.
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You can also use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). OPKs are a great fertility tool that can help you understand when you’re ovulating. You can buy them at most supermarkets and chemists without a prescription. By simply peeing on a stick, OPKs detect the surge in LH, which is what triggers the egg to release. This tells us that ovulation is about to happen generally within 24 hours. You’ll either notice a smiley face on your stick or it will read ‘high fertility’. Following the instructions on your brochure will guide you to the best times you should be testing.
Lastly, as I’ve said, listen to your body. There are many hormone fluctuations during your cycle and during your fertile period, you should be feeling in the mood.
Timing is everything. Since you are only fertile for a few days each cycle, it’s important to understand your own menstrual cycle and exactly when it is that you’re ovulating. If you’re trying to fall pregnant, intercourse needs to be focused on your fertile window to maximise your chances of conceiving. This is the time we need to get down to the business side of things! Remember it’s important to be having regular sex without going overboard. Fresh is best.
It’s also important to enjoy yourself. Having an orgasm will help stimulate healthy blood flow to your uterus and increase the chances of the sperm fertilising the egg. When our cervix is stimulated during an orgasm it scoops down and picks up more semen.