by Jade Kermar
Choosing to start a family is an exciting time in life. Picking out names, decorating the nursery, registering for baby equipment and attending baby showers are the fun parts of getting ready for a baby. But before you can do all of that you need to be pregnant and have a baby on the way.
Choosing to start a family is an exciting time in life. Picking out names, decorating the nursery, registering for baby equipment, and attending baby showers are the fun parts of getting ready for a baby. But before you can do all of that you need to be pregnant and have a baby on the way. The key to making that happen is to understand your fertility cycle. Getting pregnant is not just about having sex. Your body has to be ready to release an egg, the egg has to be ready to be fertilized, and your body has to be ready to sustain a pregnancy. By now, you know all about your menstrual cycle, but if you’ve never been pregnant, you may not know much about your fertility cycle.
It is called a cycle because it is just that: a cycle that repeats itself. For most women the cycle is regular and can be tracked fairly accurately so that each month you know on which days you are most likely to conceive. Because the cycles are usually a month long, it is appropriate to look at cycles on a month-by-month basis. A typical fertility cycle looks like this:
Day 1 – This is the day that menstruation begins. On this day, progesterone and estrogen levels have decreased to low levels.
Days 2-6 – Menstruation continues (or stops), as the uterus rids itself of unneeded tissue and blood because a fertilized egg was not detected. Estrogen gradually increases.
Days 7-14 – Levels of estrogen increase to the highest point of the month, at which point the release of an egg from an ovary is triggered. When the egg is released there is a window of about 24 hours where the egg is viable for fertilization. If it is not fertilized in this time period, conception will not occur.
Days 15-28 – On these days, amounts of estrogen become less and amounts of progesterone become more. During these days, the increasing levels of progesterone cause the lining of the uterus to thicken as the body prepares itself to carry a baby. If a fertilized egg does not attach itself to the uterus during this time, the level of progesterone drops and the body knows to begin release of the unnecessary uterine lining. Then Day 1 of the cycle begins again. If a fertilized egg does attach itself to the uterus, the progesterone level will not drop and missed periods will occur for the remainder of the pregnancy.
As you can see, for a pregnancy to occur, intercourse must happen in that period of time during which a woman is ovulating. An egg only has 24 hours before it “dies”. However, a sperm can live up to 4 days inside a woman’s body. Therefore, if a couple has intercourse on day 11 of a woman’s cycle, but she doesn’t ovulate until day 14, it is possible that a pregnancy can still occur. On the other hand, if a woman ovulates on day 10 and she doesn’t have intercourse until day 14, she is not going to get pregnant.
Since ovulation is so important to figuring out your fertility cycle, you can predict ovulation pretty accurately by charting basal body temperature and evaluating the consistency of your cervical mucus. AdditionallyFree Articles, most pharmacies now carry ovulation predictor kits that test urine to predict the dates of ovulation which can be very convenient for those who lead extremely busy lives. Any of these methods will increase your chances of more accurately predicting your dates of ovulation and will help you get pregnant.
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