Deciding when to start a family is getting harder and harder. The sort of security that makes you feel confident about caring for the next generation seems to take longer to reach for more and more people, and as time passes fertility issues can increase. After the age of 35 your chances of a natural pregnancy decline dramatically, which is another factor you have to bear in mind.
Today we’re looking at ovulation and fertility, how the two are linked, how your increased knowledge can help you get pregnant, and what your options are.
To get pregnant you need to be trying to conceive inside your ‘fertile window’ – those few days in each cycle when sex can cause pregnancy. It’s a surprisingly short length of time, governed by the health of sperm and eggs, and when you ovulate. Sperm can survive in the body for a maximum of five days after ejaculation, while an egg remains fertile for no longer than 24 hours after ovulation.
If you know when you ovulate you can make sure you’re trying to conceive in the window when those two times overlap – four to five days before you ovulate and on the day itself.
You can also make changes to your diet and lifestyle to enhance the health of both sperm and eggs, making sure they are living as long as possible. Quitting smoking, cutting down on drinking and boosting the amount of green vegetables in your diet can have a dramatic effect on the health of eggs and sperm, so they’re lifestyle changes a couple can make together. Within three months, cutting down on toxins and improving the ‘building blocks’ going into your body will have a very real effect on the lifespan and viability of the most important cells for pregnancy!
One of the most important things you can do is to make sure you know when you’re ovulating. This allows you to target your attempts to conceive on a time when you’re more likely to succeed. It’s especially important to do this if you’re experiencing fertility problems, or if your cycles are irregular. Conditions like PCOS can cause you to experience delayed ovulation or even miss it altogether – that means fewer chances to get pregnant!
Measuring your Basal Body Temperature is a way to identify and predict when you ovulate that’s not distorted by the sort of hormone issues that drive Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Historically, the downside to it’s accuracy has always been that it’s inconvenient and labour intensive, but with modern specialised sensors and apps, it’s much simpler to get an accurate prediction of when you’re due to ovulate.