If you're trying for a baby, understanding how ovulation works will give you the best chance of becoming pregnant. Here we dispel some common fertility myths and give you the facts.
Your menstrual cycle can vary from 24 to 36 days with ovulation occurring 12-14 days before the next period (day one is the first day of your last period). If you have a 28-day cycle this would be halfway between periods, around day 14. However, if your cycle is regularly 30 days, ovulation will normally occur between day 16 and 18.
Why not take a look at the Emma's Diary India Ovulation Calculator, which uses information about your menstrual cycle to work out when your most fertile period is likely to be.
Although it’s true that your egg is only viable for 12 to 24 hours, you can actually get pregnant if you have sex any time during the five days before ovulation and on the day you ovulate. This is because sperm can survive in the vagina, uterus or fallopian tubes for up to five days
Naturally, your partner must have an orgasm to ensure his sperm can reach the fallopian tubes and the egg. However, the female orgasm doesn’t have any effect on this process and so isn’t necessary for conception to take place.
You have a fertility window of around six days, so having sex at any point during this time could lead to conception. Some experts suggest that intercourse every two days during the fertile window will increase the chances of pregnancy.
It is perfectly possible for you to become fertile within a month of coming off the pill, but it can also take a few months for your hormones to settle down.
Charting your temperature over several cycles can help you recognise your most fertile days. However, as a rise in temperature occurs just after you have ovulated it is easier to use an ovulation kit which indicates your fertility window by detecting the surge in the luteinising hormone (LH) that occurs just before you ovulate. Easier still is using the Emma’s Diary India Ovulation Calculator.
For most women ovulation is a pain-free experience. However, around 20% of women do feel some discomfort, either on one side of their lower back or in their abdomen just before ovulation. Known as ‘mittelschmerz’ this can last anywhere from an hour or so, up to a couple of days.
Having an irregular menstrual cycle makes it more difficult to pin point your fertility window, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are less fertile. Having sex every few days throughout the month could increase your chances of becoming pregnant. However, irregular periods can sometimes be caused by medical conditions that can affect your fertility so it’s worth seeking advice from your doctor.
There is no evidence that lying with your legs in the air or adopting other positions after sex increases the chance of pregnancy.
To give yourself the best chance of becoming pregnant you need to be a healthy weight. If your BMI (body mass index) is 29 or more, the oestrogen stored in your body fat cells can cause a hormone imbalance that can reduce ovulation. Being underweight can cause irregular periods, which can also make it more difficult to conceive. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet along with plenty of exercise are the best things you can do, both before conception and during pregnancy.