When you’re trying to conceive, knowing when you’re most fertile is key. That’s why understanding how to use an accurate ovulation calculator so you know when you’re ovulating can make the difference between achieving a pregnancy or not. Below, we review what ovulation is, when you’re at your most fertile and what the most reliable methods are to pinpoint ovulation time.
Why Learning How to Use an Accurate Ovulation Calculator is Important
Your fertile window is the best time to conceive. This is when a woman is ovulating. Depending on how long your menstrual cycle is, you may ovulate anywhere from day 11 to day 21 of your cycle (cycle day 1 is considered the first day of your period). When you ovulate, an egg is released from your ovary and remains in the body waiting to be fertilized for a span of 12 to 24 hours. At most, sperm can live in a woman’s reproductive tract for 5 days. This means that ideally, if a woman has intercourse around the time of ovulation (two days before and up to the day she ovulates), her chance of pregnancy increases. This is why how to use an accurate ovulation calculator become so important. You want to determine the timing of your ovulation because that is the time you are most likely to get pregnant.
How to Use an Accurate Ovulation Calculator to Determine When You’re Ovulating
Here are some ways on how to use an accurate ovulation calculator at home without the help of a doctor:
- Ovulation Prediction Kits. These can be purchased at your local drug store and are not expensive. Directions are included in the kit, but in general, they detect levels of your luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. When you get close to ovulation time, your LH increases, which lets you know that it would be an ideal time to have sex.
- Basal Body Thermometer (BBT). You can also buy these at your local drug store. You would record your BBT every morning throughout your cycle and document it. It’s important that you do this at the same time each morning before getting out of bed to ensure accuracy. When you track a slight increase in your body temperature, this would indicate you are likely ovulating.
- Documenting Cervical Mucus. This entails tracking your vaginal secretions, which is something that some individuals may not be comfortable with. Cervical mucus can provide insight into your overall vaginal health, ovulation and more. When you’re trying for a baby, you need to look for mucus that looks similar to egg whites, is stretchy and almost clear. This not only indicates you are likely ovulating but also that the consistency is ideal for the sperm to swim in.
- Fertility/Ovulation Apps. It’s important to note that when it comes to using fertility tracking apps, while you can enter the first day of your period, track your cervical mucus, or even when you’ve had sex but an app can’t pick up when you, for example, have had an LH surge. Most ovulation tracking apps tend to give you an approximation of when they think you’ll be ovulating, so they aren’t the most reliable forms of information to depend on when you’re trying to conceive.
How to Use an Ovulation Calculator if You Have a Fertility Issue or Concern
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, you may want to considering making an appointment if the female partner is under the age of 35, and the couple has been actively trying to conceive for at least one year; or if the female partner is over the age of 35 and the couple has been actively trying to conceive for at least six months without success or if any of the below describes your situation:
- Have missed periods or experience irregular periods
- Are concerned that you may not be ovulating
- Have had treatment or suspect you have endometriosis
- Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Have a history of pelvic infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) pelvic pain
- Have had two or more miscarriages (also known as Recurrent Pregnancy Loss)
While ovulation calculators can help provide an idea of when you are close to ovulating, they simply can’t replace a doctor if you’re having difficulty figuring out when you’re ovulating, if you know you may have a fertility issue or if you have any medical concerns.
How A Doctor Can Help You Conceive
As a woman’s age increases, her egg quality decreases and the likelihood of having an embryo with a chromosome abnormality increases. A higher rate of chromosome abnormalities in embryos means a lower chance of getting pregnant and a higher chance of experiencing a miscarriage. Meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist and undergoing a fertility workup can be helpful. Your physician will be able to determine whether undergoing IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A or PGS) will help increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.
If there’s a need for medical intervention, specifically IVF, there’s also a higher level reproductive technology that can be used to determine your fertility window that’s called Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA) that can determine your personalized implantation window. An endometrial biopsy will be taken by your doctor in a mock embryo transfer cycle, which entails taking a small sample of your endometrial lining. This sample would then be carefully analyzed to find when your specific window of implantation would be. That way, your doctor will know the ideal time to transfer the embryo to give it the best chance of implanting in the uterus, thus giving you the best chances of achieving a pregnancy.
What’s comforting is there is support for every part of your trying to conceive journey. Whether you’re just starting out, been trying for a few months, a year, or it’s been a while. Sometimes, it may be a matter of getting the right diagnosis, some genetic testing or simply, some reproductive assistance but know that you have resources and options!