- Understanding how your body works is crucial in the pregnancy (or nonpregnancy) journey
- Keeping track of your menstrual cycle helps you understand how your body works
- You can use the timing of your ovulation cycle to get pregnant (or not)
You must be familiar with your body’s fertility schedule to plan a pregnancy successfully. The other way is leaving it to chance and rolling with whatever happens. Those who lean more toward the organized type will want to start by tracking their periods.
Ovulation isn’t random. Pinpointing the days you ovulate gives you a tremendous head start when trying to get pregnant. There are several ways to track your menstrual cycle, and the best way is whatever works for you.
How long it takes to get pregnant depends on your cycle. Track it to find out. This guide goes over how your ovulation cycle works, how to follow it, and methods to get it done accurately.
Understanding your ovulation cycle
It takes anywhere from 6 days to 2 weeks to get pregnant after sex. You’re waiting for the sperm and egg to join, but a whole lot has to happen before you get to that point, including ovulation.
Ovulation is the part of the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release the eggs into the uterine tubes. It typically happens roughly halfway through the menstrual cycle. The eggs travel down the tubes into the uterus, and somewhere along the line, sperm may inseminate an egg.
The luteinizing phase is next, where the egg either implants in the uterine lining and develops or is discarded. If sperm fertilizes it, it stays in place to begin growing.
The 6 days before ovulation begins and the eggs drop is considered “the fertility window.” Peak fertility is the day of ovulation and the day before. It’s strategically the best time to get pregnant, so this is the time you want to avoid lovemaking – or do more of it, depending on your goals! Either way, learning to track its arrival is of the utmost importance.
Ways to Track
You should be tracking your ovulation cycle, regardless of whether you want to get pregnant. You can boost your workouts by syncing your cycle with what you eat and when you exercise. It also lets you know if your cramps are period-related or caused by something you ate. Track your cycle in the way that works best for your lifestyle.
By Physical Symptom
Some women can tell their period is approaching, and even how far away it is, just by how they feel. You can learn this trick by paying attention to your body. Watch for the symptoms to arrive and mark down when it happens. You will soon be able to tell what stage of your cycle you’re in and when you will ovulate.
By Calendar Date
One of the most efficient ways of tracking your menstrual cycle is by keeping up with dates. Note the day your period starts on a calendar each month and count the days between your periods and how many days they last. Ovulation usually happens between day 11 and day 21.
By Emotional Changes
Menstruation causes changes in your hormone levels, manifesting in emotional highs and lows near certain times of the month. Tune into your emotional mindset and note when you start to feel more emotional than usual and how long it lasts.
Ovulation Predictor Kit
An ovulation predictor kit, or OPK, is an over-the-counter test that can tell when your fertility window is and when it’s most accepting. It works much like a pregnancy test by analyzing urine on the stick for specific hormones.
Tracking your cycle takes a little practice before you can use its guidance. The key is accurate reports. There are many ways to keep track of your cycle reports.
Methods of Tracking
Pregnancy, to put it mildly, is a life-changer. Accurate tracking of your cycles can ensure it doesn’t happen until it’s supposed to. The most accurate way depends on your lifestyle and preferences.
Paper and Pen
A notebook or desk calendar works well to record your menstrual activities and dates. You can use different colored pens for important events, such as when your period starts and ends.
Many apps are designed just for this purpose. Browse the app store for your phone and search for period tracking apps. They all have different combinations of services, but you’ll be able to find one that does everything you need.
An online calendar works just like a paper calendar, except it’s digital. It can be more private than a paper version. Developers of menstruation products, such as tampons, pads, and sanitary products, usually have free versions of these tracking calendars on their websites.
Your method of recording data isn’t as important as getting it accurate. Make sure your chosen method is easy to access and remember.
Tracking your menstruation cycles allows you to see if anything is unusual in your monthly biological processes. There are a few things you may notice, such as:
- Irregular periods
- Excessive bleeding
- Mood swings
- Chronic back pain
You should discuss all these issues with your doctor if they occur. These are typical period symptoms, but constant and extreme instances can signify endometriosis, fibroids, or cancer.
Keeping track of your monthly cycle is a simple and easy way to plan a pregnancy or plan to avoid one. It can also help keep a watchful eye on your health. Another helpful option is to consult with a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic healthcare is an effective mixture of natural medicine and science to find what works best to treat an illness.
Tracking Your Cycles Isn’t Your Only Option
Tracking your cycle is helpful for all kinds of reasons, but if you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s more you can do. Dr. Karen Threlkel is a naturopathic doctor serving primarily women (and women’s health concerns) in the Greater D.C. area. She provides a holistic approach to medicine (mind-body-spirit) and natural-focused remedies for treating symptoms and underlying conditions. Contact our offices today to see everything we can do for you.