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Some couples think that daily intercourse for weeks on end is necessary when trying to conceive. Although there is no harm in doing so, it can be tiring, causing unnecessary stress, and the reality is it’s simply not needed. By using a few simple tools like an ovulation calendar to keep track of when you are ovulating and the window of ‘peak fertility’, you can predict the optimal time to try to conceive.

Ultimately, peak fertility revolves around the timing of ovulation, when the egg is released from the ovary and makes its way into the fallopian tube to be fertilized. For women with very regular cycles, ovulation generally occurs halfway through the menstrual cycle, but can occur anywhere from day 11 to day 21 of a woman’s cycle.

When trying to conceive, your odds of conception are best when you’re having frequent intercourse starting 3 days before you ovulate until about a day after you’ve ovulated. This is because sperm can survive in the female reproductive track for up to 3-5 days waiting for an egg, while an egg once ovulated only lives for 12 – 24 hours unless it’s fertilized.

One way to learn when you’re ovulating is by checking your body temperature every day in the morning before getting out of bed, known as ‘basal body temperature charting.’ Your temperature should rise about 0.5 degrees after ovulation occurs. Alternatively, you can use an over the counter ovulation predictor kit starting on cycle day 9 until it turns positive, indicating that ovulation will occur about a day later. Keep in mind that basal body temperature changes occur after ovulation, showing that you’ve already ovulated for that month, whereas ovulation predictor kits tell you that you are about to ovulate. Other signs some women may experience with ovulation include: slight pain or cramping on one side of the abdomen, abdominal bloating, light spotting, and breast tenderness.

Because menstrual cycles are slightly different for each individual, keeping an ovulation calendar and using tools like ovulation predictor kits can help to understand more about your unique cycle and the timing of ‘peak fertility.’ This should maximize you odds of conception. However, it is not the solution for everyone, and done month after month can become frustrating and unnecessary. If you have been trying to conceive for 12 months without birth control, or if your cycles are unpredictable and it is difficult to determine when or even if you are ovulating, it might be time to seek the expertise of a fertility specialist. Contact us today for more information.