Ovulation is the release of eggs from the ovaries. It occurs about midway through the menstrual cycle. The days in which you will be most fertile can be calculated based on the date of your last menstrual period and the length of a typical menstrual cycle. The few days surrounding ovulation constitute your most fertile phase. The time from the beginning of your last menstrual period (LMP) until ovulation is, on average, 14 days. Ovulation happens about 14 days before your period starts.
The egg remains viable for 24 hours and sperm remains viable for anywhere from 48-72 hours.
Depending on cycle lengths in 21-35 day cycles (all normal length) ovulation can be anytime between days 11-21. Ovulation may not occur on the same day every cycle. So if we calculate the fertile window for a 28-day cycle then its days 11-16.
Also you don’t have to have sex every single day in a fertile period if it is not possible. You can do it every alternate day as well. I know I am ovulating.
How do I know I am ovulating?
Ovulation, a process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary, usually occurs around 12 to 16 days before your period starts, so you may be able to work out when you’re likely to ovulate if you have a regular cycle.
However, there are certain signs and symptoms which indicate ovulation.
- Rise in basal body temperature (BBT) – Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you’re fully at rest. Ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature. You’ll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises. By tracking your basal body temperature each day, you may be able to predict when you’ll ovulate. Before ovulation, your BBT averages between 97 °F and 97.5 °F. After ovulation, it rises to 97.6 °F to 98.6 °F.
- High levels of luteinizing hormone – A surge in luteinizing hormone (LH), hormone that triggers ovulation, causes your ovary to release a mature egg around the second week of each menstrual cycle. A high LH level around this time means that you’re at that moment in your cycle when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
- Cervical mucus – Around ovulation, it is common for cervical mucus or vaginal discharge to increase in volume, while also having the distinct look and feel of raw egg whites. The cervical mucus plays a significant role as it is one of the primary links between hormone signals and fertility. It helps sperm move through the cervix so it can fertilize an egg during ovulation.
- Breast tenderness – Breast tenderness is a secondary symptom of ovulation. Your nipples, and maybe even your breasts, may feel sore or achy around ovulation. The discomfort could range from minor to severe. You might have pain in one or both nipples. It can also cause your breasts to feel heavier, tender, and fuller than usual.
- Bloating – Bloating during ovulation is one of the symptoms of ovulation. While some women experience bloating around ovulation, some have it at different times of the menstrual cycle. It is a mild pressure, swelling, or a feeling of fullness in the abdominal area. The hormonal changes during and after ovulation lead to ovulation bloating.
- Light spotting – Ovulation occurs when the ovary releases an egg and some women experience bleeding and spotting around the time they are ovulating, which is a normal occurrence. Ovulation bleeding happens most often as a result of quick fluctuations in hormones that occur during ovulation. In fact, it’s fairly common for women to spot or bleed at some point in their menstrual cycles.
- Slight pain or cramping in your side – Up to 40% of women experience pain and discomfort during ovulation. The pain can last from a few minutes to 48 hours. Women may experience different symptoms of ovulation pain, including uncomfortable pressure, twinges, sharp pains, cramps or strong pain in the lower abdomen. Some women get a one-sided pain in their lower abdomen when they ovulate.
Combining these methods can give you a more accurate picture of your ovulation cycle. However, it’s important to remember that ovulation can vary from month to month, so tracking your cycle over time can help you identify patterns and predict your most fertile days. Also despite doing all these methods it is still not accurate to track your ovulation.
Is there an ideal age to get pregnant and have a baby?
The ideal age to get pregnant varies from person to person, but generally speaking, women are most fertile and have the best chance of getting pregnant in their 20s and early 30s. This is because a woman’s fertility declines gradually as she ages, with a more rapid decline after the age of 35.
That said, the average age of first-time mothers has been on the rise. Women are waiting to get pregnant, first spending time investing in their careers, relationships, and hobbies before settling down. Today, many women are in no hurry to get pregnant. They address numerous other concerns before they decide to take up such a big responsibility and commitment.
So looking at the contemporary scenario, there’s no “best age” to get pregnant. The decision to start a family is many a time dictated by your age and your readiness to be a parent.
Here is a look at how your biological clock is working.
- In your 20s
When you are in your 20s, it is the time when you have the highest number of good quality eggs available and your pregnancy risks are lowest. In your 20, you also have a lower chance of miscarrying, chromosomal disorders, having gestational diabetes, blood pressure and more likely to be fitter and healthier. Biologically, 20s might be the best age, but one definitely needs to consider other factors as well before welcoming a baby.
- In your 30s
At age 30, fertility slowly starts to decrease. Most women don’t have trouble early in the decade. The greatest change in your fertility during your 30s occurs after age 35. The number and quality of the eggs begins to decrease. It becomes much more difficult to get pregnant. The risk for miscarriage and genetic abnormalities also begins to rise after age 35. You might face more complications in your pregnancy or during delivery having a baby later in life. If you’re over 35 and haven’t been able to conceive after six months of trying, you may want to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist. If you are looking to become pregnant after 30 or 35, experts suggest planning the first pregnancy before 37 years old. This increases the chances of having at least one child before fertility declines further.
- In your 40s
While fertility does decline naturally as we age, starting around age 30, it is possible to become pregnant without intervention after age 40. Childbirth at older ages has become more common too. It is still possible to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby in your 40s.
In your 40s you’re far more likely to develop problems like high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy as well as placental problems and birth complications. You’re at higher risk of a small or preterm baby. Women older than 40 are more likely to deliver a low-birth-weight or preterm baby. Better to consult your doctor for a safe pregnancy.
No age is perfect but the fact is some ages are better as compared to others, if a woman is trying to get pregnant. Late 20s is the best age biologically to get pregnant. This is because the body’s reproductive system and all other systems are at their peak. If you get pregnant after 35, experts call this an “advanced maternal age” pregnancy. But in today’s scenario where families are small and women are working full-time, early pregnancy isn’t ideal for many. It is better to consult your doctor, gynaecologist or health care specialist before starting a family to seek your ideal phase and age.
Am I ready to have a baby?
Deciding to get pregnant and have a baby might be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Though there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to when or how you decide to become a parent, but it’s a decision that should be carefully regarded, with adequate consideration and planning. The best time for you to get pregnant is when you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially ready. Deciding when you are ready for motherhood is a personal decision that depends on various factors.
Keep these important factors in mind and ask yourself these questions?
- Age – Am I of suitable age to have a baby? While most people are in their reproductive prime in their 20s, that decade isn’t always the best age to have kids when you are still settling down and there are fluctuations in your life.
- Financial Stability – Are you financially stable? Raising a child can be expensive, and it is essential to consider your financial situation before starting a family. Keep in mind costs for childcare, food, clothing, medical expenses.
- Support System – Do you have a support system? You need to have an adequate support network of family and friends. Having a strong support system can help make the transition to motherhood easier.
- Career Goals – Can you strike a work-life balance? Most people can continue working during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes many changes in your body and your ability to continue working depends on your overall health, the health of the fetus, and what sort of work you do. To stay healthy and productive on the job, you need to understand how to relieve common pregnancy discomforts. If you continue working, the goal is to stay safe and comfortable.
- Relationship Readiness – Have you discussed your plans with your partner? It is essential to have open and honest communication with your partner about your plans for starting a family. You must ensure that the relationship with your partner is stable and healthy.
- Healthy Weight – Is my weight important? You have a greater chance of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby if you are close to a healthy weight. Being overweight, obese or underweight can affect your fertility. Doctors usually recommend that the Body Mass Index (BMI) of women should possibly be between 19 to 25 to have the best chances of conception.
- Emotional Maturity – Are you emotionally prepared for motherhood? Motherhood can be both rewarding and challenging, and it is important to ensure that you are mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with it. You should be emotionally prepared to handle demands and stresses of motherhood.
- Time and energy – Do you have the time and energy to devote to a child? Raising a child requires a significant amount of time and energy, and it is essential to ensure that you are ready to make this commitment.
Ultimately, only you can decide if you are ready for motherhood. Take time to reflect on your readiness and consult with trusted loved ones and healthcare professionals for guidance to give a healthy start to your baby.
How do I know I am pregnant without a test?
The signs of early pregnancy can vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy. You may feel your body making changes before you know you’re pregnant or you may not notice any symptoms at all. It is difficult to know if you are pregnant without taking a pregnancy test or seeking medical advice. However, there are some early signs and symptoms that you can look out for.
- Fatigue – Fatigue also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. No one knows for certain what causes sleepiness during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, a rapid rise in the levels of the hormone progesterone during early pregnancy might contribute to fatigue.
- Nausea – Nausea can happen as early as two weeks into a pregnancy. Not everyone experiences nausea and there are various levels of nausea. You can feel nausea but never vomit.
- Tender breasts – If you experience that your breasts are becoming extra sensitive to any type of touch, it’s a sign of pregnancy. This is due to the reason that during early stage of pregnancy, blood flow to your breasts increases, making the breast tissues more sensitive and swollen.
- Frequent urination – Before you even miss a period, you may notice that you have to go to the washroom more often. This happens because you have more blood than before. During pregnancy, your body’s blood supply increases. Your kidneys filter your blood and remove the extra waste. Although peeing often during pregnancy is annoying, it’s also a normal and common pregnancy symptom.
- Missed period – The most common and obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Once conception has happened, your body produces hormones that stop ovulation and the shedding of the lining of your uterus. This means that your menstrual cycle has stopped and you won’t have a period again until after your baby is born.
However, these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, such as stress or hormonal changes. It’s important to take a pregnancy test or seek medical advice if you suspect you may be pregnant.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding harmful substances such as tobacco and alcohol. This can help support a healthy pregnancy if you do conceive.
What tests are done to determine pregnancy?
There are several tests that can be done to determine pregnancy, depending on how far along you are and what information you’re looking for. Here are some of the most common tests:
- Urine test: A home pregnancy test or a urine test at your doctor’s clinic can detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy. It appears in the blood and urine of pregnant women as early as 10 days after conception. Best time to take the test is after the date of your missed period.
- Blood test – Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about six to eight days after you ovulate. It can detect HCG and can provide more detailed information about your pregnancy. These blood tests are slightly more sensitive than urine tests because they can detect very small levels of HCG. They can provide a more accurate answer very early on in pregnancy — within seven to 10 days after conception.
- Ultrasound – An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your uterus and developing foetus. This can help confirm a pregnancy, determine the gestational age. Can be done anytime after 6 weeks.
- Pelvic exam – Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam to check the size and shape of your uterus and to look for any signs of pregnancy or potential problems. A doctor can detect pregnancy with a pelvic exam, if the pregnancy is six or more weeks old. A pelvic exam involves physical examination of your reproductive organs like the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, rectum and bladder.
If you suspect you may be pregnant, it’s important to take a pregnancy test or seek medical advice to confirm and manage your pregnancy appropriately.