Are you considering using an ovulation calendar? Here's how it works.
What is ovulation, exactly?
Eggs actually develop in a female fetus during pregnancy, so girls are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Once a woman starts menstruating, she will typically release one mature egg from one of her ovaries during each menstrual cycle. This is called ovulation, and a woman can ovulate more than 500 times before entering the menopause. An egg can live for 12 to 24 hours after it leaves the respective ovary, but the fertile window actually lasts considerably longer than that. It is important to keep in mind that sperm can survive within the female reproductive system for up to six days.
Having sex in the days before ovulation can, thus, clearly lead to pregnancy! The two days before ovulation, and the day of ovulation itself, are a woman's most fertile days. In order to make use of this window of optimum fertility, women who are trying to conceive first need to know when they will ovulate. There are many ways in which she can gain this knowledge. Using ovulation tests, charting her basal body temperature, and monitoring her cervical mucus are three random selections from the spectrum. Using an ovulation calendar is, however, the very easiest first step toward knowing when you ovulate. It is free, and easy too.
Using a calendar to predict ovulation
Ovulation calendars are also known as ovulation calculators. In this age of the internet, the term "ovulation calendar" has come to refer specifically to online apps that automatically calculate your ovulation day for you. Women who do not have constant access to a reliable internet connection or women who prefer to keep things low tech can, however, create their own ovulation calendar with just a little more effort. What do you need to know to make an ovulation calendar work? The more info you have about your menstrual cycle, the more likely it is that an ovulation calendar will give you accurate results about your ovulate day and fertile window. If you are just starting out, I am pretty sure that you already have access to the most basic data you need to use an ovulation calendar, though.
They are your average cycle length and the date on which your last menstrual period began. Statistically speaking, the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. This is the cycle length online ovulation calendars will typically use as their default. Any cycle length between 20 and 40 days is medically considered normal, and women can calculate the average length of their personal cycles by keeping track of their cycle lengths for four cycles. Take the number of days these cycles lasted, and calculate the average. There you go! Ovulation calendars become a lot more reliable if you have access to a third bit of data, beside your average cycle length and the date of your last menstrual period.
This is the luteal phase, or the second half of your menstrual cycle. The luteal phase is the part of the cycle that stretches from a woman's ovulation to her next period. The average luteal phase is 14 days long, but a normal luteal phase can last anywhere between 1o and 20 days. You will need to use ovulation tests (which work by detecting hormones), or other very reliable ovulation detecting methods to get a perfect idea of how long your luteal phase lasts. Once you have all that information, you can rely on an ovulation calendar to tell you when you are fertile fairly reliably.
Stick to this formula: Ovulation day = Total number of cycle days - luteal phase days Women who do not have access to information about the length of their luteal phase can use the default of 14 days, and still have a good chance of catching their ovulation that way. So, once you know the average length of your cycle, you can calculate the date of your next expected period and then count back 14 days. If you know the average length of your luteal phase, you can substitute that number, and subtract it from your total cycle length. There, you've got your expected ovulation day! Remember that the five days before expected ovulation are part of your fertile window. Perhaps, you don't want the hassle of calculating all of this yourself. Then, you can use any online ovulation calendar to do the work for you. We have one right on this blog it's that huge pink box to the right of the page. Women who sign up will receive emails to notify them of their approaching ovulation three days ahead of time, and again on O-Day itself. Remember, however, that an electronic ovulation calendar is only as accurate as you make it. By updating your cycle-length and luteal phase info regularly, you get the best results.