For anyone that is trying to conceive this is one of the most important things to know as the window for conception each month is actually quite small. If your menstrual cycle is very regular and the same length each month then it is very easy to predict your most fertile days using an ovulation calculator. There is a very easy to use one at BBC Health
If you cycle is irregular or unpredictable then it may help you to use an ovulation predictor to identify your most fertile days each month as these may will from month to month.
There are several methods to predict when ovulation will occur, the most commonly used method is to use a urine ovulation test or ovulation predictor kit which identifies your LH surge. LH is the hormone which triggers ovulation to occur and it peaks just before ovulation occurs each month & so is a reliable predictor of ovulation. The advantage of using an ovulation predictor is because you know that you are about to ovulate, you can have intercourse just prior to ovulation, as well as at the time of ovulation, to make sure that plenty of sperm are around to fertilise the egg when it is released, thus increasing the chances of conception.
Other methods to identify your most fertile time are looking for signs that ovulation has occurred:
- changes in cervical mucus which becomes more stringy and appears like raw egg whites this method is known as the billings method.
- your basal body temperature increases so many women use a high accuracy thermometer to chart basal body temperature
- There are also changes in saliva around ovulation and this can be identified using a saliva ovulation microscope.
The disadvantage to these methods is they do not give you prior notice that ovulation is about to occur just that is has occurred. studies show that if you have intercourse just prior to ovulation as well as at ovulation it increases your chances of conceiving. It means the sperm are ready & waiting for the egg.