Trying For A Baby? 4 Facts You Should Know About Your Cycle
The 28th day myth – your cycle is unique!
Your menstrual cycle is the body’s way of preparing for a baby. Day one of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period. Your cycle lasts until the first day of your next period.
During your period oestrogen causes and egg to develop, after which progesterone thickens the lining of the womb. If you do not fall pregnant, the egg is absorbed into the body and hormone levels decline.
The amount of days you bleed varies also.
The best thing you can do is diarise your periods – you’ll quickly pick up patterns, and although it’s ideal to have ‘regular’ periods, not having them doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant. You may want to try our Ovulation Calculator which will help you determine your fertile window in your menstrual cycle – the best time for you to try and conceive.
Your body changes at ovulation…
Along with finding patterns in your cycle, it’s good to check for physical changes. These all signify ovulation:
- Heightened sense of smell
- Body temperature changes
- Attractiveness to the opposite sex
- Your cervical mucus
Wait what? I become more attractive to the opposite sex? Yes, you do!
Fuller lips, dilated pupils, softer skin, your smell, even (subconsciously it’s said) the clothes you wear change around the time of ovulation. So take note, the days you feel sexy and beautiful are mother nature’s way of telling you to get down to business.
Whilst tracking your body temperature has always been a good way of predicting ovulation, the rise in body temperature occurs AFTER ovulation, which means that you are on the back foot each month.
The best indicator of ovulation is cervical mucus – your discharge! Yep ladies, hands washed and intimate investigation time!
When your mucus has an egg white consistency and stays ‘stringy’ as you pull it apart with two fingers, this is the best indicator of ovulation approaching. See here for more info.
Your overall health is a huge factor
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting yourself checked before trying for a baby. Underlying STDs or bacterial infections can create a hostile environment in your body, affecting your chances of conception!
Added to this are a host of other gynaecological issues, such as endometriosis and cervical polyps that can cause infertility. And even if you’re having periods, you may be experiencing anovulation (a period that occurs without an egg being produced).
Get screened! A well woman check, such as the one on offer at The Gynae Centre will clear up any underlying anxieties you may have experienced with your menstrual cycle in the past.
Renowned gynaecologist Dr Eskander from The Gynae Centre explains: “Aside from your gynaecological health, take stock of your general health. Do you smoke, drink, take drugs? Do you eat too much sugar, too many processed foods? Do you do enough exercise? Do you do yoga?
“Eating well, eliminating toxins and exercising are all key factors in increasing your body’s ability to conceive.”
Your reproductive system is not essential to your survival. It will shut down if your body is under too much stress.
Timing is everything!
The quicker you get to know your individual cycle the better equipped you’ll be to work out the best timings to have sex. Having lots of sex is a great idea, but if you’re doing it at the wrong time, you won’t get results.
Your ‘fertile window’ is the five days leading up to conception and the day of conception. The fertile window ‘shuts’ around 12-24 hours after the egg has been released.
Sperm can live in the female body for up to 5 days. This means it essential to have sex in the days running up to conception, rather than waiting for the day of conception.
Use our Ovulation Calculator to work out the ‘fertile window’ of your menstrual cycle i.e. the best time for you to try and conceive.
If you have investigated the cervical mucus method (above), it is advisable to start having sex when the ‘egg white’ textured mucus appears, as this replicates the consistency of sperm and facilitates the sperms’ journey to the egg.
Taking time to get to know your body and your menstrual cycle will pay off in the end.