Practical tips for getting pregnant: fertile period, calculation of ovulation days, observation of cervical mucus, basal temperature, pharmacy tests and transvaginal ultrasounds. Here they are in detail.
Having intercourse every 2-3 days is certainly the easiest and least stressful way to find a pregnancy. The fact remains, however, that the encounter between the oocyte and spermatozoon is possible in just one day of the cycle and being able to understand the right time (the fertile period) can increase the chances of success by no small amount.
In particular, there are 5 methods and signals that women can use to identify the day of ovulation and thus understand when it is time to concentrate sexual relations: the calculation of the days, the observation of cervical mucus, the detection of the basal temperature, the use of special tests of the pharmacy and the use of periodic transvaginal ultrasounds (follicular monitoring). Let’s see them in detail.
Calculation of the days of the fertile period
The simplest, but also the least precise, method of determining the day of ovulation is to consider half of one’s menstrual cycle as the period of maximum fertility. In practice, it is based on the fact that, on average, ovulation occurs approximately 14-15 days after the start of the menstrual cycle and, more precisely, about 14 days before the start of the new cycle. It is, however, a very general speech, valid only for women who have regular cycles of 30-35 days and that can undergo, however, variations from cycle to cycle. It can happen, in fact, that ovulation occurs before or after the expected day, making vain the simple numerical calculation based on the average length of cycles.
When the day of ovulation begins to approach, the production of cervical mucus increases, which becomes evident with transparent leaks that the woman can find on her briefs and when she goes to the bathroom. In practice, the closer you are to “day X” the more the cervical mucus tends to increase in quantity and to become fluid, streamlined and less sticky. When ovulation is imminent, the mucus becomes very abundant and of a very watery consistency similar to egg white: this is what is called the day of the “peak”. From this moment, in fact, ovulation could take place on the same day or within about 24-36 hours (1-2 days at most). After that, the mucus becomes thick and sticky again until it almost disappears and gives the dry sensation typical of the first day of the cycle, still far from ovulation. Of course, to be able to use this method you must have a good knowledge of your body, which however can be improved over time. Finally, it should be borne in mind that there are certain conditions (such as the presence of infection) or disorders (such as polycystic ovary syndrome) that can alter the consistency of the mucus and make it difficult to observe it for procreative purposes.
The basal temperature
Another completely natural method of identifying the day of ovulation is to measure your basal temperature every day, i.e. your body temperature when you are just awake. Immediately after ovulation, in fact, the temperature tends to increase by about 0.3 – 0.5 degrees, passing for example from an average of 36.5 degrees during the first phase of the cycle (pre-ovulatory phase) to an average of about 37 degrees in the second phase of the cycle, the one that follows ovulation (post-ovulatory phase). The best way to make the measurements is to use the thermometer via the vagina (more precise than the axillary temperature), ie inserting the tip of the thermometer in the vagina, after a sleep of at least 4-5 consecutive hours without waking up. The basal temperature, in fact, is not suitable for women who have a fragmented sleep (for example, if they breastfeed and must wake up every 2-3 hours), for those with hormonal imbalances and in case of severe stress or fever, all elements that can alter the temperature of your body.
It should also be considered that the body temperature increases only after ovulation and this can help to understand whether or not there has been ovulation, but is not useful to predict when it will happen. This makes it difficult to use this method exclusively to try to get pregnant.
Ovulation can also be detected thanks to the use of special tests available in pharmacies and in many supermarkets. These are ovulation sticks, usually available in packs of 5-7 pieces that help the woman understand if ovulation is near or still far. Both the use and the reading of these tests are very simple: just put the stick under the flow of urine for about 5 seconds and wait a few minutes. Two coloured lines will appear on the stick: if the test line is less intense than the control line, this means that you are not yet in the ovulation period; if, on the other hand, the two lines are almost the same and very evident, this means that ovulation is imminent and should take place within 24-36 hours at the most (or, of course, also on the day of the test). The test should be repeated for a few days, starting from the most likely day on which ovulation usually occurs, until you see a positive stick.
If the woman has difficulty in understanding the signals of her body and cannot detect when ovulation occurs on her own, she can decide to rely on the gynaecologist, performing the so-called “ultrasound monitoring”. Through repeated transvaginal ultrasound scans carried out everyday or every other day, the gynaecologist can observe the size of the dominant follicle (i.e. the follicle from which ovulation will occur, i.e. the release of the oocyte to be fertilized) and warn the woman when ovulation is close. Once the egg has reached the size of about 20 mm, in fact, the egg is usually ready to release the oocyte and the doctor will advise the woman to have targeted intercourse the same day and the next day (or every other day).