The Most Important Step: Find out when you ovulate!
Many women do not know when they ovulate. Some women may have read that ovulation occurs 14 days before your period, but that is not necessarily accurate - unless your body works according to textbooks! Even if you have a regular 28-day cycle you may, in fact, ovulate before or after day 14. Your cycle may be irregular or shorter or longer than 28 days. For all these reasons you need to find out when you are ovulating.
How to test for ovulation?
Buy an ovulation test kit or Luteinising Hormone (LH) urine strips. LH strips are inexpensive and can be purchased online from Fertility2Family at http://fertility2family.com.au/ovulation-tests-en/ or in pharmacies. If you buy an ovulation test kit, as each follows a different regime, please follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Depending on the length of your cycle, you may need to start testing on different days, so test accordingly to instructions.
LH Urine Strips
You will use the strips to test for ovulation. Start on Day 7 of your cycle (day 1 of your cycle is the 1st day of bleeding and not spotting) and use them daily until a positive line appears on the strip. When the strip, line or "smiley face" shows on the strip this indicates a surge in LH and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. LH stimulates egg release (ovulation) which usually occur 16 to 32 hours after the surge begins. The oestrogen level peaks during the surge and the progesterone levels start to increase shortly afterwards.
It takes 2 days of swimming for the sperm to join the egg - so sex 2 days before the LH surge is essential.
Note: The best time to test for ovulation is after 10 am - 8 pm. Collect the urine about the same time each time. Do not test using first-morning urine.
Check your cervical mucus
Over the course of your menstrual cycle, the colour, amount and texture of your cervical mucus changes. Your mucus will change from a thick, dense, sticky cloudy, slippery mucus, much like raw egg white just before and during ovulation. The amount of mucus also increases at that time. The combination of raw egg white consistency and the increased amount of mucus makes it easier for the sperm to travel to the egg.
Mucus is meant to be noticeable and thick enough to stain your underwear. Sperm get where they are going by climbing up the strings of healthy, stingy and slimy mucus. The mucus at ovulation is meant to resemble the slimy mucus one would normally associate with blowing one's nose whilst experiencing a heavy head cold. If the mucus is not the right consistency it is not possible for sperm to be able to climb up the strings within the mucus. Please check your mucus and note the quality down as well. This will establish a firm baseline to refer to.
A good time to check your cervical mucus is when you first go to the bathroom in the morning. You may have enough mucus so check the toilet paper after you wipe yourself.
Chart your basal body temperature
Your temperature usually drops by half of one degree 24 hours before you ovulate, then it goes up as you ovulate. The last page of this report includes a free chart. All you need is to buy an accurate digital thermometer. There are some Basal Body Temperature thermometers available, but the main thing is that the accuracy must be 1/10th of a degree. Two-tenths is not good enough for charting.
How to check:
Fill in the dates and days of the week that correspond to your menstrual cycle. The first day of your period is "cycle day 1"
Before you get out of bed, pop the thermometer into your mouth. It is important to take the temperature at about the same time each morning. Put a dot on the chart next to the temperature that matches your temperature.
Connect the dots to see a pattern emerge.
Towards the end of your cycle, go back and look for the day you just before you ovulate your temperature will drop, then just as you ovulate your temperature will increase.
Check if your mucus also changed around ovulation.
Once you have determined ovulation, keep recording your temperature during the next few cycles and find a pattern. If you ovulate on the same day each cycle, then you know that you will most likely ovulate on the same day each month. That makes it easy. If you ovulate on different days each cycle, then you will need to keep recording.
Do not use lubrication for sexual intercourse other than Sylk™ or Pre-Seed available at most supermarkets and health food store or online from Fertility2Family (http://fertility2family.com.au/sperm-friendly-safe-lubricant-en/). Another product is Pre-Seed, you can order online from http://www.preseed.co.nz or directly purchase from Target. Both lubricants can be used while trying to conceive because they do not kill sperm.
Stress has a big impact on your hormones. If you find it too stressful to test your temperature every day, just use the ovulation test kit and take note of your mucus.