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Improving Chances of Conception by Understanding the Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation

Ovulation is a part of a woman's menstrual cycle in which a mature ovarian follicle (which is part of the ovary) discharges an egg (also known as a female gamete, ovum, or oocyte). During this process the egg travels down the fallopian tube where it may be met by a sperm and become fertilized. The egg is not a passive participant in fertilization. Observation under an electron microscope has revealed that an egg actually sends out trailing strands of amino acids. When one of these strands comes near a passing sperm cell, it catches and reels it in. Thus hooked, the sperm head penetrates the egg and pregnancy occurs.

Ovulation Predictors

Humans are most fertile between the 10th and 19th day into the menstrual cycle. Ovulation is controlled by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain which sends signals that instruct the pituitary gland and anterior lobe to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation predictors are very popular for pregnancy planning because knowing your dates of ovulation will greatly increase your odds of getting pregnant. Once you know the dates it is much easier to select the most appropriate and effective times to try to conceive.

Sex Every Other Day to Get Pregnant

One simple but effective way to get pregnant is to have sex every other day from the 10th to the 19th day of your cycle. Start counting by making the first day of your period Day 1, while days 10-18 should overlap the days when ovulating occurs. Sperm cells have a five-day lifespan and this will will ensure a fresh supply of viable sperm on the days when you do not make love. The cervical mucus resembles egg whites at a woman's most fertile point. This is because during ovulation the cervical mucus increases in volume and becomes thicker due to increased estrogen levels. As the hormone progesterone is secreted when an egg is released ovulation may also lead to a 0.4 to 1.0 degree increase in body temperature. Generally women are most fertile for two to three days before the temperature achieves its maximum.

Knowing Dates of Ovulation

Whether you are trying to have a baby, trying to guard against pregnancy, or are just interested in keeping track of your menstrual cycle, knowing when you ovulate can be a great help to any woman. Menstrual cycles are often not an exact science. Keeping track of them can be tricky business sometimes. This is because every woman's menstrual cycle is different and, depending on factors like stress, physical activity, and hormone levels, your monthly cycle may be hard to keep track of. They are not always regular, they can come and go when they please, and sometimes you can even have two periods in one month. Every case is unique.

Ovulation Fertility Testing Kits

Be aware that women's menstrual cycles are individual. Not keeping in mind that this is the case is one of the bigger mistakes that doctors can make. It is possible that any doctor who assumes that patients are all on a 28-day calendar will make mistakes in testing that relies on accurate timing. For that reason your doctor may ask you to keep a cycle journal or to use fertility testing kits to determine accurate testing dates. Your doctor should schedule a post-coital exam. This test checks on how well sperm can swim through the cervical mucus. It examines the quality of cervical mucus within 24 hours after the surge of luteinizing hormone.

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