Ovulation Calendars - Pros & Cons
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Pregnancy Ovulation Calendar - Pros and Cons
By Diana Farrell
When you were younger, you probably thought that frequent sex and the law of averages would be enough to get you pregnant. Unfortunately, conceiving is a little bit more complicated than that, especially for couples with fertility problems. Although sperm can live up to three days in your womb, a mature egg will only be around for 24-48 hours. Timing intercourse around ovulation, or your most fertile days, is the key to conceiving. You can predict this short window of fertility by using a pregnancy ovulation calendar and basal thermometer to track your fertile days. Although this is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make your fertile days count, the calendar method is not without its disadvantages.
Con: Takes months for a pattern to emerge
For most women, charting your basal body temperature (BBT) with a calendar can only provide useful information if you've been keeping track of your cycle for the last six to twelve months. The fewer cycles recorded, the less accurate the data will be. Women with highly irregular menstrual cycles may also have trouble using this method to predict ovulation. The variations in cycle length make it more difficult to estimate the length of your luteal phase, which makes it difficult to pinpoint your fertile days accurately. However, if your cycle happens like clockwork, you can be fairly sure of when your fertile days will occur after you have been tracking for about two or three months.
Con: Takes away from the spontaneity of sex
One of the biggest problems faced by couples trying to conceive is that sometimes the scheduled sex can diminish some of the fun and excitement; the frustration when months or years have passed and conception has not occurred can make intercourse less fulfilling. It's important to maintain open lines of communication in your partnership during these difficult times and find creative ways that will work for both of you to bring the romance and passion back into your love making, despite your focus on becoming pregnant.
Con: Can only confirm ovulation after it occurs
The biggest drawback to predicting ovulation with a BBT chart is that it doesn't give advanced warning of ovulation. It only tells you that you've ovulated after it occurs. Your BBT rises by at least.4 degrees when you ovulate but by the time you notice this change, you may have already missed your window of fertility. After you've made at least six charts, you should be able to detect a pattern that can help you predict your peak fertility. But for those who don't want to wait, you can use an ovulation predictor kit to determine ovulation. An ovulation predictor kit is a urine test that detects a surge in the luteinizing hormone, the sex hormone that triggers the release of a mature egg. The levels of this hormone usually increase a day or two before ovulation, and a kit can detect these changes so you can time intercourse accordingly.
Pro: Provides valuable information about your cycle
The standard menstrual cycle should last around 28 days, but the regularity and length of menstrual cycles varies from woman to woman. An ovulation calendar is a useful tool that can keep track of how regular your cycle is and the general pattern of fertility in your cycle. Your doctor can also glean a lot of valuable information from the data in your ovulation calendar and use this to identify potential problems to your fertility. For instance, it's normal to have the occasional missed period or irregular cycle, but cycles that are consistently longer than 45 days are something to worry about. Irregular periods are often a symptom of ovulatory problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Your doctor can also use your BBT chart to determine if you ovulate regularly or if ovulation is even present.
Pro: Inexpensive and easy to use
You can create your own ovulation calendar by taking your basal body temperature every morning and entering this data onto an Excel spreadsheet or a free BBT chart from the Internet. Start charting your BBT on the first day of your period. Take your basal body temperature as soon as you wake up, at the same time every morning. Make sure you keep your basal thermometer by your bedside; getting up and searching for it can cause a change in your temperature. Enter the date onto your chart or Excel spreadsheet, and write down your temperature underneath that date. The normal range of pre-ovulatory temperature varies, but it is usually ranges from 96 - 98 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll know if you've ovulated when your temperature increases by at least 0.4 degrees for three consecutive days. Some women experience a dip in temperature before this increase, but this is not a reliable way of telling if you've ovulated or not. After several cycles of tracking your BBT, a pattern should emerge, and you should be able to make fairly accurate predictions as to when your ovulation begins.
Best used with other methods of prediction
Although an ovulation calendar can provide a lot of useful information about your cycle for both you and your doctor, couples would do better not to use this method alone to determine the woman's fertile days when they are trying to become pregnant. As mentioned earlier, BBT can only predict ovulation after the fact. Another method you can use together with BBT is tracking your cervical mucus. On your least fertile days, your cervical mucus is sticky and light. As the date of ovulation draws nearer, the increase in estrogen causes changes to your cervical mucus. During your fertile days, your vaginal discharge takes on the consistency of raw egg whites. Your peak fertility is usually on the last day you notice discharge of this kind. For an even more accurate prediction, use an ovulation predictor kit halfway through your cycle, as soon as you notice the change in cervical mucus.
Diana Farrell is an author who holds a Masters Degree in Psychology as well as advanced training in a number of alternative therapies. Through her own journey overcoming infertility she discovered a wealth of information that can greatly improve a couple's chances of fulfilling their dreams of parenthood. If you would like additional tips about getting pregnant as well as a pregnancy ovulation calendar that you can download and use for yourself, visit The Pregnancy Success Program.
Ovulation Calendars & Fertility
Ovulation Calendars - Other Options
Ovulation Calendars - Pros & Cons
Fertility Web Sites:
Personal Path to Pregnancy
The Fertility Plan
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