How to Get Pregnant: What to Know About Ovulation and Your Fertility Window?
When do I ovulate?
Ovulation is when an egg is released from a woman’s ovary, then sent to the fallopian tube. Generally, this happens once during a menstrual cycle.
The egg can be fertilized if there’s sperm around. Then, if all goes well, the fertilized egg will implant itself into the uterine wall. If there aren’t any sperm in the tube, the egg moves along and eventually disintegrates.
Sex should be timed around ovulation if a couple is trying to conceive.
But when does that happen? For most women, ovulation happens 14 days before their next period starts.
An OB-GYN and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Health and Menopause in Chicago told that the reason they say that as opposed to ‘in the middle of your cycle’ is that there is some variation in terms of cycle length. It seems to be a set time between ovulation and when you get your period.
So for a woman with a regular 28-day cycle, ovulation would occur around day 14, consider day 1 being the first day of the menstrual cycle. For a woman who has a 32-day cycle, ovulation would happen around day 18. For women whose cycles vary, it can be harder to track ovulation. So that’s why ovulation tests might help.
What are ovulation tests?
These are relatively inexpensive tests women can do at home to help predict their ovulation.
Here’s how they work:
Right before a woman ovulates, the pituitary gland releases a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH). Then ovulation predictor kits measure the spike in LH, not ovulation itself. It is possible to have the LH surge but not actually ovulate. But if you’re having regular menstrual cycles, you’re probably ovulating.
Most of the kits come with multiple sticks or strips, so that women can test their urine during multiple days in their cycle. After getting the LH surge, most women ovulate within a day.
The kits are really terrific. They’re pretty darn accurate. You can actually say, we’re going to be ovulating today, let’s have sex.