One of the most important points in a woman’s physiology is the monthly cycle.
Knowing how to track your menstrual cycle is important for many reasons. For example, you will recognize your natural “rhythm” and the onset of your period will not be a monthly surprise to you. You can also calculate the more likely days for pregnancy. In addition, you will be able to notice emotional and physiological changes and fluctuations.
We offer for consideration a series of small articles that will help you understand your monthly cycle, how to properly track ovulation, what factors affect fertility, etc.
First phase of the menstrual cycle
When you know your menstrual cycle, you increase your chances of getting pregnant. The first phase begins with spotting during the first few days. Your body produces hormones, one of which is follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which allows your ovarian reserve cells to grow. Between the second and 14th days, FSH also stimulates the production of estrogen by the granuloma cells of the ovarian follicles. The increased concentration of estrogen, in turn, stimulates the growth of the endometrium, which is important in the future for the implantation of the embryo. In addition to FSH, the concentration of luteinizing hormone (LH) begins to rise during this phase. These changes cause the formation of one dominant follicle, while others become atretic (stop their development / growth).
What happens during ovulation
On average, the menstrual cycle lasts 28-35 days. Ovulation usually occurs between days 11 and 21 of your cycle. LH and FSH increase even more significantly within 24-36 hours, which leads to rupture of the follicle and release of the egg. At the same time, your cervical canal becomes more mucous to help the sperm get to the egg.
All in good time
Women are born with a large number of eggs (1 to 2 million eggs). However, throughout its life path, about 300 – 400 eggs are activated during ovulation. Usually, one egg is released from maturing follicles every month. The egg travels along one of the fallopian tubes, which connects the uterus to the ovaries. If synchronization occurs, then the sperm fertilizes the egg on its way to the uterus. If fertilization does not occur, the egg dies. Sperm can live for 3-5 days, so knowing the ovulation process can help you and your partner plan to conceive.
In general, the highest chance of conception is when intercourse occurs 1–2 days before ovulation. If your average cycle is 28 days, count 14 days from the day you expect your next period. That is, the planning of sexual intercourse on the 12-14th days. Remember that having sex every day can reduce a man’s sperm count. Your cycle can be shorter or longer, so it’s important to get yourself an electronic or online monthly period calculator.
Remember that ovulation in your cycle may not occur on the 14th day (especially in the case of pathologies of the reproductive system). To find out the exact date of ovulation, contact your fertility specialist. You can contact the specialists of the Lada Clinic to get the correct cycle calculation.
Ovulation tracking by body temperature
After the egg is released, the hormone Progesterone is produced to transform the endometrium in the uterus. This leads to an increase in basal temperature. So taking your temperature with a thermometer every morning before getting out of bed can help you figure out if you are ovulating. This method is very easy, but not the most effective for tracking ovulation.
Basal temperature is body temperature, measured in the rectum.
- BT is measured at about 7 a.m. without getting out of bed. Measurement time should not differ by more than 30 minutes.
- The thermometer is inserted into the rectal opening for 5-10 minutes.
- It is advisable to use a conventional medical thermometer.
Tracking ovulation by hormone concentration
The surge in the hormone Lutein causes the ovaries to release an egg. The burst usually occurs 36 hours before the egg is released. Use specific tests to determine your LH level. They will help you determine the exact day of ovulation. You can buy these tests at any pharmacy. You can test 1-2 days before the expected spike for an accurate determination. We recommend that you always check your results with a doctor (as tests can give false results).
The last phase of your monthly cycle
During the second half of your menstrual cycle, progesterone levels rise. It helps prepare the endometrium for the implantation of a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized and implanted, it disintegrates and progesterone levels drop. After 12-16 days, the egg, along with bleeding and endometrial rejection, leaves the uterine cavity. This process is called menstruation. The process is usually milked for 3 to 7 days.
The effect of weight on fertility
If you are overweight or have been diagnosed with obesity, weight loss can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Studies have shown that those women whose body mass index (BMI) was above normal had half the chance of getting pregnant than those women whose BMI was within the normal range. Reducing body weight in the range of 5-10% can seriously improve the ovulation process and the likelihood of getting pregnant. Obesity negatively affects fertility and decreases testosterone in men.
The effect of age on your chances
It is a well-known fact that fertility decreases with age, especially after 35 years. It also reduces the likelihood of successful treatment with various reproductive technologies. Experts recommend contacting a doctor after 12 months of fruitless attempts to get pregnant (up to 35 years old), for those women who are over 35 years old after 6 months.
Decreased fertility in men with age
Studies show that sperm count and motility decline in men with age, as does sexual function. However, age is not the main “stumbling block” that makes a man too old a father for a child. If your partner is much older than you, you need to see your doctor in order to find out about the possibilities to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
How a man can improve his fertility
- Avoiding excessive alcohol and tobacco use;
- Maintain weight within the normal BMI range and remain physically active.
- A balanced and rational diet.
- Keep the testicles (testicles) cool, do not take long hot baths, do not stay in the steam room or saunas for a long time. All this can negatively affect sperm count.
Many factors can cause infertility. The first step to treatment is a doctor’s check on you and your partner. Fertility treatment may include treatment with medications to stimulate ovulation, or in-vitro fertilization (i.e., by ART). Assisted reproductive technologies use the woman’s eggs obtained during the puncture, which are fertilized outside the uterus and then implanted back in a “familiar environment”.
How does a home pregnancy test work
A home pregnancy test is designed to check for the “pregnancy hormone” found in the urine. This hormone is called HCG (Chorionic Gonadotropin). Its production begins as soon as the egg is fertilized and is fixed in the uterus. Some tests can detect pregnancy even earlier than 5 days after fertilization.
Signs of pregnancy
Currently, due to the widespread introduction of ultrasound diagnostics into obstetric practice, the signs of pregnancy described in classical textbooks on gynecology and obstetrics are no longer so significant. All signs that make it possible to diagnose pregnancy are divided into presumptive (doubtful), probable and reliable. They can be based on subjective or objective data.
Doubtful signs of pregnancy include those based on subjective data:
- Vomiting or nausea (especially in the morning), changes in appetite or eating habits
- Arising intolerance to certain smells
- Dysfunctions of the nervous system (drowsiness, frequent mood swings, dizziness, malaise, irritability)
- Frequent urination
- Engorgement of the mammary glands, their increased sensitivity
- Changes in skin pigmentation on the face, in the nipple area, along the white line of the abdomen
- The appearance of pregnancy scars (stripes) on the mammary glands, thighs, abdominal skin
- Enlargement of the abdomen
It is not for nothing that these signs are dubious, because in addition to pregnancy, these signs can manifest themselves in some physiological conditions. You can get the final answer about the onset of pregnancy from a specialist. In the Lada Clinic you can get a full range of services for determining pregnancy.