October 20, 2020
Fertility awareness using the calendar method or an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) can help you become more familiar with your menstrual cycle pattern. This lets you plan sexual activity on the days you are most likely to conceive. Read on to learn how to effectively use these tools to boost your chances of conception.
Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle
While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, normal cycles can range from 21 -35 days. When counting cycle days, consider cycle day 1 as the first day of full flow menses. Ovulation (the release of the egg from the ovary), usually occurs 14 days prior to the next menses or close to mid-cycle.
For example, a woman with a 28-day cycle will typically ovulate around cycle day 14. Ovulation does not necessarily happen on the same exact day each month, even in women who have regular menses. Slight variation is normal.
The best time to conceive is to have intercourse during the fertile window, which is typically the six-day interval ending on the day of ovulation.
Using a Calendar to Predict Fertility
Plan ahead to make the calendar method work. There are many apps available which can help you track your menses and estimate your fertile window. Keep in mind, these work best for women with regular menses.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
Another way to track ovulation is by using an ovulation predictor kit or OPK. These kits measure the luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. While this hormone is always present, it increases 24-48 hours prior to ovulation. The LH surge actually triggers ovulation--the most fertile time of your cycle.
In this video, Penn Fertility Care – Lancaster General Health fertility specialist Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni, explains how OPK works.
By using the calendar method, along with other fertility awareness tools (i.e. ovulation predictor kits), you can increase the likelihood of starting or growing your family. If you are having difficulty conceiving, or are concerned about your fertility, talk with your health-care provider to the discuss the best plan for you.