If you are planning for a baby, knowing your ovulation will increase your chances of getting pregnant. Therefore, we got a gynae to share all you need to know about ovulation. Dr Fong Yang is an experienced Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and also an IVF clinician. He practises at the Astra Centre for Women and Fertility and in this article, he shares about everything you need to know about ovulation.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovary. It usually happens on Day 13 or Day 14 for ladies who have a 28-day menstrual cycle, with the start of their period on Day 1. After ovulation happens, the egg travels down into the fallopian tube and this takes place within a couple of days.
Do I Need to Have Sex on My Ovulation Day to Get Pregnant?
To get pregnant, the sperm needs to travel into the womb and then the fallopian tube to fertilise the egg. This can happen as early as half to 1 hour after sex.
Try having sex 2 days after ovulation as it will take some time for the egg to travel to the fallopian tube after ovulation occurs. If you are not absolutely certain when your ovulation day is, you can try from Day 12 to Day 15/16 so that you cover a couple of days before and after your ovulation date (Day 14).
If you are using an ovulation kit to test for ovulation, then you know when exactly you are ovulating. You can try the following 2 days after you detect the surge of luteinizing hormone. This means that if you test positive for ovulation on Day 1, you can have intercourse on Day 2-3.
It is important to note that once the egg is released, it will only survive in the fallopian tube for 24 hours. Therefore if fertilisation does not happen within this 24-hour window, you would have missed the cycle and have to try again next month.
How Do I Know If I’m Ovulating?
1. Physical Signs
The simplest and most traditional way is to detect the change in your cervical mucus. Vagina discharge becomes more stringy and stretchy.
Another method is to check your basal body temperature by taking your temperature every morning around the days of ovulation. This needs to be done before you get out of bed, the moment you wake up. If you plot it on a graph, it will be easier for you to see this rise from the basal temperature. However, this method is not as accurate as tests, which will be mentioned below.
2. Ovulation Test Kits
The most common way to test for ovulation is using ovulation test kits, which can be easily purchased in the pharmacies. They are little urine test sticks you can use to detect the presence or surge of a hormone called luteinizing hormone in the urine. The surge indicates that your body is ovulating or about to ovulate.
3. Ultrasound Scans
A gynae can also use ultrasound scans to track the growth of your eggs. Through the scans, they can accurately predict when your eggs will be ready for ovulation a few days in advance.
What are My Chances of Pregnancy if I Track My Ovulation?
If you have a regular menstrual cycle, it is generally considered that you are ovulating regularly.
If you are ovulating regularly and tracking your ovulation period, you should be able to get pregnant within 3-6 months of trying. However, there are about 15% of ladies with very regular periods who do not actually ovulate and are unable to get pregnant.
Therefore as a rough rule of thumb, if you have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant despite having regular periods and ovulating regularly, you should visit a gynae to get this assessed.
What If My Ovulation is Irregular?
When ladies have irregular menses e.g. once in 2-3 months, there could be many causes. It could be because they are not ovulating regularly or their eggs are not growing. In circumstances like these, it is recommended to see a gynae.
Getting an ultrasound scan is the best way to assess if you are actually ovulating or not. Furthermore, you may require some pills to ensure your eggs are growing, or perhaps an injection to ensure you ovulate at the right time.