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Making Babies

If you’re trying to get pregnant then the most important question you need to answer is ‘when is ovulation?’. It’s the most important date in your body’s calendar, as far as fertility goes.

Every month (or close to), your body begins to prepare for pregnancy. It begins with your period, as the previous cycle’s preparations are removed from the body, if you didn’t become pregnant. At the same time, your ovaries begin to mature around ten ‘follicles’ – small, fluid filled sacs that contain an immature egg.

In this ‘follicular phase’ the eggs grow towards maturity. Over the course of approximately two weeks (though this can vary: the menstrual cycle is not uniform and differs from woman to woman, as well potentially from month to month for the same woman) one egg will grow towards dominance: the biggest, healthiest egg will be released into the fallopian tubes, and the others will be painlessly reabsorbed by the body.

You are fertile from around five days before ovulation. This is because sperm can survive up to five days in a woman’s body after sex, and so sperm that enter the body five days before you ovulate can survive to reach that egg and potentially fertilise it.

That fertile window comes to an end the day after you ovulate as the egg remains viable for a maximum of twenty-four hours: after this is cannot be fertilised.

If you can recognise the signs and symptoms of ovulation – what it feels like – then you can access more of your fertile window and increase your chances of getting pregnant!

Sharper Senses

As ovulation approaches, your sense of smell sharpens. It’s thought that this is to help you ‘sniff out a mate’, or rather, subconsciously detect the pheremones given off by a fertile male. This means that if you notice your dinner smells delicious, the rubbish bin more repellent, or your partner more alluring, it could mean your body is getting close to ovulation, and it’s a good time to try to conceive!

Tenderness and Pain

Ovulation is governed by your hormones, and your hormones can affect your whole body! This means that as your hormone levels change, you can experience other changes. You might experience pain on one side of your pelvis, or increased breast tenderness as a sign that you’re getting close to ovulating and should begin to plan for conception.

Cervical Mucus

One of the clearest signs that you’re getting close to ovulating is a change in the quality of your cervical mucus. This normally forms a barrier preventing foreign matter penetrating into your reproductive system, but around ovulation, your body needs sperm to pass your cervix and enter the uterus and fallopian tubes to fertilise the egg! This means the mucus changes, becoming more translucent and slicker, resembling eggwhite. This is clear and useful sign that you’re entering your fertile window and it’s a good time to conceive!

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