While those who are not trying to conceive track it to avoid getting pregnant.
Whichever group you belong to, what you both have in common is that you have to learn how to calculate ovulation window to achieve the desired result.
Ovulation and menstrual cycle
Ovulation is a period when women are at their most fertile. It is a time when an egg is released from the ovary. The egg goes to the fallopian tube thereafter, where it remains for 24 hours or more. Consequently, a woman gets pregnant if this egg in the fallopian tube is fertilised by sperm. But if it is not fertilised, it travels to the uterus and breaks up there. It is then released during the following menstrual cycle.
However, for those who are not trying to get pregnant, there are days in which get pregnant is unlikely though possible. This is known as the safe days. To break it down, the days leading up to your ovulation are your fertile days. This is when it is unsafe to have unprotected sex. The first five days after your period is what is known as the safe or infertile period.
Normally, for the average person, a menstrual cycle is between 28 and 32 days. The cycle differs for some women. Some get shorter cycles and those who get longer ones. Periods typically lasts for 3 to 7 days. And the first day of your period is the first day of your menstruation cycle.
How to calculate ovulation
First and foremost, to attempt calculating your ovulation with any degree of accuracy, especially when you're using your cycle, you need to know the precise length of your cycle.
- Calculating the length of your cycle
Cycle length is different in most women. To get the length of your cycle, do the following.
- When you start your period make a note. This is the first day of your cycle.
- When your period comes again the next month, note it down. This is the beginning of the next cycle.
- Count the days in between and it will give you the exact length of your cycle.
To be sure, repeat the above process more than once. This is because, for some women, the cycle varies from month to month. This will make tracking ovulation even harder.
A method to calculate your ovulation
Ovulation happens ten to fourteen days after your menstruation. So to get your ovulation date, minus 14 from the days in your cycle. For instance, if your cycle is 28, subtract 14 from that number and you'll get 14. What that number is simply telling you is that your ovulation will happen 14 days after your period begins. To further break it down, if you started your period on the 1st of October, then your ovulation will occur on the 14 of October.
So to make the process more automatic, check out the table below. All you need to do is know the number of days in your cycle, then check the table to know when your ovulation starts.
|Day||Start of Ovulation||Fertile days|
|25||Day 11||Days 9-11|
|26||Day 12||Days 10-12|
|27||Day 13||Days 11-13|
|28||Day 14||Days 12-14|
|29||Day 15||Days 13-15|
|30||Day 16||Days 14-16|
|31||Day 17||Days 15-17|
|32||Day 18||Days 16-18|
|33||Day 19||Days 17-19|
|34||Day 20||Days 18-20|
|35||Day 21||Days 19-21|
Consequently, for people who are looking to get pregnant, Dr Hanh Cotrell from IVF Michigan says, "Your fertile window is about a week before anticipated ovulation." Therefore, having sex throughout that week increases your chances of getting pregnant.
Other ways of tracking ovulation
There are other ways of tracking your ovulation apart from the cycle and the chart.
- Tracking your basal body temperature
You can just monitor your basal body temperature to predict when your ovulation will occur. Basal body temperature simply refers to your body's rest temperature. In the early days of your cycle (first half usually) your temperature is at a constant. But as ovulation approaches, there will be a slight fall in your temperature. Then after ovulation, there will be a slight increase.
- Ovulation kit or calculator
Ovulation calculator is easy to use, but you still have to know the number of days in your cycle to get an accurate prediction. While ovulation kit uses your urine to determine when your ovulation would be. To do this, it measures your body's level of luteinizing hormone.
For those who calculate their ovulation in a bid to avoid getting pregnant, you do so at great risk. Safe periods aren't safe proof as you may like to think. The body can undergo changes because of stress, ill-health and If you're not on contraceptives or using a condom, you can get pregnant at any time of the month.
Read also: 12 ways to know when you are ovulating
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com