To improve your chance of conceiving, you need to understand your cycle, when you
ovulate and how to make the best of it. The day that your menstrual period starts
is the first day of your cycle. If or when you're pregnant, it is also the day that
your OB/GYN will count from to determine your due date (even though you haven't
actually conceived yet). Conception to birth is 280 days.
|Fertile Days||Resulting Due Date|
Your Cycle, Days 1-4
At this point of the ovulation calendar, you have started your period and your uterus
is shedding what it no longer needs to prepare for pregnancy or fertilization. Right
now, your progesterone and estrogen levels are very low.
Your Cycle, Days 5-8
At the end of your menstrual period, your uterus will start to build up a new endometrial
lining, thanks to the increasing amount of estrogen in your body. Your basal body
temperature is low for the time being. Your ovary is preparing an egg for ovulation.
The egg is kept in a sac called a follicle.
When your period stops, you wont' have much cervical mucus. Each cycle is different,
though, and the number of dry days varies from cycle to cycle. Dry days prevent
sperm from getting to the cervix. Your cervix itself is firm, pointed and closed,
so fertility is fairly low at this point in your cycle.
Your Cycle, Days 9-12
Building up and thickening, the uterine lining is getting ready to accept and nourish
a fertilized egg. Your levels of estrogen are increasing although your BBT remains
low. An egg is preparing itself to be released from your ovary.
As levels of estrogen are increasing, your cervical mucus will start to thin out
and feel stretchy so that sperm can easily makes its way to your cervix. Your cervix
will soften, open up and move higher (becoming harder to reach when you insert your
finger into the vagina).
At this stage of your cycle, your fertile days have begun, so this is the best time
for you and your partner to try to make a baby. Because your body is almost ready
for ovulation, it is best to be together every day to increase your chances of conception.
The sperm will live up to 5 days inside the body if the conditions are right, yet
the egg will only be around for a few hours. Although the egg has not yet been released,
the sperm will be ready and waiting when it is. Understanding how the ovulation
process works is part of the planning.
Your Cycle, Days 13-16
Your estrogen level will drop quickly, which triggers the pituitary gland to let
go of leteinizing hormone (LH), in turn causing the sac that contains the egg to
break open and allow the egg to enter the fallopian tube, where ovulation takes
The day before ovulation, you may notice a drop in your BBT, but as soon as ovulation
happens, increased progesterone will cause your BBT to rise, and it will stay high
until your next menstrual period. Of course, if you have conceived, that next menstrual
period won't happen.
Light spotting can happen around this time although many women won't notice any
change. Pain associated with ovulation can often be felt when an egg is released
from the ovary. An increase in libido has also been reported at this stage of your
After ovulation, the egg travels through the fallopian tube toward the uterus, waiting
for penetration of the sperm. If this happens, the egg will be fertilized and will
then continue to travel toward the uterus, where it will implant in the uterine
lining. At that point, a baby will begin to develop.