Sooner or later a woman wonders: “what is fertility?” Well it’s simple: fertility is an ability of a human body for reproduction. This ability is very individual for every woman, so if you do plan to expand your family soon, it’s important to understand when exactly your body can be fertile — that is to say, when you can conceive a long-awaited baby.
Proper timing: why is it so important?
Whether you are just thinking about having a bay or already trying to conceive, the right understanding of how your body works can be of great help. You’d be surprised, but lots of couples try to conceive a baby at a wrong time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Sometimes people keep on trying for years. This is why we’ve gathered some information that might give you a better awareness about your fertility, the process of ovulation and the way they overlap each other within the frame of your menstrual cycle in general.
In every cycle there are only several days (six days, as a rule) when you are able to get pregnant: days before ovulation and the ovulation day itself. So, as you understand, knowing the time when these days come during your individual cycle is crucial when you are trying to conceive.
What is ovulation?
To understand what an ovulation actually is, it would help to know how female body works. Every organ in a female reproductive system — vagina, uterine tubes, uterus, ovaries — plays its part, and this is what makes a woman. Ever since puberty these organs start preparing a woman’s body for reproduction, and one of the signs of this preparation is a menstrual cycle.
Ovulation is a process that takes place one time in every menstrual cycle when an ovary releases an egg cell, due to certain hormonal changes inside a female body. As a rule, it happens twelve to sixteen days before the beginning of the next period.
So how exactly does it happen?
— Eggs are cells that live in ovaries. Throughout the first half of every cycle one of the eggs grows and matures.
— The closer ovulation, the more amount of estorgen your body is producing. This hormone makes the uterine lining (they call it endometrium) thicker and helps creating a more favorable environment for sperm.
— High estrogen level leads to an increased level of another LH hormone (luteinizing hormone). As a result of what the call an LH surge, an ovary releases a mature egg — and this is what they call ovulation.
— As a rule, ovulation takes place 24-36 hours after the LH surge, so this increase in LH level means that it is the peak of fertility of your body, and so it is a good sign when you plan to get pregnant.
An egg can be fertilized only within 24 hours after ovulation. In case the mature egg wasn’t fertilized, uterus loses its lining (along with a mature egg) and your period starts. It’s the day your next period begins.
While egg lives just no longer than 24 hours, sperm cells can be active for up to five days. So, however strange this may sound, a couple can conceive a baby even if they have sex four or five days before an ovary releases an egg. General duration of the fertile window, considering life spans of an egg and sperm cells, is about six days.
Fertile window? What is that?
Fertile window is a period of time that lasts about 6 days during your menstrual cycle. These six days is when you are able to get pregnant.
Why is it important to understand the singularity of your menstrual cycle?
As we said earlier, ovulation usually takes place 12-16 days BEFORE your next period begins, and that’s why calculation of ovulation time depends on the duration of your menstrual cycle is. It’s commonly known that average menstrual cycle length is 28 days. But the thing is no one of us is average, so the cycle duration may vary depending on a woman and on the cycle itself. Actually, believe it or not, the difference between 46% of menstrual cycles and the “average number” may constitute seven days, or even more than that. So if you want to get pregnant you should have sex during your fertile days. If you want to learn what iyour individual fertile window is, learn your body and your menstrual cycle.
To define your cycle duration, count the days starting from the first day of your period till the last day before your menstruation.
Once again, the cycle duration may vary, and, as a rule, it lasts for 23 to 35 days.
And remember this: to keep your fertility status high, you have to take good care about your health, keep your body weight under control, visit your gynecologist regularly, get rid of bad habits like drinking or smoking, be physically active and avoid stressful situations.