pregnancy and timingA lot of women associate periods with the term “menstrual cycle,” but those are just a sideshow to the most important – and often overlooked – part of the cycle: Ovulation.

Here’s the bottom line: No egg, no baby. Planning a pregnancy revolves around knowing when you ovulate, so timing is everything.

Timing is Everything

Let’s say you are ovulating around the same time every month, and your cycle is fairly regular. (One of the most common causes of infertility is due to problems with ovulation, whether it’s inconsistent month to month or doesn’t occur at all. There are many things you can do to regulate ovulation, but more on that topic later.) You time your intercourse around ovulation, and then cross your fingers during the two-week wait. Every month there is hope, then the period comes, along with major disappointment. What is happening?

A Short Window

Here’s why timing is crucial: You may be missing the critical window for conception because the egg is only viable after ovulation for 12 hours. That means there is a really short window of opportunity for conception to occur. The trick here is to have a viable sperm waiting for the egg.

A sperm has to make its way up a challenging obstacle course from the cervix to the fallopian tubes. The ones that make it are the healthiest, most robust. A sperm can survive up to 7 days in the female reproductive tract! That’s amazing! To make sure there is an abundant supply of viable sperm, you should start intercourse approximately 6-7 days prior to ovulation. If male infertility is not an issue, you can have as much sex as you want. Otherwise, sex every other day should be sufficient.

To nail down the ovulation day, some type of tracking device, like an Ovulation Predictor Kit, (OPK) is helpful. It may take a few cycles to see a pattern emerge that shows when you ovulate. But, practice makes perfect! With a little due diligence, you can have the routine down pat in no time.

Stay tuned for more posts on Ovulation Predictor Kits and how to track your ovulation!