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Are you ovulating?

We spend our whole lives trying not to get pregnant, only to finally want a baby and realise that it's actually not as easy as we were lead to believe! Menstrual cycles aren't really about periods- they are all about ovulation. If we don't ovulate, we can't get pregnant.

There are many medical treatment options available to support women who aren't ovulating and help you to get pregnant faster BUT it is always important to look at the diet and lifestyle factors that can be impacting on ovulation as well either before and/ or alongside these options.

We often have women tell us that they think their cycles are too irregular or are concerned by changes in ovulation timing. An interesting place to begin is to ask; how are you tracking and confirming ovulation? Tracking your cycles accurately is a fundamental step in understanding your fertility and optimizing your chances of getting pregnant.

Keeping an accurate record of your cycle can help you to:

Identify your fertile window:

Despite some serious scare-mongering at high school, it actually isn't easy to get pregnant from unprotected sex! There is a really limited time frame that we can conceive each month which includes the 2-3 days prior to ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after. The ovum (egg) only survives for 24hrs which doesn't leave us much time! So having sperm there before hand (which can survive for 5 days) will help increase our chances of pregnancy.

Helps to identify hormonal conditions

Accurate cycle tracking helps you identify any irregularities or disruptions in your menstrual cycle. Irregular periods or skipped cycles can indicate hormonal imbalances or underlying health conditions that may affect ovulation. By noting these patterns, you can seek appropriate medical guidance and take necessary steps to support regular ovulation.

Gives us an indication of the effectiveness of interventions

If you're implementing lifestyle or dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, or fertility treatments, tracking your cycles provides a way to assess their impact on your ovulation. By recording your cycle length, symptoms, and any changes observed, you can determine if the interventions you're implementing are positively influencing your fertility. It also gives your healthcare provider more information to enable them to best support you.

So how should we cycle track?

There is more than one way to measure ovulation and combining a couple will give us more accurate information about your cycles. However, do not start out with every method! It can become really overwhelming to track every sign and symptom so we recommend starting with just one and adding more in down the track if you need more data.

Calendar Method:

Using an app like Clue, Flo, or Ovia can help you keep track of your menstrual cycle and predict when ovulation might occur. These apps use algorithms based on the length of your cycles to estimate your fertile window. It's important that when using these apps you track additional signs such as your period bleed, sensations at the vulva and changes in cervical mucus as these will make your predictions more accurate. If you aren't currently tracking cycles at all then this is a great place to begin! Just be aware that cycle predictions shown in the app aren't always accurate, but will help you to keep a record of ovulation signs and symptoms which can then help us to identify when your fertile window is.

Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs):

These kits detect the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine, which typically surges 24 to 36 hours before ovulation. OPKs come in the form of test strips or midstream tests. However, it's important to note that OPKs have a limited window for detecting the LH surge and may not always be accurate. They provide a prediction that ovulation is likely to occur within the next 12-24 hours. These can be helpful alongside the calendar method but since they can be inaccurate, we don't recommend relying on this method alone.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting:

Considered one of the most accurate means of ovulation confirmation; this method involves measuring your basal body temperature (your body's temperature at rest) every morning before getting out of bed. After ovulation, progesterone causes a slight increase in BBT. Charting these temperature changes over several cycles can help confirm that ovulation has occurred. It's important to note that BBT charting alone cannot predict future ovulation but can provide retrospective confirmation. It's a helpful tool to provide you with more data on your cycles, but is best done along with the calendar method to give us a really clear picture.

If you aren't already tracking then now is the time to start! If you have never paid attention to signs of ovulation across your cycle then it truly is a fascinating process. If you have concerns about your cycles (irregularities, absent bleed, significant changes or uncomfortable symptoms each cycle) then it's important to speak to your healthcare provider who can organise further testing.

Nutrition can play a fundamental role in ovulation and research has shown that with only 5 nutrition changes we can reduce the risk of anovulatory infertility by 69%! There is alot that you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy and take back some control on your fertility journey. Make sure to download our free pre-conception and fertility checklist to learn more about some simple steps that you can take.


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