Increase Your Odds Of Conceiving

Trying to get pregnant? Stack the odds in your favor by tracking your fertility.

Basal body thermometer

Mark your calendar

Have you been trying to get pregnant, but keep getting a negative pregnancy test result? Tracking the pattern of how many days your typical menstrual cycle lasts is the first key to tracking fertility so you can understand when you're actually ovulating and primed for conception. The tricky part is that everybody is different in terms of the "average" menstrual cycle. By definition, "average cycle" length is 28 to 32 days, but it can vary by as much as 13 to 20 days, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). Start tracking your cycle length by recording the first day of your period -- and how long it lasts -- for at least eight months to identify patterns.

Find your "fertility window"

Once you've been tracking your period for several months, you may see some consistencies. Using the "data" you've collected on your calendar, identify the shortest cycle, and subtract by 18. (For example, if your shortest cycle was 28 days, you'll arrive at the number 10 after subtraction). In this example, day 10 is the first day you're actually fertile in your cycle.

Now look at your longest cycle, and subtract the number 11. That number is the last day you are fertile each cycle. The time period spanning these days is known as your "fertility window," meaning that ovulation should happen in this time frame and that you'll increase your odds of conceiving when you have intercourse during it. Hate math? You can buy a fertility monitor to do some of the work for you, and there are even apps that calculate when you're most likely to be fertile. But despite all the technology, it's still up to you to identify your cycle lengths to get the most accurate result.

Take your temperature

If you want to narrow fertility tracking further, basal body temperature (BBT) is another indicator. Simply put, BBT tracking indicates the hormonal changes that are happening in your body, and can tell you when you're about to ovulate. Take your temperature using a basal thermometer each morning before you get out of bed. Write the temperature on the same calendar you use to track your cycle, and do so for several months. You'll start to notice a pattern when temperature readings dip slightly and increase again. The dip indicates ovulation, and the increase indicates that it has passed. Once you establish that pattern, you can start to increase your odds of conceiving by having intercourse every day -- or every other day -- in the time period before and during the temperature dip. If you prefer a little help from technology, an ovulation test can provide similar insight.

quick Tip

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and increasing your intake of healthy fruits and veggies can establish healthy habits for pregnancy that may even boost fertility.

More pregnancy tips

5 Surprising signs of pregnancy
Ways to improve your chances of conception
How pregnancy tests work

Tags: conceiving getting pregnant

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