How To Increase Your Chances Of Conception
Your menstrual cycle begins each month with your period. Menstrual bleeding lasts about five days. During this period, your body recognizes that the egg from the previous cycle did not fertilize or implant. As your estrogen and progesterone levels drop, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is shed and bleeds through the cervix and vagina. During menstruation, your body produces FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), triggering the beginning of another reproductive cycle.
The FSH prompts your ovaries to stimulate about 10 to 20 follicles (egg-containing sacs). Around day five of your cycle (counting from the first day of your period), these follicles begin to mature with the help of LH (luteinizing hormone) and begin producing estrogen. The estrogen then stimulates more LH production, continuing the maturation of the follicles. At approximately day eight of your cycle, one of these follicles emerges as dominant, and the others begin to disintegrate. Around day 12, the estrogen increase causes your uterine lining to thicken as it prepares for the possible implantation of a fertilized egg.
The ovulatory phase takes place in the middle of your menstrual cycle. At this time a surge in LH causes the mature follicle to burst and release the egg down the fallopian tube. The release of the egg is known as ovulation and generally occurs around day 14. However, the exact day varies -- depending on the length of your cycle and other factors. Once the egg is released, it awaits fertilization from sperm. An egg lives just 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary. Therefore, the time frame to become pregnant each month is very brief.
In order to conceive, it's important to anticipate and predict ovulation -- the time you are fertile. You can predict ovulation by detecting the LH surge, which normally occurs 36 hours before peak fertility. By using an ovulation test or fertility monitor, you can maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
Though there is no sure-fire way to assure you will get pregnant in any given month, understanding your fertility cycle and having sexual intercourse right before, during and right after ovulation can increase the possibility of conception. To learn more about when you ovulate, talk to your doctor about your normal cycles, signs of ovulation and how to anticipate when ovulation occurs.