So, you’re trying to get pregnant? You may believe that once you have ditched the birth control, pregnancy will happen right away. The truth is healthy women of reproductive age only have about 20% chance of conceiving each month.
If you are under the age of 35, it could take up to one year to conceive with well-timed intercourse. If you are over the age of 35, it could take up to six months. How do you know if you are having well-timed intercourse? You should get to know your menstrual cycle by tracking your ovulation before you start worrying if you have infertility.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT). Your BBT is your body’s baseline temperature after at least four hours of sleep. You should take your temperature first thing in the morning before you move out of bed. Keep your thermometer and a journal beside your bed to record the reading. After approximately three months, you should notice a pattern as your temperature rises and falls. The spike in temperature signifies ovulation. You can expect that ovulation will occur around that day each month and time intercourse accordingly.
Ovulation Prediction Kits (OPKs). OPKs can be purchased over the counter and come in various quantities ranging from a 3-pack to a 20-pack. This test takes some of the guess-work out of tracking ovulation as it provides a positive reading when a hormone surge is detected. You should have sex the day of the positive reading and two days later.
Cervical mucus and position. Not for the squeamish, charting your cervical mucus and cervical position involves examining both with your (clean!) fingers. Depending on the position of your cervix and consistency of cervical mucus throughout the month, you may be able to tell when your body is preparing for ovulation.
If you have tried one or more of these methods for tracking ovulation and still have not conceived (after six months or one year depending on your age), or you have a history of irregular periods, you should consult a fertility doctor.