When you’re trying to get pregnant there’s no more important event in your calendar than ovulation. You can only become pregnant when sperm can survive in the body long enough to encounter an egg after it’s ovulated, and with sperm surviving no more than five days, and the egg fertile for no longer than 24 hours, if you don’t know when you’re going to ovulate, you’re cutting yourself off from an opportunity to conceive.
If you ovulate irregularly or rarely, possible because of stress or medication, or a condition like hyperthyroidism or polycystic ovarian syndrome, then you have fewer chances to conceived: fewer ovulations means less fertile eggs released from the ovaries over the course of your lifetime.
Fortunately, you can give yourself an advantage in plenty of ways, and make sure you have the opportunity to conceive when you need to.
The first step you can take is to make sure you’re identifying when you ovulate: an ovulation monitor is a vital piece of kit for the modern prospective parent.
Some work by measuring hormones in urine, similar to pregnancy tests, though if you’re suffering from any kind of condition that affects your hormone levels (from anything as simple as stress to conditions like PCOS) you might find them less than effective. Basal Body Temperature based devices are more useful to the majority of people, as the results they give aren’t distorted by hormone issues.
The most sophisticated ovulation monitors don’t give a simple yes or no answer when asked if you’re ovulating: they can store data, interpret it and provide predictions of next cycle’s most fertile days, as well as giving a more immediate prediction of whether you are ovulating there and then.
If you’re ovulating very infrequently, you may need to take steps to encourage your body to ovulate more often. If you’re suffering from PCOS one of the most effective things you can do is try to lose weight. It’s a challenge, because PCOS actually causes your body to gain weight, but if you can reverse that cycle, you can address the root cause of the condition: too much insulin. This causes a reduction of all the symptoms and can lead to you restarting spontaneous ovulation.
If this technique doesn’t work for you, there are drugs like Clomid that drive your body’s hormones to work harder to stimulate ovulation, or even surgery, where tiny holes are burned into the ovaries with a laser, which can increase ovulation where medication doesn’t work.