As a disclaimer, this blog post if aimed at a mature audience.
You have sex and you get pregnant. Boom! Done and done. That is all it takes, or at least that is what they tell you in school. Technically, it’s only partly correct. You do need to have sex to get pregnant, but at the same time, a very specific event needs to be occurring in your body, and this is something I didn’t learn until I was in my mid-twenties. This event is called ovulation.
Just as a reminder, I am not a doctor, I am just a girl who wanted to learn how the female reproductive system works so my descriptions won’t be super technical.
Anyways, ovulation is when your ovaries release an egg to be fertilized. As I’m sure most of us know when the sperm meets the egg and the egg is fertilized, that is when life begins.
Ovulation typically occurs during the second week of a woman’s menstrual cycle but vary from woman to woman.
There are a few signs that we can look for to see if ovulation is occurring. The most common one is called the Fertility Awareness Method. This is when you keep track of your body’s temperature upon waking up and keep a chart of the changes. By doing this, you can see how the shifts in your body temperature reveal what part of your menstrual cycle you are in. By following this method you can identify when you are ovulating and when your period is due to return.
A menstrual cycle follows a particular trend. The month starts off and after a few days, when ovulation is occurring, the temperature dips. After the dip it will rise again confirming that ovulation occured. The temperatures look different for everyone but follow the same ovulation dip and after ovulation temperature rise pattern. When your period is coming back your temperature will drop significantly and it will be followed by Aunt Flo.
In order to monitor your temperature, you would need to monitor your Basal Body Temperature “BBT”. For this, you would need to buy a BBT thermometer and take your temperature every morning at around roughly the same time. Not only do you need to be consistent with the time you take your temperature but you must also take your temperature immediately after waking up before your body starts warming up. If you don’t do this, your temperatures will not be consistent and it is important that they be. For more specific information refer to the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler, MPH. In this book, you can find detailed charts explaining what the temperature shifts during the menstrual cycle are.
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Ovulation usually lasts 24 hours, which is the optimal time to get busy in order to have a baby. And if you are trying to avoid pregnancy this is when you avoid “doing the deed” or are extra careful. In a nutshell this is how it works. You can only get pregnant during your ovulation period. After the egg is gone, the chances of pregnancy are very slim to none. This is why I made that first statement :).
Another way to track ovulation is with Ovulation Prediction Kits also known as “OPKs”, they are not as accurate but can help. I’ll discuss this more in the next post.
SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”