05 Jul Fertility & Pregnancy
OVULATION AND THE FERTILITY WINDOW
Ovulation happens when a mature egg is released from the ovary, moves down to the fallopian tube and is fertilised in the fallopian tube. Work out the length of your average menstrual cycle. Day one is the first day of the menstrual period and the last day is the day before the next period begins.
Ovulation happens about two weeks before the next expected period. So, if your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, you ovulate around day 14. Remember the fertile window is the six days leading up to and including ovulation. The three days leading up to and including ovulation are the most fertile.
Depending on your cycle length, the most fertile days in the cycle varies:
- If you have 28 days between periods ovulation typically happens on day 14, and the most fertile days are days 12, 13, and 14.
- If you have longer cycles, say 35 days between periods, ovulation happens on day 21 and the most fertile days are days 19, 20, and 21.
- If you have shorter cycles, say 21 days between periods, ovulation happens on day 7 and the most fertile days are days 5, 6, and 7.
Pregnancy should not be considered a nine-month journey, but a year-long journey. Knowing that the first few weeks of pregnancy are the most vital to the development of the baby, a mother should be healthy and avoid any harmful activities and substances near the time of conception. Preconception health for women will be beneficial to you and your baby.
You need a healthy body to make a healthy baby. Besides getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and going to all your preconception check-ups, there are lifestyle changes that make all the difference. Taking a prenatal supplement every day is a small change that will pay big rewards.
- Take a preconception supplement.
Taking a combination of several key vitamins and minerals: folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in adequate amounts before getting pregnant can maximise the health of the pregnancy and the baby. Doing so will give your baby the best start to a healthy life.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Being obese or underweight causes risks to both mother and baby. The risks can be reduced with weight loss or proper nutrition and achieving an optimal weight.
- Revamp your diet.
Remember to treat food as fuel and choose healthier alternatives. Ensure that your new eating plan is balanced and provides adequate calorie and nutrient intake for your body.
- Quit smoking and other bad habits.
Smoking causes infertility as well as delay conception. The delay in conception correlates with the daily quantity of cigarettes smoked. The more cigarettes smoked, the more chemicals enter your body. This is also why smokers reach menopause several years earlier than non-smokers.
Smoking also contributes to a higher rate of miscarriage. Quitting smoking and certain risk behaviours such as excessive drinking and use of illegal substances are critical to both minimising your chances of miscarriage and promoting a healthy pregnancy.
- Reduce stress and get enough sleep.
- Be sure your medications are appropriate to take during pregnancy.
Review your current medications, including any herbs or supplements, with your physician or pharmacist to ensure proper dosages and to determine if your medications are safe to take during pregnancy. There may be alternatives to current medications that are safe during pregnancy and others that should be changed prior to conception.
- Know your medical history.
It is important to review with your physician your medical history, including past immunisations. We encourage patients to get up to date with their immunisations for conditions such as influenza, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella, to name a few.