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Monitoring Your Monthly Cycles

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Monitoring Monitor Month Monthly Cycle

Getting in tune with your own body and learning to monitor your monthly cycles may not be something every woman needs to do. But when you’re trying for a baby the significance becomes clearer and the benefits of knowing your body’s every move become vitally important.

The very nature of a woman’s monthly cycle means that there’s actually only a very narrow time period when it’s possible to get pregnant, so if you want the optimum chance of success you have to know when this is. However, it’s not always easy and straightforward to instantly know when the key time for you is, as everyone differs and some women’s cycles are longer or shorter than other people’s.

As a starting point though, you should at least have a rough idea when your period is due each month. One easy way of keeping track of it is to mark the start of your period in your diary, ticking off each day of it until it goes. Then you can count on four weeks from then and have a rough idea of when your next period is due. In some cases, this may be extremely accurate, with a period falling on the predicted day each month, but for others it can be much more erratic. If making a note on paper doesn’t work for you, these days there are various period tracking tools available online and some phones aimed at women even have such facilities.

Getting in Tune with Ovulation

As well as getting in tune with your period, it’s helpful to suss out when you ovulate each month. This is important because, when you ovulate your body releases a mature ovum – or egg – from your ovaries and if you have intercourse around the same time, the egg will be in a prime position to be fertilised by sperm.

Normally ovulation occurs every four weeks, at about 14 days before the start of your next period. Usually only one egg is released at a time and there’s a narrow time period of 12 to 24 hours when the chances of conception are at their peak, so if you miss the opportunity, you’ll have to wait another month. Knowing when your period is due will help give an indication of when you might be about to ovulate.

As well as keeping a manual record, there are also other useful tools and methods which you may want to adopt. For example, it’s possible to purchase an ovulation predictor kit which helps detect an increase in the lutenizing hormone (LH) in urine – a factor that signifies ovulation.

Your body goes through all sorts of subtle changes during your monthly cycle that you may previously have been unaware of and tracking these can help in your bid to be more in tune with your body. For example, it’s known that your body temperature increases slightly around ovulation, so you can keep track of your monthly cycle by charting your basal body temperature. Another change is in the look and texture of your cervical mucus, so getting to know what’s usual for you at certain times of the month is another method you can try.

Even if you’re not in tune with your body now, there’s no reason why you can’t be. Each of these methods of monitoring your cycle are relatively easy to carry out and can provide extra insight into what may be the best time for you to conceive.

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