Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When Is the Best Time To Get Pregnant?

I am often asked about how to predict the best time to attempt pregnancy each month. In general the most fertile time for a woman is 14 days before her next menstrual cycle. If the cycle lasts 28 days, counting the first day of bleeding as day 1, then day 14 is when she should be ovulating. If the cycle is 30 days then it would be 30 minus 14 which would be day 16 of the cycle. This ovulation calculator may be helpful.

For a more accurate prediction there are several kits available over the counter which help eliminate some of the guess work. These may be especially helpful for women who have irregular cycles and who cannot reliably predict their peak ovulation time just by counting days. A few kits that are recommended are Clearblue, Ovuquik, and First Response. Clearblue ranges from $20 to $30 for 7 - 10 test sticks in each box.

These kits work by detecting an increase in the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. The hormone is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Normally luteinizing hormone level peaks 24-36 hours before ovulation - the release of the egg from the ovary. It is then excreted via the urinary system where it is detected by the monitor stick which is included in the kits.

It is recommended to start testing 3-4 days before the expected day of ovulation. The best time of day to check is in late afternoon - 2 pm and later or at least no earlier than the second morning urine. It is best to avoid the first morning urine because LH can accumulate overnight and show a higher level in that sample. Once the meter reads as positive then the LH surge has occurred. The best time for intercourse then would be on the same day or 12-24 hours later.

If you are not using the kit, then it is recommended to have intercourse every other day starting 4-5 days before the expected time of ovulation. Other tips to help facilitate pregnancy is to avoid using any sperm toxic lubricants. Vegetable oil or Pre-Seed vaginal moisturizer is OK to use. After intercourse lay on your back with knees up for 20 minutes. And if you don't achieve the desired outcome then just try again.

Disclosures: I have no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned.