It’s important to chart your menstrual cycle in order to predict the best time to get pregnant, but when you have irregular periods, figuring out a fertility calendar can become confusing.
Dr Johannes van Waart from Wijnland Fertility clinic suggests creating a fertility journal to help map the signs your body is sending you. Here’s what to look out for:
- It often emerges that there is some sort of a pattern that a fertility specialist would be able to help you work with, but it may take a couple of months – and some dedication – to establish what this is.
- Use your diary daily throughout your cycle, noting the duration of (and time in between) periods, as well as any observations you may have about them.
- Use a basal thermometer to take your temperature every day, as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your temperature changes slightly around ovulation time and this reading will give you and your doctor important clues as to when you are most likely to be fertile.
- Another aspect to keep track of is the presence and consistency of your cervical mucus. Straight after your period you may not see any mucus, but as you approach your time of ovulation, mucus increases and becomes thicker and may change in colour. Note the duration and changes you are seeing in your fertility journal.
- Ovulation predictor kits are available that allow you to home test for spikes in luteinising hormone, which increases a day or two before you ovulate.
- Irregular or absent periods can be a clue that you are not ovulating. It is important to rule out this possibility as it may lead to problems conceiving.
- If it is discovered you are experiencing a condition where no ovulation is occurring (known as anovulation), your doctor will give you a full check-up to eliminate other factors – especially those related to the thyroid or other hormonal issues.
- In cases where a patient needs assistance with ovulation, orally administered medicines that stimulate ovulation may be prescribed.
“As many as 40% of our infertility cases can be traced back to timing. This is either due to issues relating to ovulation complications or couples simply not managing to figure out when that ideal fertility window is. If you have been having weekly sex for more than a year without contraception and you’re not falling pregnant, visit a fertility expert,” says Dr Van Waart.
Visit www.wijnlandfertility.co.za for more info.
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