Knowing and understanding your menstrual cycle can drastically improve your chances of getting pregnant. The first day of your cycle is the first day of your period and you can map it out from here. An average cycle is 28-32 days, some women will have shorter cycles and some longer, knowing what's normal for you is important.
With an average cycle, ovulation occurs between days 11-21, the egg is released and cervical mucus changes to allow sperm to travel. If fertilisation doesn't happen within 24 hours, the egg will dissolve. Sperm can survive for 3-5 days, so knowing when you ovulate can maximise your chances of success. The best chances for success generally are 1-2 days before ovulation. In a regular cycle, if you ovulate on Day 14, having sex on alternate days from Day 10, Day 12, and Day 14 is ideal for success. Having sex every day can lower a man's sperm count so alternate days is recommended.
When you ovulate, Luteinising Hormone or LH has triggered the ovaries to release the egg. An LH surge occurs about 36 hours before the egg is released. Home ovulation kits like ClearBlue Advanced Digital Ovulation test kits measure LH levels. You need to begin testing about 1-2 days before the expected surge so the surge can be easily identified when it happens. This will help you pinpoint the ideal few days to try to conceive.
If the egg isn't fertilised, progesterone levels fall and the egg is shed during menstruation.
If you are both trying to conceive a few simple lifestyle changes can also help. For women, it's so important to take a folic acid supplement each day while trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Clonfolic or Pregnacare Conception are ideal supplements to take before pregnancy. Reducing alcohol intake and caffeine intake aswell as maintaining a healthy body weight can improve ovulation and fertility chances.
For men, reducing alcohol and tobacco intake, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping the testicles cool, so avoiding long hot baths or trips to the sauna can improve fertility. Zinc and Selenium are important minerals for male fertility. Wellman Conception aswell as Pharmanord Zinc and Selenium supplements are great sources of these minerals.
When pregnant, you release hCG hormone, this is the principle that home pregnancy kits work on. They detect this hormone in the urine and give you a positive result. hCG can be detected up to 5 days before your period is due. Clearblue Digital pregnancy tests not only detect the hCG but also can give you an indication of how far along since conception you are in your pregnancy if you are unsure about your dates.