UNDERSTANDING YOUR UNIQUE MENSTRUAL CYCLE WHEN TRYING TO CONCEIVE
Kerry answers some common questions that get asked in the treatment room:
When trying to conceive (or avoiding a pregnancy) understanding your unique cycle is key. During women’s health consults a practitioner will ask many questions regarding your period, ovulation and hormones. If you are trying for a baby it can be a good idea to note your cycle in detail. This can be done by tracking your temperature (BBT charting), observing your mucus patterns and hormone changes. Be patient as it can take a few months to really understand your own menstrual cycle. By doing so you can reduce some stress and be confident that you are timing sex correctly in your fertile window.
Should I have sex every day to increase my chances?
- Unless you are extremely active in your relationship then this is not necessary. In fact, Chinese Medicine theory believes too much sex can deplete one’s health especially those systems responsible for fertility. Men need to regularly ‘clear the pipes out’ so to speak but not tire out. Too many times I hear women say ‘I hope I haven’t missed the timing this month’ adding stress and losing the enjoyment of making a baby. Loving sex and keeping the romance alive in your relationship is important. Understanding when your fertile window is means sex is increased during this time and then can be spaced out throughout the rest of your cycle.
Do you have to get egg white type mucus to have a fertile cycle?
- As long as you feel a sensation of slippery mucus in your vulva (the area around the opening of the vagina) you have a viable cycle to conceive. Observe this at the other end of the day that you have sex. During your cycle does it feel moist/wet/slippery or dry? Fertile mucus can get confused with sexual fluids or infections and can change its consistency when in your underpants. Learning to focus on sensation and chart your mucus properly can clearly help identify your fertile mucus allowing you to confidently catch your fertile window
Do I have to ovulate in the middle of my cycle to have a fertile cycle?
- In 95% of menstrual cycles the fertile window falls between days 4 – 23!
If you are experiencing long cycles you are most likely ovulating later than D14. The most common cause for long cycles is stress and PCOS. Your hormones need to peak to release an egg. You may have many attempts to ovulate but your hormones don’t quite peak. You therefore can experience fertile mucus and then nothing then fertile mucus again. This can become confusing to identify your fertile window and to time sex and therefore miss your chance that month. Once you have released an egg you have a chance of conceiving even if this is on Day 35. The second half of your cycle, the Luteal phase needs to be longer than 10 days for the embryo to imbed and keep the progesterone levels high. If you are charting and your Luteal phase is longer than 18 days you are pregnant.
Can you ovulate twice in one cycle?
Yes. You can but only within 21 hours of each egg release that could result and is the reason for non identical twins! You cannot ovulate twice outside of this. Once the egg has been released the follicle from which it popped out of is called the Corpus Luteum. This has a function of signalling progesterone and switching your cycle into the Luteal phase.
What if I notice fertile mucus at different times of my cycle?
Noticing fertile mucus more than once in a cycle could be your body trying to ovulate but not quite reaching the peak of hormones to release the egg.
Can you still get a period if you haven’t ovulated?
No. You have to ovulate for the Corpus Luteum to signal the release of progesterone and switch to the Luteal phase.
You can however get inter-menstrual bleeding that could be mistaken for a bleed. This can happen if your body is trying to ovulate but the egg does not quite release. This can happen a few times in one cycle until the hormones peak and the egg is released. Physical signs of this would be fertile mucus then a dry or moist sensation then fertile mucus then dry or moist. Your lining will be building up in a patchy way and can break away if it gets to a certain thickness. Your body will then continue to try to ovulate until you do. You could also be fertile during inter menstrual bleeding. This is most commonly seen in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Stress or coming off contraception.
Book in for a consultation to assess your fertility journey and pre-conception care. Learn how to optimise your chance of conceiving with expert advice, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Kerry is available at Mornington Chinese Medicine from 9am to 2pm on Monday, Thursday and Friday.
138 Tanti Avenue, Mornington, VIC
03 5973 6886