Getting pregnant can be difficult: you don’t have to have diagnosable fertility problems to find it takes you longer to conceive than you expected. Fertility is a game of odds: even if the odds are in your favour, pregnancy isn’t guaranteed. To be more optimistic, if you do have any challenges to your fertility, there are things you can do to raise your chances of conceiving successfully.

One of the most important things you can do is find out the right time to try and conceive: your fertility rises and falls throughout the month – or rather throughout the weeks of a menstrual cycle. There are some days when you it’s strongly unlikely that sex can result in pregnancy, and others, the so called ‘fertile window’ when your chances of conceiving are boosted.

Identifying your fertile window, and ensuring you are planning to try to get pregnant during this key time, means tracking when you ovulate. If you can identify when you ovulate you can use that information to work out when your fertile days are because they are anchored by your ovulation. The fertile window is the time span in which sperm could survive in a woman’s body to meet an egg and fertilise it. To calculate the fertile window you need to know the lifespan of both sperm and eggs, and find when they overlap.

Sperm can survive for a maximum of five days in a woman’s body after ejaculation, with this maximum life span eroded by health conditions, age and factors like diet and lifestyle. Eggs, meanwhile remain fertile for up to twenty four hour after ovulation (and this maximum is similarly reduced by health factors). Your fertile window is the six days when these two periods overlap, and intercourse has a high chance of leading to conception.

Fertility monitors are an important part of identifying when you ovulate. Most work in one of two ways: they either test your hormones for the spikes associated with ovulation, or they monitor your basal body temperature – the low temperature your body drops to when you’re in an extended period of rest.

A fertility device that monitors your BBT can give you the most accurate answers – as hormone based tests can be disrupted by hormone based conditions like PCOS or hyperthyroidism. They can even be thrown off by medication, or simple stress, whereas your BBT gives you accurate measure of when you’re going to ovulate. It’s made much easier when you’re using an advanced monitor that records the data for you and processes it into a prediction, telling you the best time to try to conceive.

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