Ovulation Calendar

Ready to have a baby? Experts agree that determining when you're ovulating is the single most important factor in getting pregnant quickly. But with so many methods out there -- from charting your basal body temperature to using an ovulation predictor kit -- where does a woman start?

The general rule of thumb is that women ovulate 14 days before their next period. A normal menstrual cycle will last between 23 and 35 days. (If your cycles are shorter or longer than the normal range, you might want to consult an expert.) But because a woman's body varies from month to month, few women have the exact same number of days in every cycle. And because sperm can live for two to three days after intercourse and the egg can survive for only 12 to 24 hours after ovulation, the optimal time to have intercourse is one to three days before ovulation. So here's the tricky part: How can you predict ovulation if your cycle changes every month?

Pros: It's inexpensive and can help women learn about their bodies and their cycle lengths.
Cons: It's hard for many women to remember to take their temperature every morning, and with this method, it's more likely you'll determine when ovulation has already occurred, which is not as useful in terms of getting pregnant.
"Charting my BBT helped us figure out when to have sex in subsequent months. I got pregnant after three cycles of charting." -- Jody

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