How to track ovulation if you have irregular periods16 December 2020
Why tracking ovulation is vital to your TTC journey
Tracking ovulation while trying to conceive (TTC) might be crucial in your fertility journey, as it helps us to understands how our body works. It is also useful in identifying our fertile window to plan sex to pregnancy in those days.
In a 28-day-cycle, a woman normally ovulates 14 days before her next period… but not everyone has clockwork-cycles, in fact, just 12% of women have a 28-day cycle. Actually, a normal cycle length is between 21 to 35 days, and ovulation might not be on the same day every month.
How do ovulation trackers work?
There are different types of trackers, but all of them detect the rise of Luteinising hormone (LH), which peaks 24-36 hours before the egg is released from the ovaries. Therefore, they tell you the perfect time to have sex and hopefully get pregnant.
Why should we track ovulation when TTC?
Tracking ovulation has many benefits on your fertility journey.
- It is much more accurate than measuring basal body temperature or checking your cervical mucus.
- It increases your chances to conceive as it tells you when you are about to ovulate.
- It helps to get to know what is normal for you, which is not always the textbook version.
- It is also useful when you are undergoing fertility treatment such as ovulation induction or intrauterine insemination.
How do I check my ovulation if I´ve got irregular periods?
Usually, when we have a 28-day cycle, we start checking our monitor around day 8-9 of the cycle, which is approximately 5 days before the ovulation day. Finding out what day to start might be tricky if we have irregular periods as you don't really know.
What doctors recommend in this case is to check which your shortest cycle in the last 6 months and think that your current cycle will be like that.
For example, suppose your shortest period was 21 days and the luteal phase (the period between ovulation and your next period) is about 14 days. In that case, that means that you might be ovulating around day 7. Therefore, you should start getting busy with your monitor around day 4 of the cycle to catch the surge and not miss the ovulation. If we started monitoring on day 8, we would’ve missed our surge, and therefore we would’ve thought we didn’t ovulate that month!
Your monitor will also be helpful to identify the length of your luteal phase, whether it’s shorter or longer than 14 days.
Why is tracking ovulation in irregular periods essential when you are TTC?
Because the more we know about our body, the better. It helps us to understand what it is normal for us, for example our cycle length, how long our luteal phase is. And with that information in mind we can identify when something is not right…
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of irregular periods or anovulation. However, many women with PCOS do ovulate. Lifestyle changes or medications help to recover menstrual cycles, and you will know by checking your monitor, which allows you to keep control of your treatments.
For that reason, MyLotus is ideal in irregular cycles as it allows you to have a personalised LH tracking which tells you what it is normal for you.
What if I did not get a surge? Did I miss my ovulation?
First things first, if you missed your ovulation, we need to rule out whether you used your monitor wrongly. Probably you started checking it too early or too late, or you missed days… so, go back to the instructions and start next month better.
If you are using conventional ovulation kit predictors, you might need to use them twice a day, as sometimes the surge is very sharp and we can easily miss it. If you are not able to find a surge in a couple of cycles, these tests might not be for you.
If you are using MyLotus and you are sure you did things right, we need to find out why you missed the ovulation. Sometimes, we are going through a stressful time, or we started doing a lot of exercise, or we changed our routine recently, or our body weight went up or down quite fast… any of these changes might affect our cycle and ovulation.
If you are not seeing a peak or not getting periods at all, it is time to seek professional advice by asking your GP or fertility doctor.
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