There are quite a number of terms and phrases to keep up with when it comes to your menstrual cycle and female health in general. If it is not the phases of the menstrual cycle like the luteal phase, it’s period irregularities like menorrhagia or ovulation and then there is the fertile window. Which by the way is not an actual window🙂.
Since Grace Health is pro-empowering women, especially about their bodies, in this article we will unpack what the fertile window is.
What does the word fertile mean?
Simply put, being fertile means having the ability to conceive. Having said that, it’s important to note that women cannot get pregnant every day of their cycle and there are about 7 fertile days in the menstrual cycle.
Male fertility on the other hand doesn’t change in the same way as female fertility, but it does decrease over a man’s lifetime and is closely linked to sperm count.
What is the fertile window?
The fertile window is the number of fertile days in a woman’s cycle. It’s the 6 days leading up to and including ovulation and the time when sexual intercourse may lead to pregnancy. Keep in mind that sperm may wait around for several days in the fallopian tubes after sex, ready to fertilize the egg once it’s finally released. The egg survives in the reproductive tract for 12-24 hours. Conception can occur if sperm fertilizes the egg during this time; otherwise, the egg sheds with the uterine lining during menstruation. It’s safe to say you have the highest chances of conceiving within 24 hours of ovulation and one day beforehand.
How can I calculate my fertile window?
Track your discharge - During the fertile window, cervical mucus increases in volume, and it tends to be more clear and more slippery compared to other times of the cycle.
Monitor your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) - Your resting body temperature rises during ovulation. Taking your basal body temperature first thing in the morning with a BBT thermometer can help monitor ovulation. However, this method only detects ovulation after it has already occurred.
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) - OPKs use a urine test to identify the fertile window. They work by monitoring the luteinizing hormone (LH), which rises roughly 36 hours before ovulation.
Fertility Monitors - They might be effective but slightly more pricey than OPKs.They are ovulation calculators that monitor your LH and estrogen to determine your most fertile days.
How does the Grace app calculate my fertile window?
When you track your symptoms by clicking on the plus sign button at the bottom of your Grace home screen, it leads you to the ‘what would you like to track’ screen. Next step, choose the discharge option and select what your discharge is like. Alternatively, you can track in the chat, using a similar-looking button like the one on the homes screen that says track which leads you to the ‘what would you like to track’ screen.
The calendar feature located on the home screen displays the length of your fertile window and your predicted ovulation date. After tracking fertile discharge, you are likely to see a change in your predicted ovulation date (marked with a darker grey colour). This also automatically changes the predicted date of your next period slightly depending on what you tracked.
The other lighter shade colour you see is your fertile window while the dark red one is either your previous period days or your next predicted period days. The dates with no shade are the days you are least likely to conceive, not safe days. Remember, there are no 100% guaranteed safe days, especially with shorter and irregular cycles.
How can I prevent pregnancy during my fertile window?
Identifying when you ovulate can be used as birth control by either using condoms or abstaining from sex. However, ovulation day can vary from cycle to cycle and sometimes we don’t know until after it has happened. The best way to prevent pregnancy and still have sex is by using contraceptives! Especially during your fertile window.
The bottom line
The fertile window is nothing complicated. It’s just the days when you are most fertile and likely to conceive. Within the fertile window is your ovulation date. The highest chances of conceiving are within 24 hours of ovulation and one day beforehand. The Grace Health app helps you predict your fertile window and ovulation in a simple yet effective way. To avoid pregnancy during this time, it is advisable to use contraceptives or abstain from sex entirely.
Stay informed, stay in control Have you learned something about the fertile window?