3 Ways to Know You're Fertile Right This Second

New research finds that most fertility-tracking apps don't work very well at all. So how can you know when you're ovulating? Experts weigh in.

By Korin Miller, SELF

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or want to avoid it at all costs, knowing when you’re fertile can be an important step in getting you to your goal. Luckily, there are a bunch of products and methods out there to help. But, according to new research, they’re not all created equal.

A new study of fertility-calculating websites and apps from New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College found that just four out of 53 of these tools accurately predict a woman’s fertility window, i.e. the days during which she’s most likely to get pregnant. (If you’re not familiar with fertility calculators, they usually take the date of your last period and the average length of your cycles, and then tell you when you’ll have the best chance of conceiving.)

The problem is that most women don’t have a predictable cycle, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. “Most patients think their cycle is regular, but will find that some months it’s 28 days and others it’s 31,” she says. “If someone has a period every 28 days and it’s like clockwork, you can pretty accurately predict her fertility window.”

However, Streicher says, that’s not common. And, she points out, just because you have a period doesn’t mean you ovulated, since some women don’t ovulate every month.

So, how can you know for sure?

You’ve probably heard that you can check your cervical mucus—if it looks like uncooked egg whites and stretches about an inch between your fingers without breaking, you’re likely fertile. But Streicher says there are much more scientific methods available now. “If you’re on a desert island and there’s no drugstore, go for it,” she says. “We know the mucus changes throughout the cycle, but for someone who is not a cervical mucus expert, this is subjective.”

Instead, she recommends buying an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit. With most of them, you pee on a strip once a day, and get a positive reading when you’re about to ovulate. “Be aware that you may have to do that more than one month, since it can only tell you that you ovulated that month,” Streicher says.

But you can also kick things up a notch with your doctor, who can do a blood test to check your progesterone levels (a major reproductive hormone that goes up around the time you ovulate) or a mid-cycle ultrasound to look for evidence of ovulation.

Once you know you’re ovulating, it’s time to get busy. While the motility and quality of your guy’s sperm is a factor here, Streicher recommends having sex within 24 hours after getting a positive ovulation result (home ovulation predictors tell you that you’re going to ovulate in the next 24 hours). Then, plan on having sex two or three days in a row to increase the odds that his sperm will get to your egg.

Of course, worrying too much about when you're fertile can make you crazy. If you feel like that's too intense for you and your partner, Mary E. Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D., a fertility expert and ob/gyn at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF that it's a good idea to start having sex two to three days a week starting at day nine of your cycle. If you do that, you'll have a good chance of hitting your fertility window.

But, if it's been a year and you're under the age of 35 (or six months and you're over 35), Sabatini recommends seeing your doctor. "If you’re having sex two or three times or more a week and it's not happening, there’s probably something else going on," she says.
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U.S. Daily News: 3 Ways to Know You're Fertile Right This Second
3 Ways to Know You're Fertile Right This Second
U.S. Daily News
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