What Happens to Your Body During Ovulation

Philip Druce - Founder Of Ovulation CalculatorToday, we welcome a guest blogger to share with us some important information about ovulation and why it’s important. Today’s blogger is Phil Druce, the Founder of Ovulation Calculator, a site which provides tools and education to help couples conceive naturally.

 

The body is an amazing thing. Just take a moment to think about all the life-crucial things your body does without your input. Take breathing, for example. You do not have to think about breathing, but in doing so, your body inhales crucial oxygen into your lungs and distributes it throughout your body. Amazing. And if you are in awe of that, you will really be floored by what a woman’s body can do. From ovulation to conception and childbirth, your body is a miracle-making machine. To begin to understand, let us take a deeper look at ovulation.

Ovulation Explained

Once per cycle, a woman’s body will release a mature egg in a process called ovulation. The purpose, to be fertilized by sperm. This will happen whether or not you want to conceive, so it is important to know when you are ovulating. Ovulation occurs about 12 to 14 days before your next menstrual period, so you can expect it to happen somewhere around the middle of your cycle. This will depend on the length of your cycle, but we will get to that later.

Symptoms of Ovulation

If you have no idea when you ovulate, do not worry. You are in good company. Most women do not know when they ovulate unless they are actively tracking their cycles. About 20 percent of women report cramping during ovulation, so in theory, they may know when ovulation is happening. There are other symptoms, including nausea, bloating, breast tenderness and more, but the majority of women who are trying to conceive track ovulation by charting basal body temperature, cervical mucus or tracking cervical changes.

Phases of Your Cycle

Your cycle begins with your menstrual period, and this is the start of the follicular phase. During the follicular phase, your body is preparing to release a mature egg. The name follicular comes from the follicle that houses the egg that is released. The follicular phase length can vary from cycle to cycle, even for the same women. The next phase is called ovulation, when an egg is released from a follicle. The follicle ruptures causing the egg to be pushed out of the ovary.  After ovulation the menstrual cycle transitions to the luteal phase, this final phase lasts about 14 days, on average.

During the start of the luteal phase your basal body temperature (BBT) should rise slightly. This is one way to know if you ovulated. Your BBT should then remain elevated through the rest of the luteal phase, which is until your next menstrual period begins.

Hormones and Ovulation

Ovulation actually begins in the brain. The hypothalamus, a part of your brain, produces something called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH triggers your pituitary gland (also in the brain) to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH act on follicles in the ovaries to initiate and control growth. Each follicle contains an egg. After ovulation, the empty follicle, called the corpus luteum, releases progesterone that helps build the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy.

The Role of the Menstrual Period

If the egg is fertilized by sperm, it makes its way to the uterus and implants into the plush lining of the uterus for nourishment and protection.

If the egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours, it will degenerate and disintegrate. Without implantation the uterus lining will eventually break up. This is what you know as your menstrual period, and it marks the beginning of a new cycle.

What to do When You are Ovulating

If you are trying to conceive, try to have sex in the few days before ovulation. Sperm can live up to five days and your egg can live for up to one day, which gives you a maximum fertile window of 6 days.

 

#TriToConceive – And the Training Begins

Week 1-2 of training

For those of you who follow our blog, you likely saw my post during National Infertility Awareness Week announcing my goal to compete in an Olympic triathlon to raise awareness for infertility.  After the first two weeks of training, though sore, I am still more inspired than ever to complete this goal.

Training began like every other event I have competed in—very slowly.  It takes a lot of effort to get up and going again after taking so many months off to “recover” (aka, eating anything and everything I want, and not even runningconsidering going for a run).   Once I finally put down the doughnuts, I was able to find a very nice rhythm this week, and found a plan that is very doable.  Through the first 2 weeks of workouts I have ran 9+ miles, swam 1.5, and completed 4+ hours on a stationary bike (our house isn’t located in an ideal biking region……soooooo many hills, and the rain has kept me inside).   All in all, the first two weeks are going as well as planned, with no setbacks or pains (minus soreness).

Following my initial post announcing my plan, I received a ton of positive feedback from family, friends, and many of those who follow this blog.  I truly appreciate all the encouragement and am truly blessed. However, I want everyone to remember that this run is in no way about me; please keep all those dealing with infertility in your thoughts and prayers.  The physical pain that I am putting myself through can never compare the countless numbers of families in the midst of their fertility struggle.

One final note for my first training update, I have to give a shout out to my wife.  The amount of time that I will be spending over the next 15 to 20 weeks training at times can be a struggle, but luckily my wife has been nothing but amazing.  I even got her on a bike (for the first time in 15 years) and she rode right along with me for the entire ride.  She is my teammate, cheerleader, motivator, and at times the one pushing me out the door to go run when I am struggling.

Come stop by next week as I will provide another update as well as a breakdown of the event I will be competing in.

#TriToConceive

#TriToConceive with Josh!

From Josh:

390040_738537463337_235816598_nFor many of you following our blog, you have read numerous pieces written by my sisters, and many less from me. As I outlined in my initial blog post, I struggled to find topics to discuss as 27-year-old male who did not have kids, or haven’t attempted to conceive with my wife. I no doubt had a passion to help spread the word and help bring encouragement to families who are struggling with infertility; I just didn’t believe that my writing was the most effective vehicle to do just that. I brainstormed for many hours hoping to find a way to connect with people more effectively and a way that brings attention to a cause that is frequently lacking a male voice.
Before I get deeper into this article, a little background will be needed. In December of 2007, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the same cancer that took the life of my grandfather 20 years prior. This became an impactful moment not only in my life, but my entire family. As we gathered in support, our entire family began taking part in a local Indianapolis 5K that raised funds to support men dealing with prostate cancer. Little did we know that doing a 5K as a family would create a spark in all of us to live a healthier lifestyle, and push our bodies to the limit. Shortly after my father’s diagnosis, he underwent a successful surgery to remove the cancer. He remains cancer free to this day. However, we have never stopped running.
In effort to blend these two passions together, I have decided to embark on a journey that I will document for you all over the coming weeks and months. I could not think of a better week to make this announcement than National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This week we honor those dealing with fertility issues for NIAW, and gather to support a common cause.
To do my part in raising awareness for families dealing with infertility, I will be competing in an Olympic Triathlon later this summer (my first Olympic distance). My goal is not to win or run my personal bests, it’s about carrying a torch for a cause that is rarely mentioned my men. I hope this journey helps inspire men to open up about the emotional effects of infertility, and create a new dialog. It is also to honor and support those who have battled, or are currently battling the physical and emotional turmoil that infertility causes. #YouAreNotAlone.
During my training, please follow my progress on Facebook, and Twitter @keytoconcieve, or search #TriToConceive as I will bring you weekly updates, as well as the stories of those who I am running for.
I look forward to hearing from all of you over the next few months.
#TriToConceive

A Word From the Men of ToConceive…

You’ve heard from Krissy and Lindsey of ToConceive, now it’s time to get the perspective of infertility from a male, ToConceive’s own Josh Thompson….

Josh and  OliviaI have struggled over the past few months in coming up with ideas for articles/blog posts relating to infertility from the male’s perspective. I have bounced around ideas such as fitness, nutrition, and the holy grail of male fertility topics, boxer’s vs tighty whiteys. However, none of those ideas spoke to me and writers block hit me like a ton of bricks. Then when I least expected it, as I sat on the beach next to my new bride (on our honeymoon), the idea hit me. At this moment I realized that I was now entering into whole new phase of my life, leaving the single life, and entering the world of marriage.
Naturally, my wife and I have always discussed our ideal family design; 2 kids, a boy and a girl (I must say, seeing my beautiful nieces grow up, I wouldn’t be sad if I had two girls), two or three years apart, happy and healthy. What more could a newly married couple ask for? For the longest time this conversation was nothing more than just that, a conversation. But now that we are married, it has become our everyday reality. We must decide when is the right time, is our house, and bank account ready for us to bring in another mouth, am I ready to be a father? (Just typing that sentence is sure to make my mom, sisters, wife, and likely my dad cry when they read it.)
However, what if our dream family doesn’t come as easily as it does in our conversations? What if God’s will is for us to not have a family or for us to deal with the struggles of infertility? While I have been researching infertility for the past year or more, hoping to spread the word to couples who are facing the reality of infertility, it has never occurred to me that I too one day may have to fight the same battle. Will my wife and I be mentally prepared? Will we have the faith to remain strong? I like to think that the answer is yes. But the answer to that lies within my relationship with God and my wife. I do know that the beautiful woman that I now get to call my wife (not to toot my own horn, but I totally hit the jackpot) and I would stand firm in our faith and rely on our love. It is amazing to know that regardless of what we may go through in life, we will have each other. Infertility may be a difficult topic, especially for us men, but is should never cause fear. I don’t know if these thoughts are normal (though I know I am outside of the standard of what is normal to begin with) for a man, but I like to think they are, it just might be hidden under our layers of emotional barriers. If this short blog does anything, I hope it shows men that this is not a topic that you should hide under, but rather speak to it. Family, love, and faith are a part of our lives every day and there will never be a good enough reason to hide from it.
One final story as I open this dialog around male infertility. During our rehearsal dinner my father and mother spoke to us about family and what to expect in the coming years. The one thing that stood out to me more than anything was them describing how before I ever met my wife, they were praying for her. They prayed for my brother’s wife and sister’s husband that we all would meet the perfect spouse, and find the love that they did, they did so before we were ever born. And now, we too are praying.

Hard Habit to Break

No Smoking SignWhile they don’t seem that detrimental, many of our daily bad habits can have far-reaching negative affects, especially on fertility. If you’re struggling to conceive or thinking about trying to conceive in the future, it’s worth the work to try and break your bad habits as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible chance of conception. An article in the Huffington Post outlined some of the most common bad habits that can have a negative effect on fertility:

Stress–A recent study by the Ohio State University provided the scientific data to back what we already knew–stress can cause infertility.

Being Overweight or Underweight–even a little extra weight can cause hormone shifts that affect ovulation and semen production and being underweight can mean irregular periods.

Smoking–this bad habit is not only bad for your overall health, it can cause major fertility issues and pregnancy issues if you continue to smoke once you do conceive.

Caffeine–too much caffeine, whether through coffee, pop or tea, can inhibit your chances of conception, so cut back if you can.

Using the Wrong Lubricant–most lubricants are actually spermicidal and kill any chances of conception. This is where ToConceive can help! Our ToConceive product is a gel that certainly has lubricant properties to it and feels like other lubricants, but it is much more.  Our product stimulates a woman’s body to increase the production of transudate, a natural lubrication that dissolves the immobilizing cholesterol from the sperm and creates an enzyme to allow the sperm to fertilize the ovum. This process can only be achieved with transudate and is called Sperm Capacitation. This essential capacitation step is inadequate or missing in many couples due to the women’s limited production of transudate.

 

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Don’t Forget….March Madness is now Maternity Madness!

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Is there really a key to conceiving?

babies

For many couples, the path to having a baby can be full of many bumps, twists and turns. Oftentimes, couples believe their only hope is expensive and complicated methods like in-vitro fertilization. A new product to the market, ToConceive, aims to change that mindset and offers a key to conception.

Discovered and developed by award-winning gynecologist Dr. Ronald Thompson, ToConceive is FDA-approved, easy-to-use and inexpensive. The science behind ToConceive is based on the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for In Vitro Fertilization and Sperm Capacitation.

Unlike over-the-counter lubrications, some of which actually contain spermicide and kill sperm, ToConceive is a topical lubrication clinically proven to increase Natural Conception Lubrication in a woman to aid in conception. The product concentrates on increasing a woman’s natural conception lubrication to promote sperm capacitation. Essential to the conception process, sperm capacitation allows the sperm to travel the six or seven inches up the fallopian tube and penetrate and fertilize the egg.

Promoting in-vivo sperm capacitation, ToConceive also helps treat types of male subfertility, such as anti-sperm antibodies caused by an infection in the prostate, insufficient numbers of sperm and abnormal sperm that prevents fertilization.

“For over 30 years, I have attempted to help women achieve conception, pregnancy, and motherhood,” said Dr. Thompson. “ToConceive has already helped hundreds of women achieve conception, and now has the opportunity to help thousands of women worldwide to achieve conception, pregnancy, and motherhood.”

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Resolve to get pregnant this year!

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