The journey to getting pregnant isn't as smooth as you would like it to be! It may be a cakewalk for some, but for many, it brings its own share of challenges. Multiple factors influence your chances of having a baby, including your and your partner's age, reproductive health, and overall well-being. Therefore, to get pregnant, a couple needs all these factors in line. After all, it's not just about having sex, it's also about when you have it! Generally speaking, a woman is more likely to get pregnant during her monthly fertility window - the time she is about to ovulate. 

Tracking Your Best Time To Get Pregnant

The timing of sexual intercourse has a lot to do with your chances of conception. If you are having regular unprotected sex starting five days before ovulation, you are more likely to get pregnant compared to any other time of the month.1 This is what we refer to as our monthly fertility window - a specific set of days when you experience peak fertility! Let's understand how.

Ovulation: Your Monthly Fertility Window

Ovulation marks the third phase in the female menstrual cycle. It involves a series of events that enable the release of a mature egg from the ovary into a woman's fallopian tube. The newly released egg is either fertilized by a sperm leading to pregnancy or disintegrates in the absence of one.2

On average, a woman has a 28-day long menstrual cycle, and ovulation occurs somewhere in the middle, i.e., 14 days before the start of menstruation.3 However, it may not be the case for all of us! Therefore, when trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to track the day you'll be ovulating.

Calendars and over-the-counter ovulation kits are a big help here! But you can always look out for the basic ovulation signs in your body. As you come near ovulation day, you'll notice a significant change in your vaginal secretions - the usual thin, clear, and stretchy mucus suddenly turns cloudy and thick.4 This is accompanied by a sudden increase in your basal body temperature (Temperature of the body at rest) 2 to 3 days prior to ovulation.4 Plus, you may also experience an increased sex drive, breast tenderness, bloating, as well as cramps.5, 6 So, with these simple clues, your body tries to make you aware that the fertility window is all open.

The Interplay Of Hormones

Each month, our body prepares itself for a potential pregnancy. And it does so through a complex interaction between hormones released by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries. The constant fluctuation, interaction, and regulation of such hormones make up the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.3

The hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) & luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland. These two hormones travel down to the ovaries and regulate the levels of estrogen & progesterone. Just like the other phases of our menstrual cycle, ovulation is also a result of changes in the levels of FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone.3

  • Follicular phase: Your uterus starts to prepare for a possible future pregnancy during the follicular phase. The primary follicle (your egg/oocyte surrounded by granulosa cells) starts to develop into a mature graafian follicle (a mature fluid-filled cavity containing the egg) and the innermost uterine lining (endometrium) starts proliferating.3
  • Ovulatory phase: The ovulatory phase, lasting between days 13 to 17, is the time in your menstrual cycle when ovulation occurs. Ovulation usually occurs on the 14th day.3
  • Luteal phase: Also known as the post-ovulation phase, this period decides the fate of the corpus luteum (yellow  progesterone-secreting cyst in the ovary). If fertilization happens, there will be a possible pregnancy. If it doesn't, the corpus luteum degenerates and the next cycle begins.3
  • Menstrual phase: The uterine lining prepared for implantation starts to shed. This lasts for 3-5 days.3

FSH, LH, Estrogen & Progesterone Levels During Menstrual Cycle 3

Understanding Ovulation & Female Infertility

Ovulation plays a vital role in female fertility, or so to say female infertility. Research highlights that almost 25% of female infertility cases are due to ovulatory disorders.7 The cause of problems with ovulation can be many, the most common being dysfunction in any part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. This dysfunction can occur when:7

  • The hypothalamus secretes low levels of GnRH, which will not stimulate the pituitary gland to produce LH & FSH.
  • The pituitary gland starts producing low levels of luteinizing hormone or follicle-stimulating hormone. 
  • The ovaries are producing too little estrogen. 
  • The pituitary gland starts producing excessive prolactin, resulting in low levels of the hormones that promote ovulation. 

Another reason why sexual intercourse during the fertility window might not be leading to pregnancy is adrenal or thyroid gland malfunction. Both these glands ensure that your ovaries and pituitary maintain a harmonious balance. But in some cases, the adrenal gland can produce large amounts of testosterone (male hormone), or the thyroid gland may secrete thyroid hormones in too much or too little amounts. Both scenarios result in an ovarian and pituitary imbalance, causing problems with your ovulation.7

Many women in their reproductive years suffer from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition characterized by enlarged ovaries with small cysts on their outer edges. Such women present abnormal & high levels of androgens or male hormones that result in excessive weight gain, irregular periods, and eventually, problems with ovulation.7 

But the reason for ovulatory problems leading to female infertility doesn't end here! The kind of lifestyle you lead can also impact your chances of conception during the fertility window. These include diabetes, obesity, excessive exercise, extreme and sudden weight loss, as well as psychological stress.8

Therefore, before you commence your journey to motherhood, you must get to know your body completely. This can help you track your reproductive health and understand why you might be facing problems with conceiving.

Find Your Answer With LifeCell’s OvaScore!

By being aware of her reproductive health, a woman can take planned and actionable steps toward starting a family. And LifeCell's OvaScore serves as a perfect way to do that! It is a quick, simple, and hassle-free at-home female fertility test that helps women to learn if their hormones are balanced enough to support their reproductive choices. 

The test looks into the levels of 9 important hormones that are linked to female reproductive health. By tracking these levels, one can get deep insights into their ovarian reserve, ovulation pattern, and possible egg freezing or IVF outcomes. Not just this, but the test also delivers information on medical conditions that may impact your fertility, including Early Menopause, Primary ovarian insufficiency, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and much more.

In short, LifeCell’s OvaScore is a great way for females to track their reproductive health status right from the comfort of their homes and identify potential red flags that may cause issues with their chances of conceiving, all in just 3 to 5 days!