The 101 On Ovulating

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how to know whether you’re ovulating or not. Obviously I am far from a doctor so I don’t know all of the terminology or courses of treatment; however I can speak to my own personal ovulation issues.

For me, before and after getting off birth control, I had very irregular and erratic cycles. I was that girl who went on birth control to regulate her periods-sort of 😌. I had been on and off various birth control methods for around 10 years.

We were planning on starting to try-to-conceive (TTC) in spring/summer 2012. I, however, had been off birth control at that point for somewhere around 8-12 months or so (I was having some weird side effect and so we opted for natural family planning-ish). Obviously in hindsight we didn’t need anything at all!

Anyways, my cycle continued to be all over the place, some months 26 days, others 40, and sometimes I wouldn’t get it at all. So at my appointment in January of 2012, my OBGYN had said she suspected that I may not be ovulating every month and that a simple blood test would provide that information.  I believe that protocols may vary, but in my circumstance I began going for blood testing Day 3 (Day 1 is the first day of your menstural cycle, not spotting) and Day 21.  Day 3 testing  measures your levels of estradiol, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).  Ironically LH and FSH were the two hormones that my husband also lacked. Day 21 testing confirms whether or not you ovulated.  If your levels are low on Day 21 it suggests that your anovulatory, AKA didn’t produce an egg.

Needless to say, two out of the three months of testing I ovulated on my own and one month of did not ovulate at all.  Now if you are in the depths of TTC you know, despite all of these “surprise” pregnancies, the fertile “window” to get  pregnant within a cycle is very small.  Compound that with not always ovulating and your chances are even slimmer.

The good news:  if not ovulating is your only issue, there’s usually a fairly easy fix.  I was prescribed a relatively low dose (50 mg)  of Clomid from June-September 2012 and all four months I ovulated.  Given that I was still not pregnant, we knew there had to be something more.

If you’re TTC or planning on TTC in the near future and suspect you may not be ovulating, I’d recommend consulting your doctor first.  They can guide you best based on your own individual case.

You could also use ovulation predictor kits (OPK) that can bought over-the-counter.  My favorite are the smiley face ones-I used to get so excited when that 🙂 popped up, you would’ve thought I was getting a BFP (Big Fat Positive).  I will warn you if your cycle is sporatic it can be more difficult to use OPK’s and definitely more costly.  Typically, a woman with an average 28 day cycle would get a positive on an OPK at or around day 14.  When you have irregular cycles you have to test earlier and longer to sometimes get that 🙂.  However they are highly accurate and effective in achieving a pregnancy if you are ovulating!

If you are concerned about whether or not you’re ovulation, speak with your doctor first.  Then shoot me an email at onprayersandneedles@gmail.com if you’d like some TTC support, ovulating or not!

Here’s to lots of 🙂 and 🍾 cheers to the freakin weekend!

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