Pregnancy
Menstrual Cycle Week 2 Day 1

Here, three developing ovarian follicles can be seen in white. The inner circle of each is the egg. Of the follicles shown, it is likely that only one will be fully mature at ovulation and release an egg.

By the end of this week you’re likely to have ovulated. It’s worth knowing the signs that indicate you’re at your most fertile.

This is week two of your cycle.You will probably ovulate by the end of this week, and will therefore be fertile. As sperm can survive for 5 days inside you and an egg lives for 12–24 hours after ovulation, the window for an egg to be fertilized is 6 days. However, as the day of ovulation varies from day 12 to day 16, the fertile phase is regarded as spanning 9 days. If you have regular periods, ovulation can be easier to track, but you may want to use other methods, such as looking out for natural signs or using an ovulation kit. Remember, however, the best way to conceive is to have sex regularly. Although they are useful, testing kits are expensive and can be counter-productive because they make sex more clinical and less enjoyable. They work by testing the urine to detect a surge in LH, the hormone that triggers egg release.

Always follow the instructions given in the kit. After a positive test, you should ovulate 12–36 hours later. Results are about 99 per cent accurate but occasionally the result is falsely positive. Results can occasionally be falsely negative. If your test was negative, do another one the next day. Once you have a positive result, you can stop testing for that month.

  • Lower abdominal pain at ovulation, called mittelschmerz (the German for “pain in the middle”).

  • Basal body temperature (your temperature when you first wake in the morning) rising slightly.

  • Cervical mucus – the cervix produces secretions, which become wetter, clearer in colour, and stretchy, resembling raw egg white, just before ovulation. This indicates the start of your fertile phase.

Body temperature can be seen at the top of the chart, rising sharply straight after ovulation. The bottom section shows cervical secretions. These begin in the days leading up to ovulation, starting off moist and sticky, then becoming wetter and stretchy at your most fertile time.

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If you feel some of the cervical mucus with your fingers, you will find you can stretch it out. This is a sign that you are about to ovulate.

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