Some couples put a lot of thought into getting pregnant and sometimes get caught up in the stress and frustration of trying to conceive. While some couples choose to let nature take its course, some invest in fertility tools–basal thermometers, ovulation predictor kits, fertility monitors, etc–plan intercourse, and still do not conceive.
Could these tools be the problem? No, it’s just that some couples fixate on something they read on the internet or misinterpret the data. Here are some common misconceptions that couples make about tracking their fertility.
Your Basal Body Temperature Chart will Help You Predict Ovulation
Certainly not. In fact, charting your basal body temperature (BBT) can only help confirm that you ovulated. Most women will notice a rise in their BBT after ovulation, meaning that they would have already missed their most fertile period. Only a very small proportion of women will experience a drop in BBT on the day of ovulation and can therefore use their BBT chart to time intercourse.
With this information in mind, you should use your BBT chart to understand your cycles and how your body works. Additional fertility signs such as cervical mucus consistency and cervical position, and NOT temping charting, will help you predict ovulation.
Well, opinions vary a lot on this. Some doctors recommend charting whereas some do not. Those who are supportive of ovulation predictor kits, BBT, and cervical mucus charting admit that while fertility tracking is not foolproof, it could give couples and their treating physician some insight.
Here’s what some think about fertility tracking:
Any physician would request testing if they suspect you have an underlying problem that might be affecting your reproductive health. For example, your doctor might order a panel of tests if your BBT chart suggests that you’re not ovulating or your cycles are irregular.
While charting won’t increase pregnancy success rates for fertile couples that are fine with every other day sex, it is immensely helpful for those with a very busy schedule. In the real world, some couples have crazy work schedules and asking them to have every other day sex is not realistic at all. Some have a low sex drive and typically have intercourse once or twice a week, usually on weekends. Asking these couples to have sex every other day might just not work for them and end up causing them more stress. Some couples might find charting to be less stressful and have intercourse when they’re prepared for it.
Those who don’t recommend charting have their reasons:
Charting is extra work and can be pretty stressful to some couples. Although it provides great insight, it isn’t necessary in order to get pregnant. A young couple that does not have any fertility issues can conceive naturally by having intercourse every other day. Many doctors who prefer this method advice couples to have sex every other day from cycle day 10 to 20, which covers most of the fertile week for many women
Some couples read a lot of stuff and start panicking about conditions they don’t have because they read something on the World Wide Web. It can be pretty confusing when couples use their BBT chart to self diagnose and even start self medicating. Needless to stress that some women become obsessive with charting and their general physician and fertility specialist have to be careful to check up on their emotional health in addition to checking their physical health.
There’s so much room for user error that some physicians prefer not to rely on patients’ self-reported data.
You Must Have Sex on Cycle Day 14 to Conceive
New to tracking and expecting you’ll ovulate on cycle day 14? You might be in for a big disappointment. The general belief is that women ovulate on cycle day 14. Well, this would be true if your cycles are exactly 28 days long, with a luteal phase of exactly 14 days.
In reality most women do not have perfect cycles. Even women who have an average cycle length of 28 days, this can from one cycle to the next.
Additionally, even if you have regular cycles, you may not ovulate on the exact same day during every cycle. However, some women tend to ovulate in a narrow range of a few days, and it is not uncommon for some women to be “all over the chart” with their ovulation. For more information on your fertile window and your probability of getting pregnant at various points in your cycle, read this post.
You Should Sex Multiple Times on Your Ovulation Day
That would be great if you and your spouse are doing it for fun. But if you’re hoping this would increase your chances of conception, you might be very disappointed if your period shows up a few weeks later. While having sex several times on your ovulation day won’t harm your chances of conceiving, you might end up not getting pregnant.
In general, most fertile couples have a 20 to 30% chance of conceiving during each cycle, implying that you might not get pregnant even if you spend the entire day “baby dancing” on your ovulation day.
Further, depending on the method, user error cannot be overlooked among women who track their fertility. Therefore, before spending the whole day baby dancing, you might want to consider the possibility that you’re not ovulating and save some dance sessions for the next day or day after.
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I’m Princila, founder of Check Ovulation and a proud mom of two. I’m an alumna of James Lind Institute. After working in clinical jobs, my passion for writing took its toll, and I ended up switching careers to work in the medical publishing industry. I also have a passion for healthy food, which prompted me to take several online courses in nutrition and health offered by Wageningen University. (I still haven’t completed the courses thanks to my busy mommy schedule!). When I’m not writing/editing scientific and medical manuscripts or taking care of my family, I use my free time to research, learn, and write about healthy living. I have also authored a few books in the self-help niche using the pen names Princila Murrell or PN Murray.