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While you might have spent a fair amount of time during your not-so-ready-for-baby years trying not to get pregnant, conception isn't always guaranteed the instant that you start "trying," according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Keeping a fertility calendar will help you to track your ovulation and make the most of each month's chances. From electronic online and app versions to ultra low-tech options, creating a calendar helps you to identify the days you are most fertile.
If your period is like clockwork, tracking your most fertile days may seem like a snap. Ovulation typically happens two weeks before the start of your period, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have a regular cycle, mark the calendar for the two weeks before your period. Mark the five days leading up to this day as well as the two days after. This window is your most fertile time.
If you're less than regular, tracking your fertile days via a calendar isn't so easy. Counting backward two weeks before your period should arrive is pointless if you have no clue when you're going to start menstruating. Look for other signs to tell you when to mark your calendar for a date with your partner. Some women experience physical changes or experience symptoms that go along with ovulation. This may include cervical discharge. Another ovulation symptom is a rise in your basal temperature of 0.4 to 1.0 degrees, notes the Baby Center. Track these changes on your calendar to better predict your ovulation window.
DIY vs. Tech-Savvy
You have more than one option for creating a fertility calendar. If you travel a lot, a portable version—such as an app on your cell phone—may work best. If you are not exactly tech-friendly, think paper calendar or date book. Or choose an online calendar. Medical institutions such as the University of Rochester Medical Center or California's Memorial Care Health System offer web-based calculators, but these online options may not work well if your period length and dates vary.
Charting a month's worth of ovulation—or ovulation symptoms—isn't likely to cut it when you're trying to conceive. You may need to keep up on your calendar for between 8 and 12 months to get an accurate picture, notes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. If you don't get pregnant right away, review your calendar to find patterns. For example, you may get your period every 31 days, meaning that your ovulation date will change each month.