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How can I monitor my ovulation?

Q: I am 32 years old and trying to get pregnant. I started monitoring my cycle 2 months ago. Last month I found that I ovulated but this month, my discharge was sticky around 10 days after the first day of the period, but did not have the egg white like discharge. Did I ovulate or is there anything that I need to worry about. Please help me.

A:The discharge method is only a rough guide for ovulation, and happens during the fertile period of the cycle. If it is not the classic egg white it could be that there is some vaginal or cervical infection, which is altering the character of the discharge. You could still have ovulated. On the other hand, women who do not ovulate can still have this egg white type of discharge. Please note the length of your cycles for the next 3 months - i.e., from Day 1 of your menses till the 1st day of the next menses. This way you can get an idea whether your cycles are of 28 / 29/ 30 days regularly or 28 / 29 / 30 days +/- 1-2 days or +/- 2-3 days, etc. This will help you. Ovulation generally occurs 14 days before the next expected menses. Therefore, it is crucial for you to note your cycle length, because you cannot calculate your fertile period from day 1 of current menses. Therefore, if you have regular cycles of 28 days, you will ovulate on Day 14; if your cycle is of 30 days, you will ovulate on Day 16. If you have a cycle length of 28- 30 days you will ovulate anytime between Day 14 to Day 16. However, even in women with absolutely regular cycles, the ovulation can occasionally occur 1- 2days earlier or later than the calculated day of ovulation. Hence, for a 28 days cycle we suggest fertile period is from Day 11 to Day 17. If your cycles are 28- 30 days, fertile period is between Day 11 to day 19. As you are already 32 years of age, I suggest you and your husband consult an experienced gynaecologist immediately so that she can examine you, and get some basic tests done. The husband’s semen analysis is very important. If he refuses to get it done there is a way out by your undergoing a postcoital test (PCT). In this test you are instructed to have sex with your husband (without condoms or lubricants) around day of ovulation. You should then report to the gynaecologist within 4- 6 hours. She will then take out the cervical mucus (with a simple instrument) and note its characteristics under a microscope, including the number of motile sperms. This will give a fair idea of your husband’s semen. However, the PCT can be abnormal, if there is a problem with your cervical mucus.

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