AT Home with Christian Jessen - March 2011 - (Page 110)

How to understand your fertility aking babies sounds easy, doesn’t it? Stop using contraception, have sex and bingo, you’ll get pregnant. Sadly, for many couples, it just isn’t that simple. They keep trying, but each month the eagerly expected missed period just does not happen. However, if this is your situation, before you start thinking about spending a fortune on IVF treatment, be sure you’ve tried for a baby at the optimum time. It’s all about numbers – once you have calculated the exact fertility window of opportunity you have each month, your chances of conceiving naturally will be significantly boosted. M Doing some simple maths to work out your most fertile time of the month could help you become a parent, without going down the IVF route you are still ovulating 14 days before your next expected period, so you are most fertile 14 days before your next period is due. This means that you’re ovulating, and most fertile, on day 17 of your 31-day cycle – 17 days since the start of your last period. Millions of sperm are released during the male ejaculation, and because they don’t know which fallopian tube contains the egg, they travel up both in the hope of finding the ovum fertilising it – hopefully producing a fertilised egg, which then becomes embedded into the wall of your uterus. From this fertilised embryo, the foetus will start to develop into a baby that then grows and enters the world nine months later. So you can see, it’s not such a simple procedure, and it is made even more complicated if your periods are irregular. THE REGULAR EVEN LONGER MENSTRUAL CYCLE Now just to test your understanding of this calculation, let’s look at a woman who has regular periods, which only occur every 35 days. Subtract 14 from 35 and you can see she will be ovulating on day 21 of her cycle – 21 days since the start of her last period. HAVING SEX YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE The first thing you must establish is how long your menstrual cycle is. Some women have a regular 28-day cycle; others have a longer cycle with periods every 31-35 days, say; while others have a totally irregular cycle, not knowing when their next period is due and therefore not knowing for sure when they are ovulating. You are at your most fertile during the time between two days before ovulation and two days after. Not capitalising on this window of opportunity can be a major cause of infertility. So it’s important to calculate when you are ovulating. THE 28-DAY REGULAR CYCLE You may have a regular menstrual cycle, with a period every 28 days, month in and month out. If so, good news, as it means that you are ovulating at a set time every month. All women ovulate 14 days before the start of their next period. If you have a regular 28-day cycle, this means ovulation is also exactly 14 days after the start of your last menstrual period – making it easy to calculate. THE REGULAR LONGER MENSTRUAL CYCLE Let’s say your periods occur regularly but are starting around every 31 days. In this case, Once you have worked out when you will be ovulating – either by using calculations or by using a few ovulation predictor kits – you need to concentrate on getting those sperm This is a trickier situation because if you to find the one egg released each month! have no idea of when your next period is You should aim to be having sex every due, then you have no way of calculating day, two days before you ovulate, the day when you will be ovulating. Try ovulation of ovulation and two days after. This period home testing kits, which are available in is what is known as the fertility window. most good pharmacies. After sex, don’t get up and go to the toilet, The process of ovulation is controlled as this could cause a lot of seminal fluid by hormones, most notably one called containing millions of sperm to leak luteinising hormone (LH), which out of the vagina. You don’t want this can be detected in the urine. DID YOU to happen as you need as many Levels of LH generally increase KNOW? SPERM NEED 12 viable, active, mobile sperm as about 24 to 36 hours before HOURS IN YOUR possible to make it through your ovulation and home-ovulation UTERUS FOR cervix and up into your uterus and testing kits can accurately CONCEPTION fallopian tubes to fertilise that detect this surge. single egg that is waiting patiently. You will need to test yourself over several days and therefore you may have to buy two or three kits to try PROBLEM SPOTS and find out exactly when you are ovulating. If you still have acne (teenage spots) in your mid 20s, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or polycycstic ovaries. PCOS THE OVULATION PROCESS produces symptoms in approximately 5-10% When you ovulate, you are releasing an egg of women of reproductive age (12–45 years old) from one of your ovaries. This egg then which includes acne but also excess body hair, migrates down one of your fallopian tubes irregular periods and – most importantly to be available for fertilisation by any sperm – infertility. So if you have problems becoming swimming upwards through your cervix pregnant and have acne or excess body hair, (neck of the womb) and into the cavity of you need to have an ultrasound scan of your your uterus (the womb itself). Some sperm ovaries to see if you have the condition. Talk will swim into the one fallopian tube which to your GP about this as soon as possible. contains the released ovum or egg. THE TOTALLY IRREGULAR MENSTRUAL CYCLE 110 | MARCH 2012 WORDS: Lisa Manning | PHOTOGRAPH: Getty Images

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AT Home with Christian Jessen - March 2011

EDITOR'S LETTER
A WARM WELCOME FROM DR CHRISTIAN
NEWS
SAVE THE DATE
DEFENSIVE EATING
SLEEPING BEAUTY
SPOIL YOURSELF
FAMOUS FIGURES
WIN TOP PRIZES
DR JESSEN, I PRESUME
FEEL-GOOD FACTOR
A BEAUTIFUL MIND
PROTECT YOURSELF
GETTING OVER IT
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
WHAT LIES BENEATH
SUGAR HIGHS AND LOWS
WHAT'S UP, DOC?
ON THE RUN
SMOKING GUN
FRESHLY GROUND
I CAN'T EAT THAT
OFF THE SCALES
WALKING TALL
IN GOOD HANDS?
GIRLS ONLY
IN THE BLOOD
PERIOD PROPERTIES
FERTILITY HELP
A WEE ISSUE
UNDER YOUR HAT
CONFESSIONS OF AN ALCOHOLIC
DANGER ZONE
BODY BASICS
HEART-STOPPING MOMENTS
BACK TO BASICS
WALKING ON SUNSHINE
THE SKIN YOU LIVE IN
LISTEN UP
EYESORE
IN PLAIN SIGHT
DOWN UNDER
BUMP 'N GRIND
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX
MAN TALK
DO YOU KNOW YOUR BMI?
I'LL HAVE A 'P' PLEASE
BOYS DON'T CRY
TO THE EXTREME
THREE-DAY SLIM DOWN
TOTALLY ADDICTED TO CAKE
JUST A PINCH
GYM JAMS
THEY'RE DOING WHAT?
GOTTA HAVE IT
EYES WIDE SHUT
PETER PAN PLAN
HOW OLD?
HOW OLD?
FUZZ FREE
FUZZ FREE
CUT HERE
CUT HERE
ON THE MEND
ON THE MEND
KNOW YOUR NIP/TUCKS
KNOW YOUR NIP/TUCKS
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
STAY SAFE ABROAD
STAY SAFE ABROAD
SAY CHEESE!
SAY CHEESE!
IVORY TOWER
IVORY TOWER
MOUTH MAYHEM
MOUTH MAYHEM
COMING SOON
COMING SOON
LIGHTEN UP
LIGHTEN UP
COULD YOU BE A GUINEA PIG?
COULD YOU BE A GUINEA PIG?
HEADS UP
HEADS UP
LAST WORD
LAST WORD
STOCKISTS
STOCKISTS

AT Home with Christian Jessen - March 2011

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