When conception is concerned, timing is everything. In order for conception to occur, it is crucial that a couple have intercourse just prior to or during ovulation. There are several signals sent out by a woman's body that indicate that she is ready to conceive.
A Rise in Body Temperature can be used to Track Ovulation
A good indication of ovulation is basal body temperature (BBT). Just prior to ovulation a woman's body temperature drops. Just after ovulation has occurred, it begins to rise again as levels of progesterone increase. It is best to have intercourse on the day that body temperature drops or right before the time it usually begins to increase.
It is relatively simple to record basal body temperature. Before getting out of bed each morning, a woman should take her temperature four to five minutes using a BBT thermometer (available at the Tulsa Center for Fertility). Each day she should plot the cycle making notes of any significant events such as illness, intercourse, or a sleepless night.
Cervical Mucus Changes
During most of the month cervical mucus is thick and cloudy. Usually nine to ten days into the menstrual cycle, the mucus increases and becomes clear and stretchy. This change signals the onset of ovulation. It is best to have sexual intercourse within one or two days after the change is observed and at least every other day until the mucus thickens again.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Surges
Because LH stimulates ovulation, a woman's body will experience a surge just prior to ovulating. Ovulation predictor kits can detect the surge and you will know that ovulation is about to occur. It is best to have sexual intercourse within one or two days after the LH surge.