When you want to get pregnant, you need to try to have sex around the time that you ovulate. If you have irregular cycles, however, pinpointing the right time to have sex proves troublesome. Getting pregnant may take you longer than a woman with a regular cycle, but it is often still possible, though you may need some help from your doctor.
Ranges of Normal
Though the average woman’s cycle is 28 days, you shouldn’t assume that your cycle is irregular just because it’s shorter or longer than that. You could have a cycle that averages between 21 and 35 days and still consider yourself regular. Additionally, it’s normal to have a cycle be a day or two off. Your cycle is irregular if you miss periods or if you have a short cycle one month and a long cycle the next.
Are You Ovulating?
Some women who have irregular cycles are ovulating every cycle, some ovulate occasionally and others don’t ovulate at all. Determining whether you are actually ovulating will help you to determine the best course of action. Though it won’t help you predict ovulation if you have an irregular cycle, tracking your basal body temperature may be able to tell you that you are indeed ovulating — look for a sharp spike in your temperature, which signals that you ovulated the day before. Otherwise, your doctor may order a pelvic ultrasound to see what your ovaries look like.
You can increase your chances of getting pregnant by having frequent, regular sex. If possible, you should have sex every two or three days throughout your cycle when trying to get pregnant. Doing so means that there will almost always be sperm present in your vagina. Additionally, you can purchase ovulation test strips that can help you make predictions for when you’re going to ovulate. If you get a positive result on the strip, ovulation should occur within 36 hours.
If you are not ovulating, you will need medical intervention. Your doctor may prescribe a fertility drug like Clomid, which stimulates ovulation, allowing you to become pregnant. Another solution is in vitro fertilization, where a doctor fertilizes the egg outside of your womb, then implants the embryo. Both methods have an increased risk of multiple births.
Stress and Fertility
Your stress levels can affect both your fertility and your cycles. Unfortunately, fertility problems often increase your stress. Try to take some time to relax every day. If possible, a yoga or meditation class can help you relax.