How to Increase Ovulation Naturally: 5 Ways to Improve Your Odds
Uncertainty. When you’re experiencing fertility problems, it can feel like you’re being consumed by it. Not knowing if you’re pregnant. Not knowing if you “tried” at precisely the right time. Not knowing if there’s an underlying reason you haven’t conceived or if it’s just the luck of the draw.
It’s a daunting experience. One you can only understand if you’ve spent day after day wondering, looking for signs, and growing hopeful — only to be disappointed when you don’t get a positive result. If you’re going through this complicated cycle, you’re probably wishing for something to provide hope and reassurance.
We understand how frustrating and lonely this experience can be. While there’s no guaranteed method, there are ways to increase ovulation naturally and to improve the odds of a successful pregnancy. Keep scrolling to learn more about the steps you can take to restore your confidence, break free of uncertainty, and feel more in control of your journey.
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
Before we discuss how to stimulate ovulation naturally, it helps to have a clear understanding of the menstrual cycle, its various phases, and how they each impact your body and fertility levels.
The most important thing you’ll want to remember is that the menstrual cycle consists of four distinct phases, and that your likelihood of becoming pregnant varies depending on which phase you’re in.
Let’s take a look at each phase and how it impacts your body:
Menstrual Phase (Day 1-7)
The first day of your period marks “Day 1” of your menstrual cycle. During this time period, your uterus sheds its lining, causing you to bleed. It’s also when your levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, making you more prone to acne, fatigue, and moodiness. But don’t worry, those symptoms will lessen as you near the end of your menses.
Follicular Phases (Day 1-14)
The follicular phase actually overlaps with your period, but its fullest effects are felt during the time between when your period ends and when you ovulate. This is when your pituitary gland begins secreting follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), signaling to your ovaries that it’s time to start preparing to release a new egg. You also produce more luteinizing hormone (LH), which can contribute to higher energy levels and an increased sex drive.
Ovulation Phase (Day 12-14)
Your LH, testosterone, and estrogen levels peak just before ovulation, making you feel more extroverted, outgoing, and confident. You’re most fertile during the two days before ovulation and your ovulation date, giving you approximately a 3-day window for conception. We must also factor in, however, that sperm can survive in the uterus for up to five days, which can extend your fertility window. The female egg, however, only lasts 12-24 hours after it’s been released, so if you have sex two days after ovulation it’s much less likely you’ll conceive.
Luteal Phase (Day 15-28)
The luteal phase begins after the egg has been released from the ovary and starts to travel through the fallopian tube, towards the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, your progesterone levels will drop significantly (informing your body it has to prepare to shed the uterine layer). This drop can trigger feelings of anxiety, sadness, and fatigue in those who are sensitive to this hormonal change.
Note: The above timeline is based on a 28-day menstrual cycle. If you have a shorter or longer cycle, it’s best to track both your ovulations and periods for a minimum of three months to determine the average length of your cycle.
How to Increase Ovulation Naturally
Now that we’ve covered each phase of the menstrual cycle, we can explore the best ways to increase ovulation without invasive procedures or medical interventions. Many individuals find the all-natural therapies listed below to be extremely helpful and empowering while navigating their fertility journey, as they provide an intermediate step before considering more intensive measures (like IVF or IUI).
Here are the natural methods we recommend to help you increase your odds:
Ovulation support supplements are specifically formulated to support your body’s natural reproductive processes. If you’ve been wondering how to boost ovulation naturally, a well-balanced fertility supplement is one of the most effective solutions available.
Look for ingredients like folic acid, which supports healthy egg development, and zinc, which helps regulate the menstrual cycle. Vitamin D is another important must-have if you’re trying to conceive, as it promotes the absorption of all nutrients in the body and helps to maintain balanced hormonal levels.
Just be sure to consult with your healthcare provider prior to adding supplements to your daily health and wellness routine. A professional can provide insight into how to increase ovulation naturally and help you make informed decisions based on your medical history and greater wellness goals.
Eat Foods High in Antioxidants
During this time, it’s important to eat foods to induce ovulation naturally. Antioxidants are believed to support both egg and sperm health. They do this by counteracting free radicals in the body (which can be harmful to your reproductive processes), enhancing overall blood flow, and increasing sperm density.
Foods that are high in antioxidants include cranberries, peaches, blueberries, green tea, nuts, and dark chocolate.
If you don’t typically eat these foods, or if it’s difficult to incorporate them into your daily diet for any reason, adding a CoQ10 supplement to your diet is a highly beneficial alternative. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that humans produce naturally. Its primary role is to promote energy production, but studies also indicate it supports ovarian sensitivity to stimulation. We recommend giving it a try if you’ve been wondering what helps you ovulate naturally.
Inactivity is one of the biggest barriers to conception for both sexes. For women, a lack of physical activity hinders blood flow and diminishes hormonal balance. Multiple studies have shown that physical activity regulates menstrual cycles, making it more likely a woman will conceive. For men, regular exercise has been shown to increase sperm count by 73 per cent, as well as improve the performance of sperm during the fertilization process.
Statistics like these confirm the critical importance of regular physical activity for those curious about how to force ovulation naturally. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough to significantly improve reproductive health.
More specifically, low-to-moderate impact exercises are highly recommended for those trying to conceive. Walking, swimming, yoga, and cycling are a few examples of activities that improve blood circulation without putting too much stress on the body.
Ensure Sufficient Iron Levels
Low iron levels can lead to a medical condition called anemia, which impacts the menstrual cycle, making it less predictable and therefore reducing the likelihood of conception. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, iron levels that are lower than usual can cause disruptions to your reproductive system.
Iron plays a role in transporting oxygen throughout the body, including the ovaries, where it’s needed to maintain healthy follicular development. Without adequate levels of iron the ovaries may not release an egg at all or, if they do, the quality of the egg may be compromised. Studies have shown that taking iron supplements and consuming iron from other sources like food can decrease a woman’s risk of ovulatory infertility.
Ask your healthcare provider for a blood test to determine your iron levels. If they are below the normal value range, adding an iron supplement to your daily routine is advised. You can also try eating more iron-rich foods like kidney beans, lentils, kale, quinoa, and fish.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Understanding the negative impacts drugs and alcohol can have on the body is an important part of learning how to increase ovulation naturally. The first thing to know is that alcohol consumption (especially in excess) has been linked to higher levels of estradiol, testosterone and LH in both men and women, although women tend to experience the most drastic increases. These hormonal fluctuations can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycles in women trying to conceive, and lower sperm production in men.
If you are hoping to conceive, most reproductive health experts recommend abstaining from alcohol completely, as studies show that even moderate consumption of 3-6 drinks per week can lower your chances of pregnancy by as much as 44 per cent.
How to Set Your Fertility Window Around Ovulation
Now that we’ve covered how to naturally ovulate, let’s discuss how to maximize your chances of conception by strategically timing intercourse.
Determine Your Cycle Length
As mentioned above, knowing your typical cycle length is essential for identifying your fertility window. The normal healthy range is anywhere between 21-35 days. If your cycle tends to be longer or shorter, it could be a sign of underlying health conditions that need to be addressed.
It’s also important to note that it’s normal for your cycle to vary slightly. Stress, medications, diet, and even jet lag can all impact the length of your cycle. This is why it’s important to track your cycle for 3-6 months to determine your average length.
Use Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
While cycle tracking apps can estimate when ovulation will occur, they aren’t the most effective method. The surest way to find out when you’re ovulating is to use ovulation predictor kits. They are very similar to pregnancy tests, but they detect the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) within your body. When LH is high, you are about to ovulate (within 24-36 hours) and are therefore most likely to conceive.
Pay Attention to Physical Changes
Your body can tell you a lot about your chances of conception if you know what signs to look for. Cervical mucus, in particular, can strongly indicate ovulation. If you notice mucus is clear and sticky, with a consistency similar to egg whites, you’re likely ovulating. You may also experience a sharp increase in libido, light cramping, and breast tenderness.
Track Your Basal Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature (BBT) increases slightly during ovulation. Many women find it helpful to track their BBT when trying to conceive. To do so, you’ll want to use a basal thermometer first thing in the morning when your body is completely at rest (as exercise, weather, and other factors can impact your reading). Be sure to plot your temperatures throughout your menstrual cycles for a more accurate account of your body’s fluctuations. Soon you’ll notice a slight increase around the middle of each month, signaling ovulation.
Plan to Have Intercourse Prior to Ovulation
Because sperm can survive in the uterus for up to 5 days and an egg can only last 12-24 hours after being released, the best approach is to have intercourse every other day in the week leading up to ovulation. This will ensure sperm are ready and waiting to fertilize once it travels to the uterus. Studies show the chances of getting pregnant are highest during the 2-3 days leading up to ovulation, when there’s a 20-30 per cent likelihood.
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