Mittelschmerz and Ovulation Pain – OH! The Pain!

Ovulation Pain - MittelschmerzMost women are fully aware that their period can come with pain and cramping, but what about the cramping (mittelschmerz)  that occurs during the middle of your cycle, around the time of ovulation?

About 1 in 5 women will experience ovulation related cramping, mittelschmerz, about two weeks before their period is due to start. For most women, this condition is associated with a sharp pain that diminishes into a dull ache.


Mittelschmerz – What It Means

The word, mittelschmerz, is German in origin and literally means:

Mittle = Middle or Medium
Schmerz = Pain

It is a very accurate description of what is going on for some women – pain in the middle of your menstrual cycle.


What is Mittelschmerz and What Causes It

Mittelschmerz is pain or cramping, either dull or sharp, that you feel around the time you ovulate.

The exact cause of ovulation related cramping and pain isn’t fully known. Typically, people assumed that you feel the pain when ovulation actually occurs and your egg breaks out of the follicle.  Minor leakage of blood from the ovary during ovulation might cause mittelschmerz to occur.  It is believed that when it does leak, it irritates the abdominal wall or nearby nerves and causes the painful ovulation. Depending upon your unique pain threshold and the amount of blood that does leak, mittelschmerz might affect you differently than others.

The University of Melbourne conducted a study that presented another possible cause of the ovulation pain. The research suggests that the majority women feel the pain before they actually ovulate. The pain seems to be associated with the the lutenizing hormone (LH) peaking and causing ovarian muscle to contract.


Recognizing Mittelschmerz (Ovulation Related Cramping)

  • Timing – If you are going to feel mittelschmerz, it will typically happen about 14 days before your period is due to arrive. This pain may last for a couple of hours or as long as a couple of days.
  • Location – Ovulation cramping is usually felt on one side of your body, near the hip bone. If you have ovulation pain every month, the side may vary depending on which ovary is releasing the egg that month.
  • What it Feels Like: The way women feel the pain varies. It could feel like uncomfortable pressure, twinges, sharp pains or cramps. If you are feeling cramps, they will feel different from menstrual cramps. This is because the location the cramping is different. When you have period cramps, your whole uterus is a player in the pain, but where mittelschmerz is concerned, the cramping will be located off to one side, where the ovary is located.


Mittelschmerz as an Ovulation Sign

If you are actively trying to get pregnant, you know that the best time to get pregnant is around when you ovulate. Besides the normal signs of fertility, like egg white cervical mucus, mittelschmerz is a major ovulation indicator. If the pain isn’t too bad, you might want to let your significant other know what is going on. Timing wise, now would be the best time to have sex if you are trying to get pregnant.



What Can I Do to Relieve Ovulation Pain?

No specific treatment is usually required for ovulation pain as this only occurs for a short time. If it isn’t over quickly, and the pain lingers,  there are ways to make this time of your monthly cycle much easier. Take plenty of time to rest until the pain is gone, taking warm (not hot) baths to feel relaxed, and drink plenty of fluids to keep you properly hydrated.  You can try anything that you usually use when you have period cramps.

For women with severe ovulation pain, over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen or aspirin, and a heating pad applied over the abdomen will usually provide relief from the pain. You can also try pain relievers that are marketed for menstrual pain such as Midol.

However, if the pain becomes severe and intolerable and pregnancy is not something you want to achieve for now, then oral contraceptives can be prescribed by a physician.  This can help stop ovulation and the resulting monthly mid cycle pain.



When Should I Be Concerned?

For most women, ovulation pain and cramping is not a sign of a serious problem.
There are a number of things that can cause ovulation pain. It could be caused by the ovary cramping, or a ruptured or emerging follicle.   If the cause of the pain was the follicle rupturing, you may end up seeing a bit of ovulation bleeding.


When to Contact Your Doctor


  • If you are super concerned about the pain. Seriously, doctors are there to support you. If you are concerned, get checked out.
  • Pain is lasting longer than 24 – 48 hours.
  • You are in so much pain that it is impossible to cope.
  • If spotting is too heavy to qualify as spotting.
  • Having sex causes too much pain to bear.

Endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or even appendicitis can also cause ovulation pain.  If you have pain every month during ovulation, you should talk to your doctor. It may be indicative of another medical problem, which can often be treated. Your doctor can do an exam, use blood tests, ultrasounds and more to help diagnose what exactly is going on.

Talking to your doctor will help get to the root cause of the cramping around the time you ovulate.   If there is a fertility related condition going on,  your doctor will have the necessary tools to address it.

Tips to Improve Sperm Count, Motility and Morphology

Healthy Sperm


When you are trying to get pregnant, women bring their eggs to the party and the men, the sperm. Having healthy sperm will increase the chances for you actually getting pregnant.

What is “Healthy” Sperm?

There are many different components that add up to “healthy sperm”. Good sperm count, healthy forward movement, and well formed sperm are three of the main ones. With the exception of a home sperm count test, there is very little you can do to figure out the baby making potential of your sperm without the help of a doctor. A semen analysis done by your doctor will provide the scientific details about these important sperm issues.

  • Healthy Sperm Count   A conception friendly sperm count would be at least 15 million sperm per milliliter of ejaculate. Of course, the higher the count the better when you are trying to get pregnant. If you have fewer than this amount, you could have difficulties getting pregnant. It’s not impossible, but you might need to have a doctor’s help to facilitate pregnancy.

  • Healthy Sperm Motility   Motility is how the sperm moves within the semen and in the woman’s body. Healthy sperm know which way to move. Limited forward motion makes it very difficult for the sperm to get to the egg to fertilize it.  Healthy normal sperm motility is when 40% or more of the sperm, in a semen analysis, are showing the forward movement.  The Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago has an interesting video that shows you how sperm count and motility determine during a semen analysis.Sperm Count and Molity

  • Sperm Morphology   This particular criteria is a bit odd because the percentage of normally formed sperm only has to be 3% in order to be considered “normal”.   Of course, the higher the percentage the better if your goal is fertilizing your partner’s eggs. If you have normal sperm count and motility, a 3% morphology result might not make that big of a difference in your fertility.

The majority of fertility treatments focus on improving the woman’s fertility. This is unfortunate, since half of all fertility problems couples experience have to do with male fertility. Many men are hesitant, for whatever reason, to undergo medical testing to determine whether male infertility factors into a couple’s infertility. Even if a man doesn’t want to undergo fertility testing (and treatment, if appropriate), there are a number of things he either stop or start doing that will positively impact the quality of his sperm.

4 Things That Can Hurt Sperm Health


  1. Hot Testicles – Tight pants and brief style underwear can contribute to lower sperm count. The testes need a cooler environment in order to create new sperm. Ideally, a temperatures 3 or 4 degrees below what the rest of the body will allow the testes to do what they are made for – healthy sperm production.

  3. Smoking – Both cigarettes and marijuana have been studied where sperm health is concerned and the results are not promising. Cigarette smokers increase their chances of having lower sperm count and motility than non smokers and ultimately can damage their sperm on a genetic level. If you are a pot smoker, you risk having significantly lower seminal fluid, a decreased sperm count and the sperm behave abnormally. Moral of the story, stop smoking, of all types, before you attempt to get pregnant. Your sperm can return to normal health in about 3 months once you stop smoking.

  5. Weighty Issues – Both being overweight and underweight can adversely affect your sperm health. Being underweight has been shown to contribute to a lower than normal sperm count, whereas excess body fat affects a man’s reproductive hormones. This in turn lowers his sperm count. It can also lead to higher percentages of abnormal sperm. Dropping a few pounds, if you are overweight, can go a long way towards improving sperm quality and increasing your chances of conceiving.

  7. Unhealthy Eating Habits – This goes hand in had with the item listed above. Unhealthy eating can contribute to weight issues and adversely affect your sperm health at the same time. Processed meats like hot dogs, lunch meat and bacon have fewer normally formed sperm as compared to men who made healthier food choices. Milk does your body good, right? Well, sometimes. A 2013 study in Human Reproduction has shown that the intake of full fat dairy like cheeses and whole milk actually can lower sperm motility and morphology. Drinking low fat milk, on the other hand, was shown to have a positive effect on sperm health with higher sperm concentration and progressive motility.


4 Things That Can Improve Sperm Health


  1. Get Moving.Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week has a positive effect on, not only overall health, but also on reproductive health. Men who exercise about 7 hours a week have a 48 percent higher sperm count than their sedentary, TV watching, counterparts, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

  3. Take Fertility Supplements.Let’s be honest here. In an ideal world, we would all be eating exactly what we needed to be totally healthy.  In real life, this isn’t always possible.  Adding  supplements lets us get the nutrients we need. Fertilaid for Men is an awesome supplement that is formulated to improve overall male fertility issues. You can also add a boost of ingredients that are forumlated to improve sperm count or targeted towards improving overall sperm motility.

  5. Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Quality Sleep.A recent study has shown that people who don’t sleep well or have sleep apnea can have a decreased sperm count and motility. If you have difficulty sleeping, and are trying to get pregnant, it might be time to schedule a sleep study to find out what is going on.  Improving your quality of sleep may, in turn, increase your chances of getting pregnant.

  7. Eat Your Veggies.Scientific research has discovered that beta-carotene, Lycopene and carotenoids (aka antioxidants) can help improve sperm morphology and motility.  The veggies that you should routinely  add to your meals include carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes.


Conceiving a Baby Boy – Tips to Increase Your Odds

Ways to increase your chances of having a baby boy.


Whether this is your first baby or your third, you may have your heart set on having a baby boy.  Most of the time, you will have a 50 / 50 chance of that happening.   If you follow some of the suggestions below, you may be able to boost the possibility of having a boy beyond the 50% mark.

How Your Baby’s Gender is Determined

The sex of your baby is determine by the chromosomes  from his mother (her egg) and father (his sperm). The mother’s genetic contribution is a 2 X chromosomes (XX). The father supplies an X chromosome and a Y chromosome.

In order for you to have a baby boy,  the mother supplies a X chromosome and the father donates one of his x chromosomes. Male children will typically have the same chromosome pair as his father, XX   All this happens automatically and you usually don’t have much control in how the chromosomes combine.



If you only have two possible genders that are available, statistically, your chance of having a boy is 50%, sort of like a coin toss.   Depending on how much money you have, your choices would be a bit limited.  You significantly raise your chances of conceiving a baby of your gender preference, but the path will not be cheap or easy and involves many fertility specialists.    We will cover those options below, but will start with the most common and least expensive ways you can try to influence the gender of your baby to be.


Understanding the Shettles Method for Gender Selection

For over two decades, countless couples have relied upon the Shettles Method to influence the sex of their baby. When used properly, the Shettles method claims a success rate between 75 and 90 percent in conceiving the desired gender.

Throughout his book, Dr. Landrum Shettles gives couples techniques to promote the conception of a boy. While the basic outline of the method is below, Dr. Shettles’ book is much more thorough.

The Shettles Method is premised on the idea that boy sperm are smaller in size and less robust but are quicker than girl sperm. (The premise that the male sperm are faster has been refuted by the medical community since Shettles published his work.) The recommendations below derive from Shettles’ understanding.


Timing Sex Close to Ovulation

There are three primary ways to time your ovulation properly, including:

  1. Cervical Mucus Charting

    Charting cervical mucus daily is essential to track ovulation. Prior to ovulating, cervical mucus will be elastic and much more watery than usual, resembling raw egg whites. You should chart your cervical mucus for more than a month to increase your chances of predicting ovulation properly.

  2. Charting Your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

    When used in conjunction with charting your cervical mucus, you can greatly increase your chances of having a boy. To chart your BBT, you need a basal thermometer. You will use this thermometer each morning directly after waking up and prior to doing anything else. Your body temperature will increase after ovulation. Because you’re looking to know when ovulation occurs, it’s important to chart this for a few months before you begin trying to get pregnant. This will help you determine the right times to have intercourse.

  3. Ovulation Predictor Kits

    One final way pinpoint when you will ovulate is by using ovulation predictor kits. The kits are designed to measure when luteinizing hormone, or LH, has been released. This is important because it shows you when ovulation is about to occur. Testing should ideally occur twice daily to best determine the time that this occurs. The best times to test are once between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and once between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Once you get a positive result, ovulation will occur about 24- 36  hours later.


Timing Intercourse and its Frequency

As was mentioned above, the best time to have intercourse if you want a baby boy is no more than 24 hours before ovulation and no later than 12 hours after ovulation has occurred. Boy sperm will reach the egg more quickly near ovulation because the cervical mucus becomes slippery and less acidic, providing a favorable environment for the boy sperm’s survival.


Whelan Method for Gender Prediction

In her book, Boy Or Girl?, Dr. Whelan suggests that you have sex 4 to 6 days before you ovulate, in order to conceive a male baby. In order to determine when you will be ovulating, she suggests that you chart your BBT temperatures for several months before trying to conceive. The data collected during this time will help you pinpoint when your temperature typically rises about .5 degree – an indication of when you have actually ovulated. Once you know when you are ovulating, you can calculate backwards to help you have sex at the appropriate time to have sex to get pregnant with a boy.

For both the Shettles method and Dr. Whelan’s method, reading the books so you understand the steps involved in order to conceive a child of the desired sex.

Keep in mind, that these methods are not guaranteeing that you will have a boy. Dr Shettles method claims a 80-90% success rate and Whelan’s method has a claimed success rate of 65% when trying to conceive a boy baby. All the methods appear to do is increase your chances of having a boy so try the one that seems the best to you.

Other Gender Selection Tools

You can also try other methods to increase your chances beyond the 50% average that is normally there. They have the same sort of success rate as the books above, but they give you more alternatives to try and sway the gender game in your favor.

Chinese Gender Chart

This chart is supposedly an ancient chinese way of helping you have the baby of your preferred gender. The chart is rumored to have been found in a Chinese tomb over 700 years ago. The Labor of Love has two versions of this chart that you can try. Based on the polling of the people who tried them out, the average accuracy rate is about 65%.

Using an Ovulation Calendar

Babyhopes has a free ovulation calculator that provides guidelines as to when to have sex if you are trying to have a boy. You will need to know how long your cycles are and when your last period arrived in order to use this effectively.

The Big “O” – Orgasm

Orgasms during intercourse should be embraced when trying to conceive a boy because the vaginal environment will become more alkaline following the orgasm, a fact that is favorable to the boy sperm. Additionally, an orgasm will help the boy sperm move up into the cervix and toward the ovum.


Conceiving a Boy Can Have a High Success Rate – For a High Cost

If you are undergoing infertility treatments which include an IUI or IVF, you can possibly also add  preimplantation genetic testing of the embryos. This testing typically checks for chromosomal and genetic disorders but the sex of the embryos can also be determined.  Depending on your doctor and clinic, you may be able to say that you only want male embryos transferred.   This genetic testing is almost 100% accurate in determining the gender. Due to ethical reasons, you may have to really shop around to find a practice that is okay with this.

There are a couple of potential issues with using these procedures to make sure you have a baby boy. Cost is a big barrier for most people.  The cost for the IVF with the added genetic testing can run upwards of $20,000.  In addition to the cost, you will have to subject yourself to all sorts of poking and prodding.  In order to harvest your eggs for the procedure, you will have to take fertility drugs to get them ready.  The medications can have unpleasant side effect.  The egg retrieval can be painful as well.

In addition to these, you might have a problem finding doctors / practices that are willing to allow gender selection like this. Using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to select the gender of your baby is currently a very hot topic with supporters both for and against using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to select the gender of your baby.