Know Your Body

Science-backed articles about women's health, fertility, sex, periods, and more.
Black uterus animaed picture
FertilityCan a Tilted Uterus Cause Infertility?A tilted or retroverted uterus, which tips backward toward the spine instead of forward, may develop in any woman over time. One in four women has a tilted uterus. Some women are born with a tilted uterus, meaning they have a genetically inherited condition, or the ligaments which surround the uterus may slacken as you age, allowing the uterus to tilt backward. Sometimes scarring from pelvic surgery may affect the position of the uterus, pulling it into a backward slant. Menopause may cause the uterus to tilt when the normal uterine hormones stop and the pelvic muscles weaken. A similar tilting effect is caused by uterine fibroids. Childbirth also weakens the pelvic muscles and a cesarean birth may interfere with the muscle functioning, resulting in a tilted uterus. Endometriosis, or the growth of uterine tissue, may cause it too. The normal position of the uterus is that it leans forward toward your navel. The tilted uterus leans back toward your bladder and your spine. In some women, this may cause urinary tract infections, because the pressure of the uterus on the bladder may prevent it from being emptied properly. Another side effect is urinary incontinence. However, a tilted uterus doesn't have a negative effect on fertility and conception or the health of the growing baby. How a Tilted Uterus Affects Pregnancy It's safe and normal for a baby to develop in a tilted uterus, and it won't be harmed by the position of the uterus. Once you have conceived, a tilted uterus carries the pregnancy safely, and by the third month, the uterus starts to gravitate forward with the weight of the embryo. This brings it into a more normal position so that the baby develops normally and there's less pressure on the spine and bladder of the mother. The baby can be carried in a tilted uterus with no bad effect until birth. Getting pregnant will not be affected by a tilted uterus. However, sex in certain positions may be painful, because the cervix is in a different position and may be bumped. If there's deep thrusting, this may be uncomfortable. This will affect the ease of sexual activity. How a Tilted Uterus Affects Fertility A tilted uterus doesn't affect fertility. How a Tilted Uterus Affects Period Your menstrual cycle is not affected by a tilted uterus. The only effect of this position of the uterus on your period is that it may cause you to have more pain and discomfort at this time. It may also be more difficult to insert a tampon due to the different position of the cervix. It may feel as if the tampon is nudging the cervix, which can be very uncomfortable. Exercises to Fix a Tilted Uterus There are exercises you can do to work on the tilted uterus and try to get it back to a normal position. The exercises may strengthen the ligaments and orient the uterus to a more normal position. The following exercises are most helpful - have a look at photographs of yoga positions to see the cat, camel, and plank positions: Lying on your back on the floor, with knees bent, practice curving the hollow of your back up and away from the floor, then flattening it. In the same position, press down with your feet on the floor, and press down with your shoulders, lifting your buttocks off the floor to make a bridge with your bent legs. This bridge of the gluteal muscles can be extended to make a bridge of your back. In that case, you try to lift your whole back so that just your head is resting on the floor, and your legs are doing the work of the bridge.Lying on a cushion, do elevated hip thrusts.The cat stretch, alternating with the camel stretch (yoga positions).Reverse plank, making a table of your torso and thighs, facing upward; and the plank, in which you rest your forearms and toes on the floor and raise your body into a straight line, with legs straight and toes digging into the ground for traction. Your overall health and strength, and regular periods are good signs of high fertility, and having a tilted uterus is not an obstacle.
Smiling woman holding up an ovulation test
FertilityHow Long After a Positive OPK Will You Ovulate?If you're using an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) at home, you want to be sure about what to expect from it. The OPK tests your urine for luteinizing hormone (LH), which is released in an extra surge by your body as a trigger to ovulation. How to Use an OPK at Home Luteinizing hormone is always present in your body and supports your fertility. Start to use the test when you anticipate you might be entering the ovulation stage in your menstrual cycle. This would be after your period ends and before you reach mid-cycle (between day 7 and day 15). Use the test by following these steps: Urinate in a small cup.Dip the test stick into the urine, or hold the stick under the stream of your urine. The best time to take the ovulation test is in the morning (the first time you pass urine) so that the hormone is not too diluted by a large volume of liquid.Wait a few minutes for the test to take effect on the stick.Check the two lines which show on the stick. The control line shows you've done the test. The other line, the test line or ovulation indicator, shows the presence of LH.The result is positive when the test line is darker than the control line. Therefore, you will ovulate within the next three days. However, the test line showing LH is not as sensitive and definite as it could be. You might see a line that is dark at the edges or just dark on the top. Ideally, the indicator line on the ovulation text should not be faint, but dark and solid to give you a clear idea that an ovum is about to be released. Women who are anovulatory may use an OPK to track results after inducing ovulation. How Long You’ll Ovulate For After a Positive OPK The day of ovulation varies for individual women, depending on the pattern of their menstrual cycles. Some women have shorter cycles, some ovulate later than others. Your ovulatory phase is indicated by increased cervical mucus, a rise in body temperature, sensitive breasts, increased libido, and possibly low abdominal pain. But the positive OPK test result is helpful because it shows that your ovulation is about to happen within the next three days - or it might be happening at that instant. When you ovulate, the ovum (egg) is released from the follicle of the ovary in a burst, moving towards the end of the fallopian tube. This is the ideal territory—and time—for it to be fertilized by healthy sperm. The ovum only lives for 12-24 hours and starts to disintegrate after that, moving into the uterus and passing out of your body. The test is meant to detect the hormone before you ovulate, so that you can use your fertile days for conception. Ovulating The Same Day As a Positive OPK: Is It Possible? It is possible to ovulate on the same day as a positive OPK, but beware of assuming this is always the case. A positive OPK only tells you that your body is releasing a high level of LH. However, infertility may also be indicated by a high LH level, for example polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In rare cases, the surge does not indicate you have ovulated. Usually, the surge in LH only lasts eight to 20 hours, after which you may ovulate. On the other hand, some women do ovulate on the same day as the LH surge, so it is possible to ovulate on the same day as the positive OPK. How Long Do LH Levels Stay High During Ovulation? The level of LH only stays high for eight to 20 hours. It's promoting ovulation, that's really its only function. The level decreases after the ovulation phase. The Best Time to Have Sex After a Positive OPK Your positive OPK result shows that you have entered the window period of fertility. Three to six days leading up to ovulation, including the ovulation day itself, is the best time for getting pregnant. Sperm live for up to five days, so even when you have sex at the first indication of a positive test, the sperm will still be active if you ovulate three days after that. It's best to have sex once a day during this fertile phase, and preferably in the morning when the cooler conditions produce the healthiest sperm. By using an OPK test, which predicts ovulation with 97% accuracy, you have a good indicator of your ovulation. This knowledge of your fertile window helps you plan to conceive.