Natural Fertility Signs
Because sperm can live in the body for up to five days, but an unfertilized egg dies after 24 hours, you increase the odds of having sperm and egg meet by having sex just prior to ovulation. But how do you know when you are ovulating?
If your periods are very regular, and come consistently anywhere from 21 to 35 days apart, you can also use our ovulation calculator to predict when you are fertile.
But by tracking the physical signs of fertility, you will get more exact results, even if your cycle varies slightly each month. You can track your fertility by charting your Basal Body Temperature (BBT), Cervical Fluid, and Cervical Position.
Basal Body Temperature
BBT is the temperature of your body before any activity—your body’s baseline temperature. Your BBT rises slightly on the day of ovulation and remains elevated until just before your next period starts. To track your BBT, take your temperature orally with a BBT thermometer (they sell for about $10 at any drug store) every morning before you get out of bed and chart the results. A BBT thermometer only registers temperatures between 96 to 100 degrees F. and can detect very slight changes in your temperature. Most women have a BBT of 96 to 98 degrees normally before ovulation and 97 to 99 after ovulation.
Cervical fluid, sometimes called cervical mucus, is produced by the lining of a woman’s cervical canal and varies in consistency, color, and amount based on where you are in your monthly cycle.
As you get closer to your time of ovulation, your cervical mucus will change in order to better permit the transfer of sperm into your cervix.
To get a good sample of your cervical mucus at any time, place your fingers (make sure they are clean) inside your vagina. When you pull your fingers out, examine the sample you’ve obtained, noting its consistency and color.
Immediately after menstruation, you will have several “dry days,” where there is very little fluid at all. What is there may be white or opaque and thick and sticky. As you approach mid-cycle, you will note more moistness, and the fluid will be thin, and possibly cloudy. If you hold some between your fingers, it will be slightly stretchy.
In the few days just before ovulation, which is when you are most fertile, your cervical fluid will be copious, thin and transparent. It will be very stretchy, almost the consistency of egg whites.
Just as your cervical fluid changes throughout your cycle, so does the position of your cervix in order to facilitate the transportation of the sperm and fertilization of the egg during your fertile time. Monitoring the position of your cervix is another way to track your ovulation times. Using these three methods combined will give you the most accurate results.
Begin by checking your cervical position at the end of your period, and check it daily until you reach your time of ovulation. You should do this at the same time each day, and in the same position each time. You can check your cervical position while sitting on the toilet, or it may be easier to place on foot on the toilet and keep one on the floor. Move your middle finger all the way up into your vagina until you hit your cervix, which will feel like a rounded cylinder.
At the beginning of your cycle, your cervix will be low and easier to reach. During ovulation, it will rise to a higher position, and may even be difficult to reach with your middle finger. It will drop back down to a place where it is easier to touch after you ovulate.
Author: Dawn Allcot
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