Knowing your natural fertility signs can help you when it comes to conceiving. Many women are under the misconception that they can just get pregnant whenever they want, and although, most women can, for the rest of us, conception is but a dream. With conception, timing really is everything and in order to determine the correct timing to have sex you need to be able to identify your natural fertility signs. Learning your fertility signs can make all the difference when planning to become pregnant.
One of the best ways to determine whether you are fertile is to pay attention to your cervical mucus. Secreted by the cervix, your cervical mucus alters throughout your monthly cycle. Right after you have stopped menstruating, you will have a few days with no visible cervical mucus. From then until ovulation, your cervical mucus will change color and texture. It will go from being opaque and sticky, and then change to being translucent and slippery right before ovulation occurs. When your body is at its most fertile, you will find that your cervical fluid resembles raw egg whites and will stretch between two fingers. According to the American Pregnancy Association, cervical mucus can be one of the best indicators of fertility.
How to check your cervical mucus:
You can check your cervix in the follow ways:
- Use a piece of toilet paper and wipe the vaginal opening before urination
- Take note of any cervical mucus discharge that is evident on your underwear
- Take a sample of your cervical mucus by placing two clean fingers into your vagina
An important component to notice is the color of the cervical fluid. It should be white, creamy, opaque, or clear.
The first cervical mucus that you will experience in your cycle will be minimal and what you do notice will be thick and sticky. It will also be either white or opaque in color.
As your cycle progresses, you will experience increasing amounts of cervical mucus that is thin, cloudy and a little bit stretchy.
Just before ovulation occurs, your body will enter its high fertile stage. This is when your cervical mucus will be at its most; it will also be thin, transparent, and very stretchy. It will most likely resemble raw egg whites.
Checking your cervical position
Throughout your cycle, your cervix is continually changing its position. By monitoring these changes, you can better track your fertility. Start by checking your cervix when your period ends, and then try to check it every day at about the same time each day.
You can check the position of your cervix in many ways. You just have to find a position that is conformable for you. Once you have found a comfortable position, you should stick to it.
Many women have success while sitting on the toilet; others find that squatting or lifting one foot up onto the toilet or bathtub is better. Use one hand to hold back the vaginal lips and insert the middle finger on your other hand into your vagina. Keeping moving your finger up until you touch your cervix, it will resemble a rounded cylinder shaped mass within your body.
Next, notate the position you find it in. Is it high up, or lower down? Both in the beginning of your cycle and after ovulation, your cervix will be in a low position. However, just before and during ovulation, your cervix will rise to a higher position. It can be confusing at first to figure out what position is high and what is low. A good rule of thumb is that when you can barely reach your cervix with your fingertips, then you can consider your cervix being in the ‘high’ position.
Basal Body Temperature
A great way to monitor your fertility is to track your basal body temperature or BBT. This is your resting temperature, your body’s baseline temperature – the temperature of your body prior to doing any activity, including talking and walking. Therefore, it is important to take your temperature at the same time every morning before you get out of bed in order to get an accurate reading. During the first part of your cycle, your temperatures will be relatively low, but it will rise between 0.4 and 0.8 F on the day of ovulation. Your temperature should stay at an elevated level until right before your period starts, when it will drop suddenly. However, should conception have occurred, your temperature will stay elevated past your expected period start date.
It is also important to use a special basal thermometer. An oral temperature ranging from 96 to 98 is considered normal prior to ovulation, just as a temperature ranging between 97 to 99 degrees is normal after ovulation. However, your temperature changes by small fractions fluctuating between 1/10 to 1/2 of a degree. In order to best record these tiny fluctuations, you will need to use a basal thermometer, as they can be accurate within 1/10th of a degree.
Another, albeit painful, natural fertility sign is mittleschmerz, aka ovulation pain. Some women experience ovulation pain when their body is releasing an egg. This pain will be on the side that you are ovulating on. Many women can use this pain to correctly predict when they are ovulating and can then time when to have sex.
Your body, when ovulating, releases a hormone into your urine, which can be tested on strips to determine whether you are ovulating. These strips are generally inexpensive and testing for ovulation can occur at any time of the day, although it is best to test twice a day – preferably at 10am and 8pm. When testing with ovulation strips you will notice that on many days that you will get both lines. However, this is not like a pregnancy test. Just because you get two lines, it does not mean that you are ovulating. You will need to wait until the second line is as dark as or darker than the control line. As soon as it is, you have 24 to 48 hours to have intercourse.
You can keep track of all of your natural fertility signs by notating them in a chart or calendar. There are many websites that offer fertility-charting applications, as well as apps that you can download onto your smartphone. Charting will enable you to collect data, such as your last missed period, your temperatures, the condition and quantity of your cervical mucus, as well as any other symptoms, and show you where you are at in your cycles.
Knowing all your natural fertility signs will help you in timing your baby-making efforts.