Fertility Awareness

Fertility awareness is using a variety of methods to track the normal functions of a woman’s body to determine the optimal times for conception.

To figure out the best time to get pregnant, a woman can combine the calendar method, basal body temperature method and cervical mucus method to determine when her body is most fertile.

Calendar Method: Becoming aware of your menstrual cycle is the first step in using the calendar method. The average woman has a menstrual cycle between 28 to 32 days. Day 1 actually being the first day of your period. Approximately around days 7 to 21; ovulation occurs. Around day 28, the hormone levels in a woman’s body drop and the uterine lining starts to shed (actual shedding is the first day of your next cycle).

Women using the calendar method will track their menstrual cycles for at least 8 months prior to wanting to conceive.  This method will take into account your first day of your last menstrual cycle, the average length of your cycle (generally not recommended for cycles less than 27 days) and the length of days past ovulation (luteal phase). This method can help determine trends and abnormalities in a woman’s monthly cycle.

Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT):   This method requires charting the woman’s basal body temperature over her cycle. There is a change in a woman’s BBT that will occur directly after ovulation and will continue to remain elevated until her next period. After a woman has charted her BBT for a few cycles, she can look through them to determine the pattern of her BBT when ovulation is expected/anticipated. The woman takes her temperature every morning using a basal thermometer (temperatures generally only escalate between 0.4 and 1 degree Fahrenheit when a woman ovulates). The woman will then record her temperature on a chart.

Cervical Mucus Method:  This method requires charting changes in a woman’s cervical mucus during her menstrual cycle. Directly after a woman’s period, a series of dry mucus days will occur. However, when an egg ripens the cervical mucus changes and may become yellow or white/cloudy and feel “sticky”. In general, a woman will have the most mucus right before ovulation in which the mucus becomes clear and feels “slippery” (commonly referred to as “egg whites”). These mucus days are considered a woman’s most fertile days. The mucus will then become considerably less and appear cloudy/feel sticky again after approximately 4 days and then again dry right before her period.

*All information and facts can be found on The American Pregnancy Organization website.

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