Have you ever considered that keeping track of your fertile days can improve your chances of getting pregnant? Or perhaps assist you in determining which days to postpone having sex in order to avoid becoming pregnant?
Tracking the days you’re most fertile (known as fertility awareness) can be helpful whether you’ve just begun your journey of trying to conceive, have been trying for a time without success, or aren’t quite ready to start a family. Learning about your body’s natural rhythm will help you better forecast when ovulation will occur.
You may track your fertility using a variety of tools, including gadgets, apps, and procedures. Some function best when combined with other techniques, while others are more efficient when used alone.
In order for you to choose the fertility awareness technique that is appropriate for you and your body, we have broken down each technique for you. Additionally, we’ve put together a list of our favorite fertility monitoring software and resources that can help you get pregnant (or not).
Knowing how to track ovulation is helpful while trying to get pregnant. You may ensure that you’re aiming for the most fertile window in your cycle by keeping track of when you ovulate. Ovulation tracking is another method used by some couples to try to prevent pregnancy.
Ovulation tracking is a fertility awareness technique or a natural family planning technique. You can accomplish it in a number of ways, including by using a calendar, keeping track of your cervical mucus, and utilizing an ovulation prediction kit.
If you are aware of your ovulation date, it is preferable to engage in sexual activity from five days before to one day following it. During this most fertile phase, experts typically advise couples to have intercourse every day or every other day.
THE CALENDAR METHOD
In order to use the rhythm method of birth control, you must keep track of your menstrual cycle. In order to predict ovulation, this method of birth control entails following your menstrual cycle on a calendar. To determine when you’re most fertile, you use this information. You refrain from sexual activity or utilize other forms of birth control during your reproductive period.
If a couple wants to get pregnant, it might also assist them to decide when to have intercourse. Because it requires charting your cycle on a calendar, the rhythm approach is also referred to as “the calendar method.” It’s not a particularly effective method of contraception when used alone. It falls under the categories of “natural family planning” or “fertility awareness.”
You only have a few days each month while you are fertile or capable of becoming pregnant. When determining their fertile days, people who use the rhythm approach examine their previous menstrual cycles. In that case, they can decide to abstain from sexual activity or use a barrier method of birth control, like condoms or spermicide.
Fertility monitoring can be done in a variety of ways. The rhythm method’s most popular approach entails understanding how lengthy your cycles are and using that knowledge to determine when you’re ovulating.
You’re generally most fertile when:
- in the days leading up to ovulation.
- the ovulation day.
- 24 hours after ovulation.
You’ll be able to identify a pattern more clearly the longer you maintain track of your cycle. You can avoid unprotected intercourse on certain days of each menstrual cycle once you know the duration of your cycle and a window for when ovulation typically takes place.
BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE
One approach to natural family planning is the basal body temperature method, which is based on fertility awareness. When you are completely at rest, your body temperature is at its lowest. An ovulation-related increase in basal body temperature is possible.
The two to three days prior to your fever rising are when you’ll be most fertile. You might be able to forecast when you’ll ovulate by keeping track of your basal body temperature every day. This could aid in figuring out when conception is most likely to occur.
The basal body temperature approach can be used to choose the most fertile days if you’re trying to conceive. Similarly to this, you can use the basal body temperature approach to determine which days to avoid unprotected intercourse if you want to prevent pregnancy.
It’s possible that the basal body temperature approach by itself won’t give you enough lead time to successfully avoid pregnancy. This technique for preventing conception is frequently used in conjunction with other reproductive awareness-based techniques.
There is no specific setup needed to monitor your basal body temperature. However, if you want to utilize the basal body temperature in conjunction with another birth control technique based on fertility awareness, speak with your doctor first if:
- You recently had a baby or discontinued using hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills.
- You are nursing a baby.
- You’re getting close to menopause.
Keep in mind that a variety of factors, such as the following, might affect your basal body temperature:
- disease or fever
- shift labor under stress
- Oversleeping or disturbed sleep patterns Alcohol
- Time zone differences and travel
- gynecological conditions
- certain medicines
Before getting out of bed every morning, take your basal body temperature. Use an oral thermometer that is digital or one that is made to assess basal body temperature. To achieve an accurate reading, make sure you get at least three hours of unbroken sleep per night.
Always take your temperature using the same technique for the most reliable readings. When you get up each day, try to take your temperature at the same time.
Track the readings of your temperature. Keep track of your basal body temperature each day and watch for patterns to appear. You can do this using a paper chart or an app created specifically for this.
When you ovulate, your basal body temperature may rise slightly, usually by less than 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.3 degrees Celsius). When the slightly elevated temperature holds consistent for three days or more, ovulation has most certainly taken place.
When fertility is high, plan your sex wisely. Although sperm can survive up to five days in your reproductive system, you are most fertile two days before your basal body temperature increases.
OVULATION PREDICTOR KITS
Ovulation test strips are urine tests you can perform at home to identify when ovulation is about to occur. They operate by detecting the luteinizing hormone (LH), which rises during ovulation to trigger the release of the egg.1 They are also known as ovulation tests or ovulation predictor kits (OPKs).
One or more paper test strips may be included in an ovulation test kit, or the test itself may resemble a pregnancy test stick. Either you pee on the extended tip of the version that resembles a pregnancy test, or you pee in a cup and then delicately dip the test strip into your urine.
The results can indicate if you could be about to ovulate. Ovulation strips can assist you in timing intercourse for conception. When the test comes back positive, you should typically have intercourse every day for the next few days.
On the other hand, your OB/GYN can provide you with detailed advice on the ideal timing and frequency of sex acts for you and your spouse. Find out more about taking an ovulation prediction test and analyzing the findings.
HOW TO USE OPK?
If your specific ovulation predictor kit has instructions, read them carefully because there may be little differences in how they operate. However, an ovulation prediction kit often includes a package of five to ten test sticks or strips.
Start utilizing the tests around two days prior to when you anticipate ovulating. Use a chart or calculator for ovulation if you’re unsure of your cycle’s timing. Additionally, you can use fertility apps to determine your expected ovulation date.
The Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor is an exception. You must begin testing this product on the first day of your period.
Test in accordance with the earliest and latest dates you would anticipate ovulating if your cycles are irregular. If this is the case, having a kit with many test strips is helpful. If you need assistance choosing the ideal time for your body, speak with your OB/GYN.
Kits to predict ovulation features two lines. The control line is one line. This merely informs you that the test is successful. The test line is on the second line. LH is spiking when the test line is as dark as or darker than the control line. This is when you have conceived.
CHARTING CERVICAL MUCUS CHANGES
A natural family planning method is the cervical mucus method. The cervical mucus approach, also known as the Billings Ovulation approach, is based on a thorough examination of mucus patterns throughout your menstrual cycle.
Changes in cervical secretions prior to ovulation assist sperm move more easily through the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the egg. You can try to predict when you’re most likely to ovulate and become pregnant by observing changes in the cervical mucus.
The cervical mucus method can be used to find the most fertile days if you’re trying to conceive. The cervical mucus method might help you choose which days to avoid unprotected intercourse if you wish to prevent pregnancy.
The cervical mucus birth control approach calls for commitment and drive. You and your spouse must refrain from having sex or use a barrier method of contraception during each month’s fertile days if you don’t want to get pregnant.
HOW TO OBSERVE THESE CHANGES?
Understanding how cervical secretions alter throughout a regular menstrual cycle is crucial to using the cervical mucus approach. You’ll typically have:
- Three to four days after your period is over, there are no discernible cervical secretions.
- Secretions that are hazy, foggy, and sticky throughout the following three to five days
- For the following three to four days, which are the days before and during ovulation, there will be a lot of clear, wet secretions.
- No discernible cervical secretions for 11–14 days until the start of your next menstruation.
- Even though the duration of each phase may differ, if the pattern of your cervical secretions deviates from that described above, speak with your doctor. You can have an infection that has to be treated by a doctor.
If you want to utilize the cervical mucus birth control method, speak with your doctor first if:
- You recently gave birth, had your first period, or discontinued using hormonal contraception or birth control tablets.
- You’re nursing a baby.
- You’re getting close to menopause.
- You suffer from a disorder like polycystic ovary syndrome that prevents you from having regular ovulation.
- If you have ongoing reproductive tract infections, your doctor may advise against using the cervical mucus approach.
SALIVA FERNING TEST
Using patterns created by your saliva, this at-home test tool can forecast ovulation. Your dried saliva may take the shape of a fern when your estrogen levels rise just before ovulation.
This test is qualitative; it determines whether or not you might be close to your ovulation time, not whether you will unquestionably get pregnant. If you want to know when you will ovulate and be in the most fertile phase of your menstrual cycle, you should take this test.
You can use this test to aid in making pregnancy plans. This test should not be used to aid in preventing pregnancy as it is unreliable for that purpose.
This test might not be accurate for you. Among the causes are
Not all women fern and you might not be able to see them. Women who fern may not necessarily fern on all of their fertile days during their period.
Smoking, eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, how you put your saliva on the slide, and where you were when you took the test can all interfere with ferning.
If you don’t have any underlying reproductive problems, getting pregnant with one of these procedures should be rather simple. Talk to your doctor, especially if you tend to have irregular periods if you’re taking these measures to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor can help you with any concerns you have and make sure you’re employing these techniques properly.