4 Methods for Charting Fertility
If you are serious about getting pregnant and doing it quickly, then you will need to become familiar with charting your fertility. Rather than basically ‘guessing’ when you are going to be ovulating, and therefore ready for conception, charting your fertility will help you pinpoint your very best day or days for conception. There are basically four ways to determine fertility, and they are all quite straightforward:
Step One: Take your Basal Body Temperature
Your Basal Body Temperature (or BBT) is one of the best ways to help determine your fertility window. For this you will need a digital thermometer and a pen and paper (or a temperature chart downloaded online). Place these items directly next to your bed. It is vitally important that you take your BBT as soon as you wake up and at approximately the same time each day.
You can take your temperature any way you like: orally, vaginally, or rectally – as long as it’s the same each time. Ideally, you will go through an entire cycle to get an idea of how your body responds to ovulation before you try to conceive – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few well-timed romps for fun; you never know what will happen!
Basically your BBT should follow a similar pattern: six days of close readings, then one or two reading which are higher than these (usually .4 degrees or more above your last reading), followed by two or three lower temperature days. It is on the day with this spike in temperature that you most likely ovulated. After this period you may have a few days of a higher temperature before you period, but if it stays high you may be pregnant!
This may sound confusing, but it works. If you need more help, there are plenty of resources to map or chart your cycle. http://www.everydayfamily.com/ovulation-calculator/
Step Two: Get to Know your Cervical Mucus
Ew! Sorry, but there are a few gross things you’ll have to get used to over the next few months. Your cervical mucus is an excellent way to confirm that you are ovulating, along with the BBT method. From after your period to ovulation, your cervical mucus follows the same basic pattern:
- Dry: Not much mucus at all
- Sticky: Your body is producing just enough mucus for your fingers to feel sticky.
- Creamy: Whitish, kind of like lotion
- Egg-White: You’ll know it when you see it, because it’s almost exactly like egg-whites. It can be clear or whitish, but is very stretchy.
When you think you have reached the egg-white cervical mucus phase, see if it matches up with your higher BBT reading. If so, it’s time to hit the sheets!
Step Three: Checking the Cervix
Again, there’s a lot going on around your cervix when it’s time to ovulate. Detecting changes in the cervix is another way to confirm a BBT reading for ovulation, but it should not be used on its own. Basically, during most of your cycle the cervix is positioned low and feels firm (like the end of your nose). When you are ovulating, the cervix moves higher and feels soft (like your lips). So check what your cervix feels like, and use it combined with the above methods to see if you are ready to conceive!
Step Four: Ovulation Tests
If this sounds like far too much work then you may want to consider buying a box of ovulation tests, which check for an increase in luteinizing hormone just prior to ovulation. It can be a great idea for those who want to get pregnant as quickly as possible and don’t want to spend time taking temperatures and checking their cervix.