Fertility tips for women

It’s a good idea to learn how to monitor your fertility factors as this helps you to become more in tune with your body as well as a better understanding of how it works.

For women, the main factors are:

  • Basal body temperature
  • Cervical mucus

What you are in effect doing is monitoring your monthly cycle and predicting opportune moments to have sex – and to conceive.

This monitoring involves tracking the two factors mentioned above and noting any details so that you know when you will ovulate. This means taking your basal body temperature and examining your cervical mucus.

The basal body temperature is an established means of predicting ovulation although opinions vary about its reliability and effectiveness. However it is easy to do and if you are keen to conceive then it’s certainly worth trying.

Your body temperature is usually around 97 to 97.5 but this can increase by 1 to 2F when you are ovulating. The reason for this is that ovulation causes the hormone progesterone to be released which raises your body temperature. This stays elevated until the start of your next monthly cycle when it drops again. But, if you become pregnant then it stays elevated.

This elevation may seem minimal but if you keep a record over several cycles then you should start to see a pattern emerging. And it’s this pattern which helps you to know when you are most likely to be fertile.

The best way of taking your basal body temperature:

  • Always take it on the first day of your monthly period
  • Always take it at the same time each day
  • It’s a good idea to take it first thing in the morning, just before you get up and move around. Avoid eating and drinking at this time.
  • Use an ordinary oral thermometer
  • Make a note of the result. Don’t worry if you get any unusual results as body temperature does tend to fluctuate.

Another ovulation factor is that of checking your cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is a secretion produced by the cervix which varies in texture, consistency and colour due to fluctuations in the monthly cycle.

It can be carried out on its own or in conjunction with recording your basal body temperature. However, some studies have found that it is more reliable then body temperature.

Basically, your cervical mucus changes over a 28 day period (or your monthly cycle). Menstruation occurs at the beginning of a cycle so no mucus is produced then. No or little mucus is produced in the days following.

However, thick, white and sticky mucus is produced on day 10 or 12 and this changes in consistency and volume over the rest of your cycle. It goes from being white and thick to thin, slippery and then clear.

The key stages for you are days 13 to 15 as the mucus is clear and similar in consistency to egg whites. This is when you are most fertile.

From days 16 to 21 the mucus changes to become thick and white again. Then from days 22 to 28 it dries out and leaves practically no trace.

Check your cervical mucus every day after you have visited the toilet. Note down the colour and consistency of it and check this against your ovulation chart.

Another tip is to make a note when menstruation occurs and when you had sexual intercourse.

This approach doesn’t appeal to every woman but it is another useful means of predicting ovulation.

You can buy an ovulation predictor kit from your local chemist or pharmacy section in a supermarket. This works by measuring the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. An increase in this hormone indicates that ovulation is taking place.

This kit can be used along with your manual records and is a good way of getting in tune with your ovulation. If you prefer to use an electronic record rather than pen and paper then there are various tracking tools online which can be used to monitor your monthly cycle.

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