Let's go back to the very beginning....getting pregnant! While we all know "the birds and the bees", many couples have trouble getting pregnant. There are many reasons for infertility which I won't address here. What I want to focus on is how to track your cycle and fertility to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
A woman's body cycles every 28 days (+ or - a few days). Her body gives signals as to where she is in her cycle. The menstrual flow is considered the beginning of the cycle, peak fertility occurs at ovulation (usually occurs in the middle of her cycle) and then the cycle wanes and the menstrual flow begins again. How do you know when you are ovulating? While there are tests (similar to pregnancy tests) that can tell you when your hormone levels are high, these can be expensive.
Your body gives another signal that it is preparing to ovulate and this is cervical mucus. You may have noticed a white vaginal discharge from time to time, this is your cervical mucus. Cervical mucus changes preceding ovulation to be more abundant, clear, stretchy, and lubricative. These changes in mucus can be observed and charted. While the egg that is ovulated only lives for 24 hours, sperm can live for up to 3-5 days inside a woman's body. The longer life of sperm gives a patch of fertility rather than just one 24 hour period.
The other sign that a woman has ovulated is basal body temperature. Daily temperatures are taken are recorded at the same time every morning. There is a temperature spike after ovulation occurs.
These two signs can be used together (or mucus alone) to help a woman determine the optimum time of ovulation and optimum fertility.
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