My Fertility – How Can I Tell If I’m Fertile?
The time of optimum fertility can vary even among those women with regular cycles. There are many options available to determine when you are ovulating. These range from commercially available test kits, as well as natural methods designed to assist in identifying the most fertile days to have intercourse when trying to conceive. These methods have been shown to predict ovulation in approximately 50% of the time and are best suited to couples who do not have regular intercourse. It is important to take care not to create stress associated with timing intercourse, as this can cause reduced sexual esteem, and satisfaction and the frequency of intercourse.
Ovulation tests (In Stream)
These ovulation kits measure the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. This is one of the hormones that signals to the ovaries to release an egg. The levels of LH begin to rise around 36 hours before you ovulate however many kits are only sensitive enough to detect a change until 24 hours prior.
Mini Ovulation Microscopes
During ovulation estrogen levels rise and cause the amount of salt in saliva to increase. When placed on a microscope slide crystallized salts in dried saliva for a distinctive “fern leaf” patter which signals when ovulation has begun. Saliva is tested first thing each morning before eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. When you begin to see the ferning pattern ovulation is approaching.
Your body provides natural signs to indicate when you are ovulating and when you are most fertile. These signs can be tracked in a process called charting, by recording the patter of changes in the body to identify your fertile days within each cycle. These natural changes include.
– Changes to your body’s base temperature (basal temperature)
– Changes to the quality and consistency of cervical fluid
– The shape and position of the cervix
Changes to your body temperature
– Before you ovulate your body’s basal temperature (the lowest temperature in a 24 hour period) ranges from 97.0-97.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.1 to 36.3 Celsius. This is known as the Follicular Phase. Some women, not all, will have a temperature drop
– After ovulation hormonal fluctuations cause a rise of body temperature up to and between 97.6 to 98.9 F or 36.4 to 36.6 C. (Luteal Phase)
– The day after ovulation the temperature generally rises a further 0.2 degrees F or 0.11 degrees C, and temperatures remaining elevated 10-16 days returning to normal in the instance there is no pregnancy or remains elevated for 18 days and longer. In this case you should test for pregnancy.
The best time to record this is immediately on waking up in the morning, preferably at the same time each day, using a basal thermometer. Try to make it the first thing you do moving as little as possible before hand as any movement will increase your bodies temperature.
Changes to cervical mucus
The consistency of cervical mucus changes during the cycle due to hormonal fluctuations. Many women find that by observing and recording changes it is possible to predict ovulation and the most fertile time for possible conception.
The presence of cervical mucus during ovulation supports sperm and facilitates sperm transport to the egg as well as insulating sperm from the natural acidity inside the vagina.
Before ovulation, very little cervical fluids may be visible or noticeable. A gradual accumulation of mucus then occurs; generally yellow or cloudy in colour with a sticky consistency. This is known as non-fertile cervical mucus or hostile cervical mucus. As ovulation approaches the presence of cervical mucus increases, with the colour changing to white or cream with a wetter consistency which is slightly tacky. During ovulation the amount of fluid increases further and is described by many women as slippery, and semi transparent.
Some women find that they have problems with the amount and consistency of cervical mucus. Problems with cervical mucus can create a barrier to getting pregnant.
The shape and position of the cervix
After menstruation and under the influence of estrogen, the cervix undergoes a series of changes in position and texture.During most of the menstrual cycle, the cervix remains firm, like the tip of the nose, and is positioned low and closed.However as ovulation approaches, the cervix becomes softer, and rises and opens in response to the high levels of estrogen present at ovulation. These changes, accompanied by the production of fertile types of cervical mucus, support the survival and movement of sperm.
It should be noted that charting tracks all of these changes as changes to the cervix alone cannot be used to predict ovulation and certain medications can affect.
Statistically pregnancy is most likely to occur when intercourse happens within the 3-days ending on the day of ovulation.