Find Your Most Fertile Days: A Guide to Tracking Your Fertility
An overview of methods for knowing when
How to Track BBT
So how do you track your BBT? The first step is to buy a digital BBT thermometer from a drugstore. Most large drugstores carry these, or they can be ordered by a pharmacist. The rest is simple. “This is the easiest sign to track,” says Wodzinski. “You just wake up, take your temperature with a digital BBT thermometer every day, and write it down on a chart.”
It’s important to remember two things about taking the BBT. First, you need to take your temperature at around the same time each day with the same thermometer. Second, it must be the very first thing you do upon waking–no going to the bathroom, reading, having sex, eating, or moving around before taking your temperature.
The BBT sign alone can help you predict your fertile time after you have charted one or two cycles. You may begin to notice that your temperature shift happens at about the same day during each cycle–say 14 or 20 days after the first day of your period. You can then estimate the day of ovulation in your next cycle and time intercourse accordingly. However, the BBT sign is much more effective in combination with the other fertility sign: cervical fluid.
Cervical fluid, sometimes called cervical mucus, is something that all women have. It is quite different from the fluid produced during arousal. Cervical fluid helps sperm swim from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus during the fertile time.
A few days before ovulation, the cervix produces a very slippery, wet, stretchy fluid resembling egg whites. This fluid can allow sperm to live for up to six days inside a woman’s body. This means that a couple could have sex several days before ovulation occurs and the sperm could live long enough to meet the egg when it arrives days later. After ovulation has occurred and the fertile time is over, the fluid turns dry, pasty, and hostile for sperm.
By keeping track of what the fluid is like each day, a woman can zero-in on days with the wet, stretchy fluid. “By watching the fluid sign, a woman will know when ovulation is approaching,” says Wodzinski. “These are the days that the couple should have intercourse to maximize the chance of pregnancy.” On the flip side, if a woman notices that her fluid is always pasty and dry, she can point this out to her doctor as a possible problem.
How to Track Cervical Fluid
The best way to track this sign is to take note of the fluid each time you go to the restroom. Before doing anything else, use tissue to wipe across the opening of the vagina and note whether there is any cervical fluid present, and if so, whether it is pasty (not fertile) or stretchy and wet, resembling egg whites (very fertile). At the end of each day, write down on your chart what the fluid was like that day. Just remember: Don’t note this sign first thing in the morning, before having sex, or on the day after having sex.
For More Information
Most women feel that charting their fertility signs becomes easy after a bit of practice, but having the advice of a professional is always helpful. “I suggest that a woman who is using NFP to achieve pregnancy should think about taking a class,” says Wodzinski.
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