Oracle Fertility encourages and promotes natural ways to achieve pregnancy. Please read the following to learn the natural signs your body is entering its 'fertile period' and thus maximise your chances of achieving pregnancy.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation is a phase of the female menstrual cycle that involves the release of an egg (ovum) from one of the ovaries. New life begins if the ovum meets with a sperm during its journey down the fallopian tube. Ovulation depends on a complex interplay of glands and their hormones, and generally occurs about two weeks before the onset of the menstrual period.
Signs of Ovulation
- Regular menstrual cycles – menstrual periods that arrive every 24-35 days are more likely to be ovulatory.
- Mucous changes – about 2 weeks before menstruation, and ovulating woman may notice clear, slick and slippery mucous aka egg white cervical mucous.
- Abdominal pain – some women experience pain during ovulation. The pain may be general or localised to one side of the abdomen.
- Temperature rise – women who monitor their Basal Body Temperature will notice a small rise in their temperature after ovulation has occurred.
Cervical changes – during a woman’s cycle your cervix undergoes many changes. As you approach ovulation your cervix becomes high, soft, open and wet.. After ovulation these signs reverse and the cervix becomes firm, low, closed and dry.
- PMS – some women experience symptoms similar to premenstrual symptoms around ovulation.
Calculating Ovulation date
The first day of a woman's period is generrally 14 days after ovulation. The number of days between ovulation and the start of the next period is fairly consistent among all women. The number of days between the start of the period and the next ovulation varies quite a bit between women. It even varies from month to month for the same woman.
Counting days of the cycle is by far the easiest and least technical of all of the methods for tracking ovulation. But, it is really a retrospective indicator. It can tell any woman when her last ovulation was. But, it works well as a predictor for the next ovulation in women whose cycles are very regular. If the woman has a regular cycle, then this method can work for her. For example, if she has a perfect 30-day cycle, she will ovulate on day 16 (30-14=16). Day 1 is the first day of her next period.
Women with cycles that vary a bit in length, but are nevertheless roughly every 30 days or so can also get some utility from this method. She can record the first day of her period for 3 consecutive cycles. From this information, she can get a pretty good idea of the week when she will be ovulating the next month. Having sex at least every other day during that week is a good strategy, if she wants to get pregnant.
Cervical Mucous Monitoring
Another method for determining when ovulation occurs is through the cervical mucous monitoring test. This is the only method that will not require looking back to the past few cycles to analyze. It is based on examining the mucous that is normally secreted from the cervix in order to determine where the woman is in her cycle. The consistency changes during the cycle due to hormonal fluctuations. The key to this test is that the woman will actually have to get a sample of her cervical secretions (from the outer lips of her external genitalia) and stretch it between 2 of her fingers (the thumb and index finger) to test for the consistency.
- Before Ovulation (low chance of pregnancy):The first few days following menstruation, there will be little or no discharge present. The woman should feel dryness around her vulva. During this time, she is usually not able to conceive.
- Approaching Ovulation (chance of pregnancy):The first discharge that does appear should be moist or sticky and should be white or cream in color. In the finger test, the mucous should break easily. She will only be able to pull her fingers about 1 cm apart before it breaks. During this transition time, first the mucous will become cloudy and slightly stretchy during the finger test (this means that it will still break before the fingers are stretched all the way). As time progresses, the mucous will become greater in volume.
- Right around ovulation (high chance of pregnancy): At this stage, mucous resembles egg whites. It is the thinnest, clearest and most abundant at this point in the cycle. Finger testing will allow the mucous to stretch quite a ways (several centimeters) before it breaks (if it breaks at all). ) The amount of this thin mucous will steadily increase until she experiences her 'mucous peak'. This is the last day of this period where the chance of conception is high. It is closely tied to ovulation. It is often only recognized in rertrospect. During this phase, the sperm's survival rate is higher. It can survive in cervical mucous for up to 72 hours, a significantly longer time than during the rest of the cycle.
- After Ovulation (low chance of pregnancy): After ovulation, there is a marked change in mucous appearance. It returns to the sticky stage (does not stretch during finger test) and there is again a feeling of dryness around the vulva.
One caveat for this test is that sperm can be confused with the mucous secretions and the woman could make wrong assumptions. Also, vaginal infections, medication, and birth control can alter conditions and should be taken into consideration when examining any vaginal secretions.
Keeping a good monthly record of your fertile signs is a fantasitc way to increase your chances of pregnancy. It also provides you with a good resource to take to yoru Dr or Specialist in the event that it is taking longer than expected to fall pregnant.