Prudent Pearl’s Quick Guide to Your Monthly Fertility
Know your body simply by taking your daily temperature and by observing what’s going on ‘down there’!
Did you know…?
- Worry and stress can delay a period
- Worry and stress can delay ovulation
- Your period will always start 12-16 days after ovulation
- Your temperature changes when you start a period, when you are pregnant and when you have ovulated.
- The position of your cervix changes throughout your menstrual cycle
- Men are fertile all the time as sperm is produced daily, whereas women are only fertile a few days per cycle
- Men produce up to 300 million sperm per day, while women are born with all of the eggs she will ever have
- Sperm can survive up to 5 days within fertile cervical fluid, whereas the egg only survives up to 24 hours.
WAKING TEMPERATURE, CERVICAL FLUID, CERVIX POSITION
By monitoring these three things, you will soon be able to:
– know the exact day your period will start
– know when ovulation is approaching
– know when ovulation has passed
– know when you are pregnant without taking a pregnancy test
1) Waking temperature:
Take your temperature as soon as you awaken – before you get up and out of bed. Once you do get out of bed, your temperature soon changes to adapt to your new environment (without your duvet) and any thermometer readings will be affected.
I found the most effective and accurate temperature readings were when using a mouth thermometer. I did start by using an ear thermometer but found the results to be quite inconsistent. I would keep the thermometer and Fertility Chart by my bedside so I could note the temperature as soon as I had measured it.
From monitoring your temperature you will be able to identify:
When you have ovulated
Around the middle of your cycle your temperature will rise. Ovulation is most likely to have occurred by the 3rd day of this sudden increase in temperature. Your period will then start 12-16 days after ovulation.
Your most fertile time of the month
This is usually 2-3 days before this rise in temperature, when ovulation is approaching. You will soon know what time of the month this is usually for you.
When you are pregnant
If you have 18 days or more of high temperature following ovulation, you are very likely to be pregnant.
When your period is due
Your temperature will suddenly drop when your period is about to start/at the end of your current cycle, 12-16 days after ovulation.
2) Cervical fluid:
The fluid from your cervix changes throughout your monthly cycle. As you reach your most fertile time of the month, your cervical fluid becomes more apparent and abundant (to help those male sperm reach their destination!). Fluid changes from ‘white and sticky’ to ‘clear and slippery/stretchy’.
You can observe your cervical fluid just by looking at your toilet paper once you have been to the toilet. Alternatively, to get a more certain observation, you can insert your finger into your vagina and reach in to find your cervix. The fluid at the entrance of your cervix will give a more time accurate observation of cervical fluid.
Just make a note of the consistency of your cervical fluid for that day. This will also include your menstruation flow. Observing the flow of your period will determine the start and end of your menstruation, and so your monthly cycle. Refer to the Fertility Chart Key below for details of different fluid types.
From monitoring your cervical fluid you will be able to identify:
Your most fertile time of month
Cervical fluid at this time will very lubricated, moist and slippery. Your ‘peak day’ will be when you are most fertile and cervical fluid is most like egg white (around the middle of your cycle).
Your least fertile time of month
The infertile time begins on the fourth day after your ‘peak day’. Cervical fluid will become less like egg white and clear, and more sticky and white. You then become less fertile as you go through the rest of your monthly cycle approaching menstruation. Your cervical fluid at this time will obviously be red with blood. It is these first five days of menstruation are when you are least fertile.
3) Cervix position:
The position of your cervix also changes throughout your monthly cycle. It varies from being very high up, soft and the entrance more open, to being much lower, harder and closed.
To find your cervix you will need to reach into your vagina with your finger and feel towards the back of your vaginal opening. You will feel a something that is a little firmer than the surrounding inner vagina. It will feel like very small tightly puckered lips which may be softer or harder depending on the time in your monthly cycle.
From monitoring the position of your cervix you will be able to identify:
Your most fertile time of month
Your cervix will feel much higher up and further back at this time. It will be much softer, more like its surroundings and feel almost open. It will feel very moist and lubricated. Each of these factors enables any sperm to enter more easily, and with a shorter journey to reach your eggs.
Your least fertile time of the month
Your cervix will now be a lot easier to reach as it is quite low at this time. It feels much harder to touch (more like the end of your nose, than puckered lips), and the entrance will seem much tighter, almost closed. It will feel quite dry and sticky. Each of these factors making it more difficult for any sperm to enter and reach your eggs.
Please click on the following link for Fertility Chart Template
I used a thermometer in Fahrenheit as it provides a more precise measurement than in Centigrade, so I was able to clearly see any changes in temperature. This chart will be a summary of your body and its changes throughout its cycle.
As well as monitoring the 3 key elements above, you may find it useful to monitor other elements such as:
- Intercourse: noting those days that you made love
- Peak days: – those days where cervical fluid is at its optimum ‘egg white’ consistency, vaginal sensation is lubricated and cervix position is high, soft and open. This highlights the best time for having intercourse if you are trying to get pregnant.
- Physical symptoms: – noting any significant changes in your emotional state or physical symptoms. You will undoubtedly soon be able to recognise the times that your period is approaching with common symptoms leading up to the start of your period. You may also notice a slight sharp pain in either of your sides as ovulation occurs (some women are able to feel the egg bursting through the ovarian wall).
- Significant events: – such as excess work, or any event that might cause worry, stress or over excitement which may have an effect on your monthly cycle by delaying your period or ovulation.
These observations are also a good reference point for identifying any potential health problems such as absence of ovulation symptoms, longer/shorter than average (28 day) menstrual cycle, stress etc.
This chart can of course be used as a tool for monitoring infertile times of the month for those not wanting to get pregnant!
FERTILITY CHART KEY
You can use the following symbols when completing your chart.
|*||bright red bleeding|
|S||sticky, gummy, yellow/white|
|C||creamy, lotion-like, milky, yellow/white|
|E||slippery, stretchy, clear/streaked|
|o||medium, partly open||M||Medium|
Please click here for a Fertility Chart example
Note the following from the example Fertility Chart:
- Drop in temperature when period has started on day 28.
- Rise in temperature when ovulation has occurred (2-3 days after actual ovulation) on day 16.
- Peak Day (day13) is the most likely ovulation time i.e. when cervical fluid is most like egg-white and when cervix is High, Open and Soft.
- Pain in side noted as ‘Notable symptom’ at time of ovulation on days 13 and 14.
- Symptoms leading up to ovulation and to the start of period/end of monthly cycle from day 20.
Source reference: ‘Taking Charge of Your Fertility – The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement’ – Toni Weschler, MPH