Natural Fertility Signs...
When Trying to Conceive
There are a number of different natural fertility signs to look for when your trying to conceive. Being aware of your menstrual cycle and recognizing any changes in your body can be the first step to planning a pregnancy.
Monitoring your fertility and predicting when you will ovulate may include: recording your basal body temperature (BBT), observing any changes in cervical mucus (CM), locating the position of your cervix (cervical position), and monitoring the physical symptoms of ovulation (mittelschmerz).
To help keep track of monitoring natural fertility signs, some women may use a fertility chart to record and log daily fertility signs and their basal temperature information. Charting the natural fertility signs and ovulation signs in detail is a proven, Ob/Gyn-recommended approach designed to help boost your odds of conceiving a baby.
Basal Body Temperature
The first natural fertility sign to look for when trying to conceive is a change in your basal body temperature. Basal body temperature is your temperature while at rest as soon as you wake up in the morning. A woman's basal body temperature increases very little during ovulation.
Charting the basal body temperature is based on the principle that your body temperature increases, due to hormonal changes, directly after ovulation takes place.
During the first part of your cycle, the leading hormone in your body is estrogen. Estrogen helps to assist in the making of an egg in your ovaries (this happens during the pre-ovulatory or follicular phase of your cycle). Right after ovulation (the release of an egg) there is a dramatic increase of the hormone progesterone. From the time ovulation occurs up until the end of your cycle, progesterone is what warms the body and this is the cause of the increase in temperature. This increase in body temperature indicates that ovulation has taken place.
The temperature will vary from woman to woman...the average temperature before ovulation is anywhere from 96 to 98 degrees when taken orally. After ovulation most women have a temperature between 97 and 99 degrees. The rise in temperature can either be sudden or gradual over the course of a few days. Usually a woman's basal body temperature will increase by only 0.4 to 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit. To observe this tiny change, you must use a basal body thermometer.
Generally, if pregnancy does not occur, the temperature will decline over time and return to it's pre-ovulatory levels by the first day of your next cycle. If a pregnancy does occur, then your basal temperatures may remain high - even past your expected period date.
Most women will ovulate within three days after their temperatures rise and the body temperature will stay at a higher level until your period starts.
A man's sperm can live for 3-5 days in a woman's body. The womans egg lives for 12-24 hours before it starts to disintegrate. So therefore, if you have unprotected sex a few days before ovulation or during ovulation, there is a big chance of becoming pregnant.
The next natural fertility sign to look for is a change in the cervical mucus. Cervical mucus (CM) is produced by the lining of a woman's cervix and the cervical canal, which is the passage between the vagina and the uterus.
Most women normally experience a time of dryness or limited CM during the first day of the cycle through the early part of your pre-ovulatory phase. As the cycle continues, the cervical mucus may increase and is usually cloudy and sticky. Right before and during ovulation, there is an ample amount of cervical mucus. It becomes clear and slippery and will stretch like "egg white" between the fingers. This is called "fertile" cervical mucus. It's the perfect passage to assist the sperm while moving through the cervix and to aid in the sperms vitality and longevity while on it's way to the egg.
You can check the mucus in several different ways, depending on which is most comfortable for you. The choices are:
- observe any discharge on panties
- wipe the vaginal opening with toilet paper before urinating
- use your (clean) finger or toilet paper to wipe across the opening of vagina and then observe the mucus.
If you can stretch the mucus at least three inches without it breaking, then ovulation is about to occur. It's often compared to egg whites because of the color and texture.
The third natural fertility sign to check for when trying to conceive is the cervical position. During your cycle, your cervix changes it position. During the beginning of your cycle, and following ovulation, your cervix is in a low position. It elevates to a higher position just before and during ovulation.
Just before ovulation the cervix will feel somewhat firm (like touching your nose) and dry to the touch. The position of the cervix will be low in your vagina and easy to reach. The entrance of the cervix will also feel closed. On the other hand, as you approach ovulation, the cervix will become more and more soft. It will also become increasingly moist in order to create a more fertile environment for the sperm. The entrance of the cervix will feel open and begin to lift up. At it's highest point, the cervix may be a little hard to reach and the entrance of the cervix will increase in size. Your cervix will feel softer (like touching your lip). During this period, you are at your most fertile time. Just after ovulation, the cervix will begin to return to a firmer state and the entrance will begin to close. The position of the cervix will begin to drop down and become easier to reach.
You will need to use your finger by inserting it into the vagina and touch the tip of the cervix. It should feel like a round cylinder shaped object within your body. It's best to check your cervical position after your period is over so you will be able to note any changes. When evaluating the cervial position, try to examine yourself at the same time every day.
Mittelschmerz or Ovulation Pains
Another natural fertility sign to look for is called Mittelschmerz. Mittelschmerz, German for "middle pain", is a medical term for "ovulation pain" or "midcycle pain". About 20% of women will experience mittelschmerz, some may experience it every cycle, some only once in a while, some not at all.
Mittelschmerz is represented by lower abdominal and pelvic pain that occurs approximately midway through a woman's menstrual cycle. The pain can appear suddenly and will usually subside within hours, although it can last two or three days. In some women, the mittelschmerz is localized enough that they can tell which ovary the egg was released from during that month. Ovulation occurs on a random ovary during each cycle so the pain may switch sides or stay on the same side from one cycle to another.
With all the natural fertility signs in mind, the key to conceiving is OVULATION. You MUST ovulate in order to conceive a baby.
You can also get an ovulation testing kit to help pinpoint ovulation. What is ovulation? Click here to understand ovulation.