Sex with the intention of getting pregnant can be confusing, but a clear understanding of how to track your fertility can help a ton. Many women have spent their whole adult lives avoiding pregnancy, but once they have the intention of getting pregnant sometimes it seems complicated! Technically, the window of fertility begins on the first day of your period, the chances are quite low but present. Depending on age, hormones, and cycle length, ovulation can differ. It’s best to have a combination of ways to know when you are fertile, and your cell phone doesn’t count! The apps on your phone are great to show averages and estimates but true ovulation will come from physical signs. I like to combine LH strips and cervical fluid tracking.
Let’s start off with cervical mucous and how to track it…
Cervical mucus is secreted by hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle that change the amount and consistency of this mucus. The job of cervical mucus is to either prevent things from entering the uterus through the cervix, or support and transport sperm through the cervix into the uterus.
There is somewhat of a pattern, which of course will vary from person to person:
- Your cycle will start on the first day you begin menstruation.
- Then you may have either “dry days” where no mucous/discharge is present, or the discharge might be a bit pasty.
- Then you may have tacky mucous (think of when you have a cold and cough). This is not fertile but a sign to start having sex every other day.
- Then it is creamy and smooth like lotion, also not very fertile…but a sign!
- Then your mucous will become watery and wet, slightly stretchy (you might think you had an accident). This is the beginning of fertile mucous! It’s easy for sperm to maneuver. Start having sex once a day
- Raw egg white, stretchy, this is optimum for sperm to travel in. Keep having sex once a day.
- Back to dry/pasty, no longer fertile.
LH strip instruction:
- Find a dry cup that is clean
- If cycles are at 28 days long or more, start testing urine on Day 10 or 11 between 12-6pm (if you want to test once.) If you want to test your urine twice, you can pee and then dip the stick between noon and 1pm, and then again between 4-5pm.
- Dip the stick in the cup, following directions listed on the strips box and lay the strip down. Wait 5 minutes for results.
- If the line on the bottom is faint or you can’t see it then you haven’t had your surge yet. Does this mean don’t have sex? No! Sperm can live inside your vagina for up to 5 days so it’s ok! It’s just not your peak time yet.
- If the line on the bottom is either as dark or darker than the top line that means your LH surge is happening, meaning you will likely ovulate in the next 24-48 hours. Start having sex that day and for the next few days. At this time it is important to monitor the cervical mucous which will also give you sings of ovulation.
- Do you keep testing you LH once you have had a positive surge? Yes, but stop once it is negative again (which might be the next day). Chart the days that you had a positive surge. From the last day of the surge you will ovulate within 24-72 hours. Start having sex once a day at this point for the next 3-4 days.