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Fertility Awareness Part One: Three Signs You Are Ovulating

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Understanding if and when you are ovulating is one of the most important pieces of the fertility puzzle. In my clinic I routinely show my patients how to learn more about their hormones and their fertile window by using Toni Weschler’s Fertility Awareness Method (FAM).

In short, this strategy allows you to identify the days in your menstrual cycle on which you’re more likely to be fertile. If you are using FAM to get pregnant, you have unprotected intercourse on these “peak” days.

As opposed to the rhythm/calendar method, which involves abstaining around Day 14 of your cycle, FAM helps to identify your peak days by tracking waking temperature, cervical mucus and cervical changes, which I will explain in this first of two blogs on FAM.

1) Waking temperature: Using a basal body thermometer with two decimal points of accuracy, chart your temperature every day, first thing after waking, before getting out of bed, from the start of one period to the start of the next. You will notice that your waking basal body temperature (WBBT) rises about two-tenths of a degree (Fahrenheit) somewhere near the middle of your cycle: that rise is caused by the progesterone released during ovulation. On your chart, identify the day when that 0.2-degree jump happens, then find the highest temperature among the six days before that jump. Draw a horizontal “coverline” that is 0.1 degrees above that highest previous temperature, across the entire chart. Over 2-3 months you should notice a pattern of when you typically experience that temperature spike. Your peak day is 1-2 days before the temperature spike.

2) Cervical fluid: Changes in cervical fluid tell you when you are approaching ovulation – the egg-white, slippery fertile mucus is alkaline and provides nourishment to the sperm. You can check the opacity and consistency of your cervical fluid when wiping or by inserting a clean finger at any time of day.

Throughout your cycle your cervical fluid should change from dry ⇒ slightly moist ⇒ sticky ⇒ creamy ⇒ clear egg-white (slippery, can stretch – this is the fertile mucus) ⇒ dry (suddenly – after ovulation) ⇒ one day of wet before menses. Track these features over 2-3 cycles to notice a pattern of these changes. Your peak day is your last day of clear, egg-white, wet and slippery cervical fluid. (picture from tcoyf.com)

3) Cervical changes: This optional, third fertility indicator will give you more information and help cross-check and confirm your other assessments. Inserting a clean finger, you will notice that on your peak day, your cervix will be Soft, High, Open and Wet (SHOW).

These three key signs will allow you to identify your peak days of fertility to maximize your chances of conception. They can also be combined with other indicators like LH strips, which I will explain in next week’s Part Two, along with FAQs on the Fertility Awareness Method.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your fertility patients, please get in touch with us at support@myhealthypregnancyplan.com.

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.

References:

Weschler, T. (2015). Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. William Morrow Paperbacks.

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