Basal Body Temperature Chart
If you are trying-to-conceive, basal body temperature (BBT) charting can provide valuable information about your menstrual cycle and your fertility status. First and foremost, BBT charting will allow you to pinpoint the exact day (or pretty close to the exact day) that you ovulated.
The BBT shift occurs just about a full day after you ovulate. As you chart your BBT daily, you will notice your chart will become “biphasic”, meaning that it will show relatively low temperatures before ovulation and slightly higher temperatures after ovulation. It is important to note that this BBT shift is actually quite subtle, with temperatures typically rising by only .4 degrees F (.2 degrees C) after ovulation, and sometimes even less. It is important to note that you might see rapid rise in your BBT, or you might see an incremental rise, or it may even rise and fall slightly over several days. Due to this variability, it is important to chart for several cycles to understand the specific way in which you experience this BBT shift. Once you know the cycle date upon which you usually ovulate, you can then predict your fertile window for the next cycle.
Cervical Fluid Tracking
Cervical mucus is an excellent predictor of fertility. By monitoring vaginal fluids, it is possible to anticipate ovulation. This is particularly valuable for couples trying to get pregnant. When ovulation is known in advance, sexual intercourse can be timed to coincide with the most fertile days of the female cycle.
Cervical mucus undergoes changes near ovulation. Increasing estrogen levels cause vaginal fluids to become more lubricative, thinner, and more elastic. These changes help make it easier for sperm to travel to fertilize the egg and also increase the time that sperm can survive.
Cervical mucus can be described in several ways. The sensation, thickness, color, and consistency can be used to indicate current fertility. Early in the menstrual cycle, cervical mucus usually starts off dry and scarce and exhibits infertile characteristics. This corresponds to a very low chance of pregnancy.
As the cycle progresses, the cervical mucus will become more fertile as the chance of pregnancy increases. Initially the mucus will be white and cloudy and not stretch very far (less than half an inch) between your fingers before breaking. It will prefer to hold its shape rather than stretch.
As ovulation nears, the cervical mucus begins to show highly fertile signs. The volume of mucus will increase and it will become more transparent. Observers are also likely to note that it will become much thinner and more stretchy. The mucus will easily stretch between your fingers and remain intact. These characteristics are early indicators of ovulation and suggest that it is imminent.
After ovulation cervical mucus will begin to take on infertile characteristics similar to those described in the beginning of the cycle. This again indicates that pregnancy is unlikely to result from intercourse during this time.