Fertility and Body Awareness
These days starting a family later in life is very common. When a couple decides to start a family they often feel the stress that 'the clock is ticking.' It is not commonly known but having a better awareness of the body and what happens during its monthly cycle can actually improve the chances of conceiving. Basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes can be self-monitored and provide an indication of times of greatest fertility. Ovulation kits can be purchased over the counter and offer another way to monitor ovulation.
Tracking Body Temperature
First thing every morning basal body temperature (BBT) should be recorded with a digital thermometer. This should be done before you even get out of bed or do anything else, even before drinking any water. Graph your results and notice the trends. Typically you should see a decrease in temperature just prior to ovulation. This should be followed by a rise of about one half of a degree Fahrenheit that is a result of progesterone levels rising after ovulation. The temperature should then remain elevated for about 12 to 14 days.
Following this you should experience a drop in temperature which signals the onset of menses or menstrual flow. If the temperature instead remains constant or increases this may indicate that conception has occurred.
Monitor Cervical Mucus
Make note of vaginal mucus during the month. This is done by inserting a finger into your vagina to collect cervical mucus and note the amount color and thickness of it. Test stretchability of the mucus between your thumb and index finger. Just before ovulation the mucus thickens, increases in the amount, becomes clear, wet and slippery, like egg white and stretches over an inch before breaking.
Ovulation kits monitor urinary levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) throughout the month. A surge in LH indicates ovulation is imminent and that you are in a fertile state.