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Fertility FAQs

If you're trying to get pregnant, you may be unsure how to figure out your cycle, improve your chances of getting pregnant, and where you should seek help if you are having trouble conceiving. Knowing your fertile days can help you increase your chances of getting pregnant, as well as understand what's going on in your body. Below are some common questions that arise when discussing fertility.

Fertility & Ovulation

What is a fertile period and how can I determine mine?

Your fertile period is the time of the month you are most likely to become pregnant if you engage in intercourse. An informal way to determine your fertile time is by counting ahead 14 days from the first day of your menstrual period. It usually takes about 14 days after your period to begin ovulating. However, because your cycle is individual to you, the 14-day rule is not the most accurate way to determine your fertile period. Another option is the fertility awareness method (FAM).

What is the fertility awareness method?

FAM is a collection of practices designed to help you recognize signs of increased fertility so that you may either avoid intercourse on fertile days or plan intercourse if you are trying to conceive. There are three important components that make up this method: monitoring the consistency of your cervical mucus, tracking of your basal body temperature, and checking your cervical position. By charting your results every day, you will be able to understand where you are in your cycle.

Why is the consistency of my cervical mucus important?

Changes in the consistency of your mucus typically occur just before ovulation, so it gives a relatively reliable indication that you're approaching your most fertile time.

During most of a menstrual cycle, your cervical mucus is generally thick, opaque and sticky, similar to paste. It does not support sperm in their quest to find the egg because they cannot swim through it, and the acidity of the vagina soon destroys them. Fertile mucus is clear, stretchy, and usually has a thin, watery texture. It provides natural lubrication, so sperm can swim through it easily.

How do I check my mucus for its consistency?

First, wash your hands to avoid germs. The easiest and most accurate way to check your cervical mucus is by inserting your finger into your vagina and circling it around your cervix. If you would prefer to use toilet paper, simply use it to wipe the entrance to your vagina; however, this method will not provide the most accurate sample.

Once you have obtained some mucus, stretch it between your thumb and index finger to test its consistency. If it looks clear and stretches between your fingers, you are probably close to ovulating and your chances of getting pregnant are high.

How do I check my basal body temperature?

Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you first wake up in the morning, and though charting it may sound daunting, the task is really pretty easy. What you are looking for is a shift in your temperature of at least .4 degrees Fahrenheit over a 48-hour period, which indicates you have ovulated.

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