Babymaking Basics: Everything You Need to Know About Your Fertility Cycle

Presence of a fever, emotional upset, insufficient sleep, consumption of alcohol or the use of an electric blanket or heating pad can affect your BBT.

Charting Your Basal Body Temperature
Using either a notebook or graph paper, start recording on day one of your menstrual cycle -- the first day of your period. For each day, record your temperature, any reason for a variation in temperature (if applicable), if you made love that day, and if you were menstruating. This charting will not only be invaluable to you but will provide your health care provider with important information in helping you achieve your fertility goals -- of achieving or avoiding pregnancy.

Cycles of Moisture: How Can You Check Your Cervical Secretions?
Cervical mucus can be looked at as the “gatekeeper” to the uterus -- guarding what may and may not pass through the cervix. Your secretions change in response to hormonal shifts occurring during your cycle. Once your menstrual flow has abated, you will typically have a few "dry" days. Within the first week you may notice your cervical secretions become sticky or tacky feeling. As the time of ovulation approaches your cervical mucus will become creamier, changing to clear, slick secretions that can be stretched between your fingers. This is your time of peak fertility, with your mucus acting as a slippery highway for any sperm that are present.

In observing changes in your cervical mucus, you will be looking for changes in consistency, quantity and color. Pick one time of the day to check your cervical secretions. Many women find it convenient to observe changes while using the bathroom. Though changes can be observed externally, when wiping yourself with white toilet tissue, it can be more accurate to check cervical secretions by inserting one or two fingers into your vagina.

  • Does your vagina feel dry, moist or very wet?
  • Do any secretions remain on your fingers or the tissue?
  • Is your cervical mucus very stretchy and slippery, creamy or tacky feeling?
  • Are your secretions clear, white or almost nonexistent?
  • Can you stretch your cervical mucus between your two fingers? (If so, this is very fertile mucus!)

Keep in mind that sexual arousal, the presence of semen, use of lubricants or spermicides, use of an antihistamine (drying) or a decongestant (liquefying) or a vaginal infection can affect your cervical secretions.

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