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Checking Cervical Mucus (CM)
As the estrogen level rises in the first half of your cycle, your mucus changes from sticky to creamy to a thin, watery, stretchy consistency. Ovulation occurs when copious amounts of this thin, stretchy discharge is present. To use this method, you simply check your mucus in the morning, or throughout the day, to determine the thickness and texture. Once you detect this watery CM, you should have sex every day, or every other day, until the slippery CM dissipates.
Pros: It's absolutely free, and it's a good indicator of when you're about to ovulate.
Cons: According to Christopher Williams, MD, author of The Fastest Way to Get Pregnant Naturally, the change in your mucus can last up to a week, and "it's a gross overgeneralization to say that all women have the same type of mucus."
Testimonial: "I tried charting my BBT but constantly forgot to take my temperature first thing in the morning. Instead, I started looking for a change in my CM. One week I noticed that my CM was obviously stretchier. We had sex every day that week, and I got pregnant." -- Amy
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
OPKs use special chemicals to recognize a surge of LH in your urine, indicating that ovulation will occur in about 24 to 36 hours. The kits, found in most drugstores, cost between $25 and $30. You simply follow the directions on the package and have intercourse on the day of the surge and the day after.
Pros: They're relatively easy to use and fairly accurate.
Cons: They don't work for everyone. According to Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, 10 percent of women will have a false-positive test and 10 to 20 percent of women will get a false negative.
Testimonial: "I tried for six months before I bought an OPK. Even though my cycle was regular, I had a hard time figuring out when I was ovulating. I got pregnant after using the OPK the first time." -- Carrie