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How to Tell When You are Ovulating

How to collect fertility sign data:

There are several signs that your body gives that you will learn to read in order to determine when you are ovulating. You have what we call a fertility window, which is five days before you ovulate. This is when the optimal time to have intercourse is if you want to get pregnant. There are several signs that point to when this period of time is. Your hormone levels change throughout your menstrual cycle. Your ovaries give off the hormone estrogen, and when your estrogen levels get high enough, your ovary releases an egg. Then your body starts to make progesterone, another hormone which makes your body temperature rise slightly.

Tracking your temperature every day before you get out of bed (known as your basal body temperature) can help determine when your body temperature rises (and hence when you ovulate). If you keep tabs over a few months, you may notice a pattern that shows when you ovulate. That will help you plot your fertile window.

Your hormones also change the texture of your cervical mucus (the sticky fluid that comes from your cervix). As your body gets ready to ovulate, women will have more mucus, and it will feel more stretchy and slippery, like raw egg whites. This change in texture helps sperm swim and helps to achieve pregnancy. When your mucus feels like this, you should be in your fertile window.

Another thing that you can check is cervical position. Some women are not comfortable with touching their own cervix, so you are welcome to skip this sign if this includes you. (You are also welcome to have a partner feel for your cervical position if that preferable.) This is a skill that comes from practice and patience. Once you learn what the signs are by experiencing the changes in your cervix throughout a few cycles, you’ll be a pro. You can speed up the learning process by try to check your cervical position every few days, even when you don’t think you’re ovulating. Your cervix is actually easier to find when you’re not ovulating, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re feeling. Checking your cervical position at around the same time every day for better accuracy, a good time to do it when you get dressed in the morning or go to the bathroom. A cervix that is high, soft, and open is a fertile cervix. A cervix that is low, firm and closed is not a fertile sign, and you’re probably not ovulating yet—or you have already ovulated.

How do you check your cervix?

First, wash your hands. Find a comfortable position that will allow you to easily reach your cervix (ex: sitting on the toilet, putting one leg up on the edge of the bathtub, squatting…etc.). Reach your index or middle finger inside of your vagina, and slowly slide your finger in as far as you can reach, sort of in an upward motion. If you’re not close to ovulation, you should find your cervix easily. If you are ovulating, your cervix may be higher in your body and more difficult to reach. Write down your cervical position on a fertility chart. Taking note of what you feel high/low, firm/soft, closed/open.

A Sample Fertility Chart can easily be found online.

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