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Planning a Pregnancy? Chart Your Monthly Cycle

Planning a Pregnancy? Chart Your Monthly Cycle

If you’ve decided to start a family, there are some tips that can help you achieve pregnancy on your timeline. First, it is important to chart your menstrual cycle. As your body goes through its monthly cycle, there are clues that will help you know when you’re ovulating. Simply by documenting your cycle by taking your basal body temperature (BBT) each day will help you see when your ovulation is raising your temperature just slightly. A normal basal body temperature is between 96 degrees and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. During ovulation, your body releases a hormone called progesterone, which will raise your BBT just a bit a day or two after ovulation. The difference Is minor, just 0.4 – 0.8 degrees, so tracking may help you see the changes in your own body.

Fertility is at its highest two to three days before your ovulate, and sperm can live up to five days in your body, so the optimum time to have sex is just before you ovulate.

Taking your BBT requires using a special thermometer because the changes are so small. It’s important to take your temperature at the same time every morning, and it’s best to take it just upon waking, before you eat or drink anything, or even move around. You can make your own graph to chart the daily changes, but you will want to talk with your AOA physician to help you interpret the chart. Not everyone can detect a clear pattern.

Another change that you can keep track of is the pattern of cervical mucus throughout the month. Just after your period is over, your vagina will be at its driest, with little or no mucous. Around day 10-12 after the start of your last period you will develop a sticky, thick mucus. Over the next few days it will gradually become thinner and whiter. It becomes thin, stretchy and clear, somewhat like egg whites. This is the signal that you are at your most fertile. After a few days the mucous will bet sticky and thick again and then will dry out just before your period begins. And the whole thing starts over.

Using both methods of charting your cycle: your basal body temperature and the consistency of your vaginal mucous, will give you even more insight into how your body works, and when you are most likely to conceive.

If you want to better understand how to chart your cycle, ask your AOA doctor for advice.

The only proactive method to predict ovulation are ovulation predictor kits. Kits are available over the counter and check for the surge of the hormone LH, which triggers ovulation. Ovulation occurs approximately 24 hours after the peak of the surge.