There are 4 main signs that are important when tracking fertility. These are listed below. Ideally, after 3-4 months, you will have enough data gathered to really understand your cycle, predict ovulation and predict your fertility window. This data can be tracked in an app on your phone or on paper charts.
This information can be useful if you are trying to get pregnant or to avoid pregnancy! Ideally, make an appointment to discuss any questions you may have before you start tracking your cycle. You can schedule with Dr. Chloe Scheel by calling Kwan Yin Healing Arts at (503) 701-8766 or going online to Schedulicity.
1. Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
- Progesterone causes a rise in body temperature. So when a women ovulates, the corpus luteum produces progesterone leading to a peak in BBT. Ideal raise in BBT is 1 degree, but anything at least 0.2 degrees above your baseline counts.
- An ovulation dip occurs right before the rise. You know the dip has occurred when you measure a temperature that is lower than your typical readings, and then it is followed by your peak temperature rise, indicating that ovulation has occurred.
- Test BBT in the morning, at the same time every day, BEFORE sitting up in bed.
- Your partner can help. Set an alarm in the morning, have your partner hand you the thermometer, you can take it and go back to bed. Most thermometers will show the last temperature taken when you turn it back on so you can write it down later if needed.
- You will need a specific thermometer that can track temperatures more accurately than a normal thermometer. You can search online for “basal body temperature thermometer.”
- Your highest fertility is typically the day before and day of the temperature dip (before the rise occurs)
2. Cervical Mucous
- Main fertile sign
- Test once per day.
- Peak fertile window is when the cervix is soft, open with “egg-white” cervical mucous. Usually 1-3 day window. Ideal to time all inseminations during this window.
- Cervical mucous "strings" when fertile. Meaning when you pull your fingers apart, it will string between them. LH (luteinizing hormone) surge causes this.
- Check by inserting finger to cervix and feel for the mucous (cervix feels like the tip of your nose, vagina feels like cheek) once per day, ideally after a bowel movement.
- Classically will notice change 1-2 days before temperature rise
3. Ovulation Sensations
- You will become more aware as you start tracking your cycle. Keep notes if you feel any bloating, twinges, movement, etc. at any point during your cycle.
- Ideal to time at least one insemination per cycle when you feel ovulation symptoms. Typically the final insemination (if doing 2 inseminations per cycle)
4. Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK)
- This does not mean an ovulation happened, it simply means your body is signaling an ovulation (LH surge)
- Most women should test 2x per day around the days of ovulation
- The first positive is all that matters. It doesn’t matter how long it stays positive for.
- Best brand is “Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test”
- This will either show a smiley face or not. Other predictor kits become too complicated and offer too much information that may cause more confusion, or are prone to error.
- Ideal to take 2nd morning urine.
- New apps are always coming out. So please look through different ones and choose one that best fits what you need.
- Glow Fertility Tracker
- Fertility friend
- Ovia fertility Tracker & Ovulation Calculator