Posts tagged fertility awareness method
What is the Fertile Window?

I always joke with my patients about the myths of ovulation, one of the main ones being - “today is the day, we’ve got to have sex right NOW!” There’s an episode of Friends with Monica and Chandler that comes to mind.

In reality, that’s not really how it works. Many people are surprised to find out that sperm can survive for up to 5 days in the female body during the fertile window. And because fertilization happens within 24 hours of ovulation, the full fertile window is actually 7 days long.

Let’s talk about how to figure out when your fertile window starts and ends.

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Let's Talk About Cervical Fluid

When tracking your cycle there are several different ways to determine the four different phases and when you're ovulating. Charting Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) are two popular methods, and observing changes to cervical fluid is another.

Your cervix produces fluid, sometimes called mucus, in response to the hormonal changes that happen throughout your cycle. That's why it's so effective at telling you what's going on with your hormones and why I often recommend my patients start paying attention to it. I'll explain how.

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Using OPKs to Pinpoint Ovulation

Whether you're trying to conceive or you want to track your cycle to better understand your body, OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits) are commonly used to determine when you ovulate based on hormones released by your body. They are one of my favorite ways of determining ovulation because they are fairly easy to use and pretty damn accurate, but of course they do come with a few perimeters and a bit of a learning curve.

Which ones to buy? When to test and how? And what do these tiny pee strips actually mean? I'm going to explain it all for you right now.

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Intro to Basal Body Temperature Charting

Women's hormones change so significantly during the course of their cycles that just by looking at graphs of daily temperatures you can see when ovulation occurs, if implantation has taken place, or when the period is about to start. It can even spot subtle signs of hormone imbalance, for example, if enough there's not enough progesterone being produced to sustain pregnancy.

Not just any temperature though, specifically our basal body temperature (BBT) is what must be measured to better understand what our hormones are doing. Basal refers to the bottom, in this case it's the lowest our temperature gets each day. For most people, that happens to be when you first wake up in the morning, after your body and metabolism have been resting several hours.

I wrote earlier about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM,) which uses temperature charting as a major component of tracking the menstrual cycle and determining a woman's fertile window. Click the link above to learn more about FAM and if it's right for you.

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What is the Fertility Awareness Method?

If you're trying to conceive, or even if you're not but you don't use contraceptives such as birth control, it's super helpful to understand when you're most fertile and when you aren't. The goal of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is just that, to track your cycle and ovulation to best predict how fertile you are on any given day.

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