Tracking Your Fertility
When it comes to getting pregnant understanding how to properly track your cycle is critical. In my clinic, I am always discussing this with patients, so I thought I would share the three major steps for fertility charting to help you find your fertile window and to get you pregnant faster.
Step 1) Tracking Your Period (Menses) and Cervical Mucus
Whether you have a regular or irregular cycle, tracking your period is very important and provides your doctor crucial information. The first thing you will want to know is that the first day of your period is known as DAY ONE of your cycle.
After your period ends, this is when you will notice cervical mucus beginning to appear. Cervical mucus is produced under the influence of estrogen. Estrogen is the predominant hormone during the first half of your menstrual cycle. The presence of this cervical mucus lets you know that your fertile window is approaching. The cervical mucus functions to encourage sperm to be in the right place when the egg drops during ovulation.
Step 2) Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
OPK kits, otherwise known as LH strips, are an inexpensive and easy way to track your ovulation. The OPKs can sense a hormone known as Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This spike in LH is responsible for triggering ovulation. One common mistake women make is thinking that their fertile window starts right when they notice an LH surge, when in reality, the LH surge occurs right BEFORE ovulation.
A positive ovulation test indicates you will likely ovulate in the next 12-48 hours (on average 36hrs) after a positive test. Once you see a spike in LH, it's time to get busy in the next 12-48 hours.
Step 3) Track your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Your basal body temperature is your "at-rest" body temperature. This is your temperature at complete rest. The best way to accurately track this temperature is to take your temperature first thing in the morning before moving around or even getting out of bed. You will want to track your temperature each morning throughout your cycle. Interestingly enough we track your BBT because your temperature goes up slightly under the influence of progesterone. Progesterone is the major hormone produced AFTER ovulation. Knowing when your ovulation ends is just as important as when it starts. This will allow us to preciously understand how long you are ovulating for and what are the best days to get "baby busy".
So now you should have an understand of the three major ways of tracking your fertility. Step 1, includes understanding when we should start looking for ovulation. Step 2) allows you to get "baby busy" and Step 3) allows us to understand when your ovulation window is over.
If you experience no change in BBT or do not get a positive ovulation test during your cycle, this may indicate you are not ovulating which is why you are struggling to get pregnant. If you experience any of these symptoms make sure to consult with your doctor right away so she can complete a more comprehensive analysis to determine why you may not be ovulating and help address the problem sooner.
Many people ask me what my favorite fertility apps and ovulation kits are so I thought I would share a few favorite.
Ava Fertility Bracelet - Not only tracks your basal body temperature but tracks 5 physiological signals of fertility to help detect the very first signs of the fertile window and confirms when it ends.
Femometer - Smart Fertility Tracker
Wink Kindara - Seamless tracking to achieve your fertility goals