Fertility Awareness

Fertility Awareness Tools

Many factors contribute to your success in fertilisation. Following the same steps that expectant mothers would take to ensure a healthy pregnancy such as diet, lifestyle and environment will also assist your body in becoming more fertile so you can conceive.  While you might not be pregnant yet, if you are trying to conceive, you will need to create an environment for your body, and for the baby, to thrive.

You can use a variety of method and tools to help become more aware of when you or your partner are most fertile. These tools track the normal functions of the body to determine the optimal times for conception by highlighting the most fertile days in a female menstrual cycle.

Natural Fertility Methods

You can try each natural conception method individually or combine a method with an ovulation test kit. Natural methods include the calendar method, the basal body temperature method (BBT), and/or the cervical mucus method to determine when your body is most fertile.

Becoming aware of your menstrual cycle is the first step in using the calendar method. The average woman has a menstrual cycle between 28 to 32 days. Day 1 actually being the first day of your period. Ovulation usually occurs at around days 7 to 21. Around day 28, the hormone levels in your body will drop and the uterine lining starts to shed (actual shedding is the first day of your next cycle).

To use the calendar method, it is important to track menstrual cycles for at least 6 months prior to wanting to conceive. This method will take into account your first day of your last menstrual cycle, the average length of your cycle (generally not recommended for cycles less than 27 days) and the length of days past ovulation (luteal phase). This method can help determine trends and abnormalities in a woman’s monthly cycle. Using an advanced charting application can make this easier for you.

This method requires charting your basal body temperature over the length of your cycle. There is a change in your BBT that will occur directly after ovulation and will continue to remain elevated until your next period. After you have charted your BBT for a few cycles, you can look through them to determine the pattern of your BBT when ovulation is expected or anticipated. To do this, take your temperature every morning using a basal thermometer. You will then record your temperature on a chart. It is recommended to take your temperature first thing in the morning and keep the time consistent each day.

What to look for: Over the course of a regular menstrual cycle a normal body temperature is around 36.5 degrees Celsius. Just before ovulation occurs, body temperature usually drops to around 36.2 degrees. At the time of ovulation, the temperature will increase climb until it measures around 37 degrees. As once it spikes you will most likely have ovulated, it is recommended to begin intercourse when the drop in BBT is noticed. Note: Some women will not have a drop in temperature, so look for the spike and make note for the next month.

This method requires charting changes in your cervical mucus during your monthly menstrual cycle. Directly after your period, a series of dry mucous days will occur. However, when an egg ripens the cervical mucus changes and may become yellow or white/cloudy and feel “sticky”. In general, you will have the most mucous right before ovulation in which the mucous becomes clear and feels “slippery” (commonly referred to as “egg whites”). These mucous days are considered your most fertile days. The mucous will then become considerably less and appear cloudy/feel sticky again after approximately 4 days and then again dry right before your period. Many women track their CM with their BBT.

Ovulation Test Kit

You can purchase devices, which can help you determine when a female is ovulating. Using an ovulation predictor kit or charting your monthly cycles will help you to become more familiar with when the most fertile days of the month are. You can use our ovulation calendar below to help you begin to track your monthly cycle.

Try out our Ovulation Calculator today!

Identifying the days of ovulation will help you determine the most favourable time for conception to occur and therefore optimise your chances of getting pregnant. Use this calculator to predict your most fertile days.

Ovulation

Ovulation occurs when an egg matures and is released from the ovary; it then travels down the Fallopian tubes and is ready to be fertilised. The uterine lining becomes thicker in preparation for egg fertilisation and implantation if fertilised. If the egg does not become fertilised: conception does not occur, and the uterine lining will shed (menstruation).

Factors Affecting Ovulation:

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Health & Wellness
  • Disruption to your normal routine

Facts about Ovulation:

  • Generally only one egg is released per cycle from your ovaries.
  • The egg lives approximately 12-24 hours after being released.
  • Women are born with millions of eggs; that number decreases as they age.
  • Your body increases the production of estrogen in the days leading up to ovulation. Estrogen (specifically estradiol) is what triggers your luteinising hormone to surge. (The surges in estrogen are responsible for making the environment more “sperm-friendly” within your body, as well as causing the uterine wall to thicken (progesterone)
  • An LH surge is when your luteinising hormone increases. This surge is generally the day before or day of ovulation when your ovaries release an egg.
  • An egg that is unfertilised will disintegrate and be shed with the lining during menstruation.

Some women experience minor pain or discomfort when ovulating, some experience light spotting.

Conception

Conception occurs when a sperm penetrates a mature egg. The fertilised egg starts dividing into many cells and continues its journey down the Fallopian tubes into the uterus where it implants itself into the endometrium. The cervix becomes “plugged” by thick mucus in preparation for the next nine months. Your baby will be termed an embryo until the 8th week after fertilisation, of which the term for your baby will be fetus!

Tips for getting pregnant:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Decrease alcohol intake and stopping alcohol intake once pregnant.
  • Stop recreational drug use.
  • Discontinue use of contraceptives.
  • Lower stress levels.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and remain active.
  • Know your cycle.
  • Begin taking vitamins and increase folic acid intake.

Your partner should follow similar tips in order to be healthy for conception to occur.

If you think you may be pregnant; use a pregnancy test kit at home and be sure to contact your doctor to make an appointment as soon as possible!