It used to be that becoming pregnant was something that happened like magic—even when you didn't want to conceive! But things have changed a great deal. Too many couples have found that becoming pregnant is a goal that remains just out of reach. One way to improve your chances for conception is to chart your ovulation.
Ovulation is when a woman is at her most fertile and most likely to conceive. There are several available methods for predicting ovulation, some of them quite easy and inexpensive and others more hi-tech. Here we list a selection of the best low-tech methods for pinpointing your fertile time.
A marvelous way to track your ovulation is by observing and listening to your own body. Your body gives you a variety of clues about where you are in your cycle. For instance, your cervical mucus undergoes changes throughout your menstrual cycle.
As you near ovulation, your mucus becomes stretchy, watery, thin, slippery, and clear. This is the best kind of mucus for carrying sperm on their way through your vagina into the cervix and on through to your egg. Go make love.
Once ovulation is past, you'll see the mucus thicken, turn white, and become scanty. Your body is telling you that now is not the time to conceive.
Another sign that ovulation is occurring is mittelschmerz. This is abdominal pain that occurs around the time of ovulation. You will feel the pain in the vicinity of your lower right abdomen. The word mittelschmerz comes from two German words that mean "middle" and "pain." The pain may last a few hours or even a few days. Most physicians think of this type of ovulatory pain as a secondary sign of fertility, to be used alongside another sign of ovulation for greater confirmation.
Taking your basal body temperature (resting body temperature) first thing in the morning when you awaken, will help you know when ovulation occurs during your cycle. As you ovulate, your body temperature undergoes a very slight rise. Keep a basal thermometer next to your bed along with some graph paper and a pencil or pen. Try to take your temperature at the same time each day. Chart your temperature each day and watch for a slight rise of from .4-1.0 degrees. After several months of charting, a pattern should emerge, helping you to predict ovulation in the coming cycle.
Keeping a calendar of your menstrual cycle is yet another low-tech way to discover when your fertility is likely to peak. It can also help you figure out a due date for your baby should you become pregnant! But this method works best when a woman has regular menstrual cycles. Just mark a one on the calendar on the day you first get your period and mark out the length of your menstruation by coloring those squares. If you're regular and your period lasts an average of 28 days, ovulation should occur on the 14th day of your cycle.