Knowing how your menstrual cycle works can be important to you for many different reasons, one of which is to know when you are fertile. And this is why fertility awareness matters.
Women are fertile for, on average, 6-7 days during their menstrual cycle. This is the main window of opportunity for you to fall pregnant. if you know when this is it can help you with your pregnancy goals. To either know when to try for a baby, or when not to.
Fertility Awareness: What to Watch
So, how exactly do you go about determining when you are fertile? Well, it’s linked to your ovulation, but there are three specific things that you can keep track of:
- Waking Body Temperature – Your waking temperature is typically 36.1oC to 36.5oC. This waking temperature will increase by 0.3oC after ovulation. It continues to be elevated for the rest of your menstrual cycle until your period starts.
- Cervical Fluid – Your mucous changes colour and consistency, becoming egg white inconsistency.
- Cervix Changes occur, going from harder and lower to higher and softer.
It may take a few cycles to be confident in identifying and tracking these changes, but you can do it.
What does this mean?
Tracking these changes helps you to identify when your fertile period is.
Typically, you will be fertile for 5 days before ovulation and 1 day after ovulation. Why those times? Because sperm can survive for 5 days and the egg for 1 day.
You may ovulate a second time in the next 24 hours after the first ovulation, so to be safe it’s best to add an extra day. This makes a 6 to the 7-day window where you are fertile.
After this window, it’s unlikely that you will be fertile for the rest of your menstrual cycle.
How can you use this?
It takes time and effort to use this system flawlessly, but it can be worth it. Knowing how your body works are empowering, it gives you options. Options that are better for your long-term health than others are.
You can use fertility awareness as part of a preconception plan or as part of a contraception plan. The choice is yours.