Getting Pregnant <
Trying to conceive
30/06/2014 at 12:04
Our topic for this week is regarding charting your cycles. What techniques (BBT, fertility monitor, ferning, examining CM, etc) do you use and how do they work? Any advice/helpful hints for how to get the best out of them? What are the pros and cons?
30/06/2014 at 12:07
For me, I temp, record my Cervical Mucus (CM), do ovulation kits (opks) and use a Clearblue Fertility Monitor (CBFM). My reasoning for using so many methods so early on in our TTC journey was because of the wait due to my knee operation and initial attempts to record my cycles showing what I believed to be very irregular - I now know that was just due to a change in ovulation date - something the temping and opks helped me with.
I'll cover temping first - I use an app/website called Fertility Friend to record my data - there are lots of other apps and websites for this purpose.
How does it work: When ovulation occurs, the hormonal changes causes your temp to spike - 3 successive temp increases will confirm ovulation. This technique involves using a Basal Body Thermometer (to 2 decimal places) to record your waking temp (before you get out of bed or eat/drink anything) after at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep and continuing to do this throughout the cycle. Drinking or taking painkillers can skew your temps so best to discard those ones.
Pros: Confirms you are ovulating, reviewing charts will help see patterns for future cycles so you can time intercourse.
Cons: Only shows ovulation after it has happened so, if you have a cycle that doesn't follow your 'normal' patterns, it may be too late by the time you see it!
02/07/2014 at 10:08
I forgot to return to this so will continue the other charting techniques I've been doing. Please feel free to add your own hints and tips on them or any other charting techniques.
Recording Cervical Mucus (CM)
How does it work: If used in conjunction with charting, it can help predict your fertile days before they actually happen. To check your CM, you can either do knicker watching or actually check it with your fingers. Usually after a bowel movement or in the squatting position is best. Your CM will look and feel differently at different times of your cycle. After menses, CM is dry or sticky, the next phase will be creamy or lotion like, (both these are typically not fertile CM). The next type will be watery/wet and this is considered to be fertile, before ovulation. The most fertile CM though is the egg white CM (EWCM). This looks like egg white and is typically stretchy and will not break when you use your thumb and index finger to check the consistency. After ovulation, CM returns to being dry or sticky.
Pros: Once EWCM shows, you are considered at your most fertile so can DTD accordingly as ovulation is imminent
Cons: Not for the faint hearted - you have to be quite comfortable with the checking your cervix with your fingers as its not always easy to see it on your underwear. Can't do it after DTD or before as sperm or arousal fluids can sway the results.
As an aside, if you have been unable to see ewcm, look into taking guaifenesin as this can help thin the mucus making it easier to spot. Also, Toni Weschler's book on Taking Change of Your Fertility' can help understand CM more.
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