If you’re thinking about using natural methods for gauging your fertility and getting pregnant, there are two bits of advice you need to know first off:
1. Once you have ovulated, the egg must be fertilised within 24 hours. Some studies have suggested that the best chance of a successful fertilisation and getting pregnant is in the first 12 hours after ovulation.
2. Sperm have an average survival time of three to four days.
So if you can work out exactly when you’re ovulating and make sure intercourse takes place at the right time for sperm to hit egg, then bam! you’ve cracked it!
A simple way of calculating ovulation is cervical mucus assessment. Sounds yucky, but it’s actually very straightforward. Here’s how to do it:
In the first half of the cycle, when the ovaries are producing only oestrogen, the mucus becomes increasingly fluid and receptive to sperm. As soon as ovulation has occurred, the characteristics of the mucus change abruptly due to the presence of progesterone, which is produced by the ovaries after ovulation.. The mucus becomes sticky, tacky and opaque.
Every time you go to the loo, take note of the quantity, colour, glossiness, transparency, fluidity and stretchiness of the mucus. It will become more clear, wet, slippery and elastic as ovulation approaches.
Just before ovulation, it can be stretched for several centimetres before it breaks, rather like egg white. The change to post-ovulatory, sticky mucus is obvious to the trained eye.