The Joys (and Frustrations) of Monitoring Your Fertility – Part One

Posted on February 19th, 2009. Written by .

I think it’s probably assumed, but since I haven’t actually stated it, I am not a doctor. Your fertility journey is best directed by your doctor/midwife/ob-gyn and your unique personal conditions. Any posts I make regarding possible aids/tests/supplements are to be taken as a point in which to start your own research and to spark the conversation with your medical specialist….

Part One:

Monitoring your fertility….depending on the person, the budget, the condition it can be anywhere from free and easy to expensive and complicated.

Let’s look take a look at some of your standard options.


Calendar: Determining how long it is from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period, subtracting 14 days and assuming you are fertile for the two days prior to that date – two days after that date. For example, 30 day cycle – 14 days would put the fertile period (and intercourse timing) from day 14-18.

Pros:

  • Cost: Free
  • Ease: Pretty Simple
  • Materials needed: Calendar

Cons:

  • Stress, sleep, exercise, illness and more can all delay ovulation (sometimes to the point of completely missing your presumed fertile window). This leads to stress about possible pregnancy when your period doesn’t show up “when it should”. As a result, you can waste months trying at the wrong point and money on pregnancy tests.

Basal Body Temperatures: Using a specialized thermometer (average $10 available at most retail stores) you record your waking temperature (either orally or vaginally) at the same time every morning, recording them on a chart and watching the patterns to determine potential fertile periods.

Pros:

  • Relatively cheap (one time purchase for the thermometer, optional repeated purchase of tracking software such as Fertilityfriend.com, or Ovusoft Software)
  • Reusable
  • More accurate at pinpointing ovulation (and therefore knowing when you should expect your period)
  • Prospect of “predicting” a positive pregnancy test (through a sustained/increasing waking temperature)

Cons:

  • Can be influenced through illness (fevers/congestion/etc), lack of sleep, alcohol, room temperature (drastic changes) and make it difficult to determine ovulation (if it occurs around ovulation time).
  • You have to have at minimum of 3 hours of sleep and have a standard waking time (if the earliest you wake up is 5:30 for work, you have to temp at 5:30 on your days off too).
  • Repeated purchases of monitoring software can become expensive
  • BBT will show you when ovulation has occurred, possibly too late for successful timing (when charting is your only method)

Charting the physical signs: Monitoring the physical signs of fertility: Cervical Position (CP), Cervical firmness/opening (CF) and/or Cervical Mucus (CM).  Cervical position will move from low and firm (infertile) to high and soft (fertile).  Cervical Mucus will move from sticky or tacky (infertile) through Watery or Eggwhite (fertile).  While CM can be checked externally (from the opening of the vagina) CP and CF can only be checked internally (placing one or two clean fingers into the vagina and feeling for the changes with the cervix.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Can signal approaching fertility, allowing you to take maximum advantage of the days leading up to ovulation
  • Can also be used in avoiding pregnancy

Cons:

  • Some women are “grossed out” by checking internally for these signs.
  • Some women have problems identifying what they are looking for.  (Unable to distinguish the location of the cervix, firmness, opening)
  • Some are confused by the differences between the consistencies of the CM.  Additionally, some are confused between seminal leftovers and cervical mucus.

Stay tuned for part two!

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 1:57 pm and is filed under Fertility Aids, Monitoring Your Fertility, Trying to Conceive.
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