Ovulation tracking

Tracking ovulation.

There are many different ways to work out when you are likely to ovulate and there are many kits on the market the help you predict this. Your own body however, is the best kit possible, and changes in your vaginal mucous and basal body temperature are excellent and potentially fool-proof methods of knowing you are going to ovulate – when you are doing them properly.

Vaginal Mucous versus Basal Body Temperature

There are monthly changes in the secretions produced by the cervix and they provide straightforward way for women to observe their most fertile times. The dramatic shift in basal body temperatures (BBT) occurs at the time of ovulation, while the change in cervical mucus occurs several days leading up to ovulation. Observing cervical mucous allows women the opportunity to time intercourse for conception, whereas BBT charts will notify you when you have ovulated and you will have most likely missed your window of opportunity for conception.

Medically speaking.

The cervix is the neck of the uterus, leading to the vagina. It’s not a smooth pipe, but a passage filled with crevices. In these nooks and crannies, cervical mucous is produced and released. Hormonal changes over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle affect the amount and the consistency of cervical mucous. In a way, cervical mucous is the gatekeeper of the reproductive system. Sperm released into the vagina have to swim through the cervix–and its CM–and past the uterus if they are to successfully fertilise the egg as it makes its passage down the fallopian tubes.

For most of the cycle, cervical mucous acts as a barrier to sperm. It protects the cervix chemically–with white blood cells fighting foreign bodies–and mechanically–acting as a plug and closing the cervical canal.

But during the fertile phase, the consistency and composition of cervical mucous changes. Instead of being a barrier, cervical mucous now aids and accelerates the sperm's passage through the cervix. cervical mucous during the fertile phase also extends sperm longevity, allowing them to live for up to five days within the female body. The cervical mucous even acts as a quality control device, screening the sperm and catching any with irregular or curved swimming.

By observing cervical mucous to pinpoint the fertile phase, women can help increase their chances of conception. Changes in cervical mucous will indicate the days leading up to ovulation, and sexual intercourse during this time will ensure that sperm—nourished by fertile phase cervical mucous will be present when the egg is released.

What to Look For

A woman can monitor her cervical mucous by feel or appearance. The sensation of cervical mucous in the vagina–dry, moist, or wet–is one clue to follow for detecting impending ovulation. The colour (white, creamy, cloudy or clear) and consistency (sticky, or smooth and slippery) are others.

Women can see and feel cervical mucous when it moistens their underwear, or when they wipe themselves with toilet paper. Bearing down (such as with a bowel movement) or releasing the muscles following a Kegel exercise may release more mucus. Women can also conduct a “finger test.” To do this, a woman should first wash her hands, then carefully insert a finger into the vagina. When the finger is removed, she can observe and note the colour and consistency of the cervical mucous by stretching it out between two fingers. Because it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish between cervical mucous and semen, it’s best to test cervical mucous before intercourse, or wait for a while afterwards. Cervical mucus can also be altered by vaginal infections, medication, and birth control.

The chart below gives the information for de-coding CM to detect ovulation.

Phase

Sensation

CM Appearance

Pre-ovulatory

Dry

No visible mucus.

Fertile

Moist or sticky

White or cream coloured, thick to slightly stretchy. Breaks easily when stretched. 

Highly Fertile

Slippery, wet, lubricated 

Increase in amount. Thin, watery, transparent, like egg white.

Post-ovulatory 

Dry or sticky

Sharp decrease in amount. Thick, opaque white or cream-colored.

Professionals describe the most fertile cervical mucous as “raw egg white.” This fertile cervical mucous is clear, and may stretch several centimetres before it breaks.

Parts of this article are from www.parenting.com