Tracking your fertile period can give you direction when trying to conceive and help show you when you will be most likely to conceive. Tracking your fertile period can be done by using the length of your cycle, measuring your basal body temperature, and checking cervical mucus. There’s also things that lower your chances of getting pregnant, such as birth control, caffeine, smoking, and drinking.
Tracking Your Fertile Period
Your fertility period depends on the length of your cycle. Track your cycle for a few months, with day 1 being the first day of your period and the last day being the day before your next period. After finding the average, subtract 18 days from the shortest cycle. This will tell you the earliest you’re expected to become fertile. Then subtract 11 days from your longest cycle. This will show you the last day that will be likely to be fertile. The time in between these days is when you’re most likely to conceive.
Basal Body Temperature
The temperature of your body when you’re at rest is your basal body temperature (BBT). Ovulation can cause an increase in BBT and two to three days before the BBT rises, you’ll be the most fertile. You can track your BBT to use as a guide when trying to conceive. It’s important to use a basal body thermometer because it’s more sensitive and shows the temperature to a fraction of a degree, which is important because the change in temperature is small. You should take your BBT in the morning, after getting at least three hours of sleep, before getting out of bed. Then record your temperature on graph paper or an app to look for a pattern. There are also devices, such as himama, that track your BBT while you are sleeping and chart it for you. When you ovulate, the temperature can increase by less than ½ a degree and will remain elevated for three days or more.
Cervical mucus also changes before and during ovulation. In the days leading up to ovulation, the cervical mucus will most likely be a cloudy, whitish color and sticky. Right before ovulation occurs, the mucus changes to be more slippery and stretchy, similar to egg whites. During this time is when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
Fertility After Stopping Birth Control
Birth control such as: the pill, the shot, or the IUD can continue to have an effect on your fertility for a few months after stopping it. The time that it affects your body is different for everyone, but it is something to take into consideration when trying to conceive. It can take time for your hormone levels to return to normal so keep this in mind if you have a timeframe of when you want to conceive.
Caffeine, Smoking, and Alcohol Reduces Chance of Conception
Studies have show that consuming over 200 mg of caffeine daily can decrease fertility in women. If you are wanting to get pregnant, try limiting your caffeine intake to 2 cups of 6-8 ounces of coffee a day. Smoking and heavy drinking have also been associated with a decrease in fertility.
Doing these things doesn’t guarantee you’ll get pregnant, but they do help you to increase your chances. Sometimes it takes our bodies more time to adjust after changing our lifestyle habits or getting off of birth control. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out how to track our fertile period, basal body temperature, and cervical mucus. Be patient with the process and be patient with yourself.