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Trying to Conceive? Chart Your Cycle

by Rebecca Eanes

Timing is everything! It’s very helpful to know which days you are most fertile when you’re trying to get pregnant, and charting your cycles can help you figure out when the best time to have sex is. Generally speaking, the menstrual cycle is 28 days (or so). Ovulation generally occurs about 14 days after the first day of your period, or cycle day 14. If this is the case, you’d be most fertile from days 9-14 of your cycle. But all cycles aren’t so predictable, so here are some ways to get a more accurate view of your fertile window.

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Basal Body Temperature

This is your temperature as soon as you wake up. You can buy a basal body thermometer at most stores. Take your temperature each morning before you get out of bed and chart it. Just after you ovulate, your temperature rises slightly and stays up until your period begins. By charting your temps for a few months, you’ll have a pretty good idea when you ovulate by the increase in your temperature.

Cervical Mucus

The mucus that your cervix makes is made by the same hormones that control your menstrual cycle. Just before ovulation, your cervix produces more mucus, and it is often the consistency of egg whites and can be stretchy and slippery. When you see this type of mucus, you are most fertile. Cervical mucus throughout your cycle can be sticky, cloudy, or cream-like. To chart, check your mucus at the same time each day either with a tissue wipe or your fingers. Record its color and consistency. When it’s clear, slippery, and stretchy, you’re fertile and near ovulation.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

These are found near the pregnancy tests and can help you pinpoint your fertile days. It’s probably the easiest and quickest way to find out, though of course they aren’t 100% accurate.

Recommended charting apps and tips on page 2...

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