SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



Determine When You Ovulate

Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKS)

How they work and what they can do for you: Many women find OPKS kits helpful because it will tell a woman before she ovulates. There are two types of OPKs, and three if you count the digital. The first two are very similar and work on the same principals. Everyday after holding your bladder for three or more hours you will urinate on a stick until you eventually get a positive. The difference is in the reading of the positive or negative result. Some brands have two lines always and the first line needs to be as dark as or darker than the control line. The other brands only have one line and unless it is positive, then it gets two lines. With these any second line is a positive. In 24-48 hours after the positive test, you will ovulate and this is your most fertile time. Woman use OPKs to know beforehand that they are in that most fertile time and have sex to ensure there is an army of sperm waiting at the gate for the egg.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

How it works and what it can do for you: Basal Body Temp is a method of temping with a specific thermometer that recognizes slight shifts in temperature that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. The woman must take her temperature after she has been in bed without any activity for at least four hours. It doesn't have to be upon waking, just the same time of day or hour. During ovulation her temp will take a dip and then spike back up after ovulation has happened. This increase of temperature is slight, usually right at .04 degrees. The temperature shift is due to a surge in progesterone that causes the blood vessels to dilate. This surge will stay and keep temps elevated until the progesterone levels drop back down 24-48 hrs before the period arrives or will stay up for 18 or more days if pregnancy has occurred.

In addition, some woman will get a minor dip around implantation time and the temps will shoot back up. The chart will then be triphasic. This temperature dip will be very small and not the same as ovulation. What BBT will tell you is that you did ovulate, after the fact. It will prove to a doctor whether or not you have a fertility issue related to ovulation. BBT cannot be used to catch your most fertile days. It is just a confirmation that ovulation did or didn't happen.

Cervical Mucus (CM): What does it mean?

A woman’s CM changes frequently throughout a cycle. All women have different amounts and kinds of CM before and after ovulation. CM tends to be white, creamy, and thick. It can also range from dry and flaky to moist like lotion. There is no right or wrong. It is individual to each woman and each cycle. Around the time of ovulation the CM will become more abundant and thin out. Some woman will get a clear, slippery and stretchy egg-white type CM, but not always. Some woman will get a more abundant, slippery and thinner white CM. Either way, this process is normal. CM is not a good way of monitoring fertility because it is not always the same for each woman or for each cycle. It doesn’t necessarily predict ovulation. As long as the CM has become thinner and more abundant, this is normal for your ovulation time. Some over the counter cough medications such as Robitussin GU and Mucinex, can help thin out the CM more and has been stated to aid in sperm motility.

Fertility Monitors and Slides

These devices are high tech and to use them, you must be very diligent on reading and following directions per the instructions. You must be able to understand what words on the monitor mean and if it is slides, what the proper pattern really looks like. These are actually the most reliable ways to know when you are most fertile, but are easily not used or interpreted properly. Most women can get extremely frustrated trying to use them and found themselves more stressed in the long run. But others swear by them and would use nothing else. So if you are great at following directions, this is a great thing.

If you are having difficulties with fertility, try one of these methods before spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatment. If you are still not conceiving or do not fully understand how to predict your ovulation, speak to your health care provider.

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