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No matter where you are in your family planning, learning how to track your ovulation is an experience that can help you manage your health throughout the year. As ovulation is the window during the month when a woman is most fertile, being aware of that time frame can help you to conceive or not conceive, dependent on what your goals and intentions are. When using a hormonal birth control like the pill, ovulation is prevented entirely.
How to Track Your Ovulation
Without hormonal birth control, the only way to understand where you are in your cycle is learning how to track your ovulation. Weve put together a brief list of how you might choose to monitor your ovulation throughout the month.
Pregnancy is most likely during the days leading up to ovulation and the date of ovulation. This is when the body is preparing an egg for release, and each womans body handles this time differently. With the average menstrual cycle lasting 28 days, its typical for ovulation to occur on or around day 14, but its possible for your personal cycle to be anything but typical.
Natural Family Planning
Fertility awareness methods of birth control (or FAMs) help prevent pregnancy by abstaining from sex during the most fertile time of the month. Those using a FAM method of birth control may use a condom, diaphragm, or non-intercourse sexual activity on days when ovulation is most likely.
Hormone based birth control is ineffective for many women, resulting in side effects like acne, mood changes, or other unwanted impacts. If your periods are irregular or you are currently breastfeeding, regular tracking of ovulation can provide a natural and easy way to take control of your fertility. FAM birth control allows women to take control of their fertility without impacting their natural hormone cycles.
For natural family planning to be effective, understanding how to track your ovulation is paramount. With the assistance of technology, ovulation tracking is easy to manage no matter which type of monitoring works best for you.
Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature or BBT is one of the most well known methods of ovulation tracking. By using an extremely sensitive thermometer, you can monitor when your BBT increases slightly, demonstrating an increase in progesterone that occurs when ovulation begins.
Learning how to track your ovulation tracking requires consistently measuring your temperature at the same time, everyday. Changing the time of day could result in inaccurate results. Most women using BBT keep a bedside thermometer and check immediately upon waking before getting out of bed.
Cervical Mucus Method
Also known as the Billings Method, monitoring changes in cervical mucus is one method of identifying ovulation. It is the job of cervical mucus to help sperm reach the egg during your fertile window. As your body approaches ovulation, your body will increase in mucus production that looks clear and slippery. This is often described similar to a raw egg white. These are your most fertile days, and to prevent pregnancy intercourse should be avoided at this time.
READ MORE: 11 of the Best Apps for Period Tracking
Using this method to learn how to track your ovulation, cervical mucus is tracked several times per day by checking the color and texture of the discharge or using clean fingers to check the color and texture of the mucus in your vagina. Charting cervical mucus will help identify patterns and show when ovulation is about to occur. This method is slightly more difficult to track, and as a result safe days for sex (without conception) are more limited.
Saliva Ovulation Testing
Using a microscope similar in size to a tube of lipstick, ovulation can be monitored in just a few minutes each day. Saliva ovulation monitoring demonstrates when the body has an increase in sodium chloride, which crystallizes into a fern-like pattern upon drying.
KnowWhen Saliva Ovulation Test Kit has made home monitoring of ovulation through saliva an easy and affordable way to monitor your full cycle each month with the help of their reusable test kit and free monitoring app.
With just a drop of saliva, the test shows when ovulation is about to occur by allowing you to see the fern like crystallization with their compact microscope. Non-fertile days will show the dried saliva results as specs of sand.
To use the KnowWhen(R) kit, apply a drop of saliva first thing in the morning to the test glass surface and wait for it to dry. For best results, do not eat, drink, smoke, or brush your teeth before testing. Place the lens into the housing and hold up to your eye to view the image and compare to the ovulation chart to determine if ovulation is occurring.
After checking, mark the results in the KnowWhen(R) App. The digital chart will help keep track of any patterns that emerge in your cycle.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
By far the most expensive option, LH monitoring allows those using FAM birth control to track when luteinizing hormones are present in urine, identifying peak fertility. LH levels peak 24-36 hours prior to ovulation.
This method of ovulation tracking requires the purchase of multiple test strips each month, and may not be cost effective for pregnancy prevention. Typically, LH monitoring is used in conjunction with those intentionally trying to conceive.
Learn Your Body
Everyone is unique, and understanding the specifics of your cycle can have a lasting impact on your well being outside of birth control methods. Knowing where you are in your cycle can help prepare you for hormonal changes throughout the month or remind you to hit the gym before PMS strikes.
When beginning to track your cycle, start with a trip to the doctor to make sure that you receive professional advice before beginning. You may need additional testing to ensure that you have no hormone imbalances that would make natural methods of birth control more difficult to manage.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Family Planning: Why My Husband Will Never Have a Vasectomy.
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