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From the blog:
The Hormone Cycle of a Woman
Each month a woman's body goes through some pretty extraordinary changes. These changes are what is commonly referred to as the hormone cycle. Keeping this hormone cycle in balance is what helps with menstruation, ovulation, and pregnancy. When the hormones are not in balance a woman may find...

Understanding The Fertility Cycle

The Fertility CycleThe miracle of modern medicine has helped clue us in more than ever before to our bodies unique cycle of fertility. Fertility awareness involves many different practices that help you learn your bodies unique fertility signals. When you become more aware of your fertility cycle and how it works it makes conceiving much easier. Having an in depth knowledge of your fertility cycle also helps you keep track of your menstrual cycle, detect the early signs of pregnancy and it can even help alert you of possible medical issues that need attention.

Learning your bodies three basic signs of fertility will help you become more familiar with your body and can make conception more likely. The three signs of fertility involve basal body temperature, cervical secretion changes and cervical position. These are all the signs that combined let you know that your are ovulating. To gain an in depth understanding of your bodies fertility cycle you must observe these signs and chart them so that you are able to notice the subtle changes that signal fertility.

The first thing that you should do when you want to learn more about your fertility cycle and your body is to become more aware of your bodies menstrual cycle. Menstruation occurs when your body shed the lining of your uterus because a pregnancy did not take place during that months cycle. On the very first day of your menstrual cycle the level of estrogen and progesterone are very low, but as your cycle goes on in days estrogen increases daily. On the 14th day of your menstrual cycle estrogen is at its highest and that is what causes an egg to be released from the ovaries. After the egg is released from the ovaries it can be fertilized for up to 24 hours. During this time you can have sex and possibly conceive. After ovulation occurs estrogen begins to drop and progesterone starts to increase. The progesterone works to create a thick uterine lining suitable for implantation of a fertilized egg. After a certain point in the cycle, usually around day 28 if implantation does not occur the progesterone begins to drop and menstruation begins starting the cycle all over again.

Once you have established the inner workings of your menstrual cycle and you feel that you have a good understanding of your cycles timing, you can move on to learning about the three signs of ovulation. Basal body temperature can help signal fertility, so charting your body temperature can help you more clearly see the signs of ovulation. Basal body temperature is your bodies at rest temperature. Your BBT is lower during the first two weeks of your cycle, before ovulation occurs. After ovulation has occurred your BBT goes up until your next period starts.

When you notice your temperature is starting to rise it is an indication that ovulation has occurred and that you are within your range of fertility. There are many tips for properly and effectively charting your basal body temperature. Use the an intended thermometer intended for that purpose and always use the same one. Keep the thermometer at bedside so that you don’t have to get up to take your temperature. Additionally, keep the notebook or journal you are using with the thermometer so you can chart before you forget the exact temperature. Take your temperature the same time each morning, before you get out of bed and leave the thermometer in place for five minutes so that you get an accurate reading. Start recording your BBT on the first day of your period. Keep a record of your temperature for each day and any outside factors that may have affected your temperature like fever, upset, lack of sleep or sex. Keeping track of all this will be helpful when you are ready to conceive, especially if you have difficulty and need the advice of a physician.

Keeping track of your cervical mucus may not sound like a pleasant task, but it can be extremely helpful in getting pregnant. Cervical mucus changes when your body has hormonal shifts during your menstrual cycle. After your period has come and gone, generally you will not have any discharge for a few days. During that first week the cervical mucus will become sticky or tacky feeling. When ovulation gets closer the cervical mucus becomes creamier, clear and slick and you can stretch is out between your fingers when touched. When your mucus takes on that clear, slick appearance you are at your peak fertility time.

It is important when you are charting your cervical mucus to make note of changes like this. Color, amount and consistency are all important factors in your cervical mucus relation to fertility. When you are charting your cervical mucus always chart at the same time of day. There are many factors that can change your cervical mucus so keeping track of outside factors and maintaining the same time for checking are important parts of the process.

The position of your cervix is another important sign of fertility. During the first half of your cycle your cervix is firm and lower in the vagina. When you ovulate your cervix is open, soft and higher up. After ovulation occurs your cervix will close within a few days and again become firm and closed. Checking your cervix is fairly easy. You of course want to wash your hands and you should also pick the same time each day to check your cervix. If your cervix feels easy to reach it means that your cervix is low. If it seems harder to reach that means it is high. If your cervix feels like the cartilage of your nose or ear it is hard. You may also not if it feels like it is open or closed. Making note of all of these changes in your cervix will help you to determine when you are ovulating.

Once you have been keeping regular organized records for a few months or cycles you will begin to notice a pattern of changes in your body beginning around the same time each month. The signs from your basal body temperature, cervical mucus and cervical position will line up and coincide with one another, making it easy for you to see that everything is lining up for ovulation. Knowing the signals and processes of your unique fertility cycle will enable you to better determine your fertility level and possibly help you to conceive.

 
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