This is probably the most common question I am asked in the clinic, from women starting their journey to conceiving. They find they are bombarded with mixed and conflicting information from ‘Dr Google’ as to really when the most optimum and fertile time of the month is!!
The most reliable natural indicator for assessing your fertile time is to monitor cervical fluids throughout the month. Other methods are ovulation predictor kits, positioning of the cervix and charting your BBT (Basal Body Temperature).
Cervical fluids change in texture, volume and consistency throughout your cycle. It can be described as creamy, watery, and stretchy and there are times of the month when there will be no secretions at all. Each woman differs in the length of her cycle and not everyone ovulates on day 14/15, if you have a longer or shorter cycle, ovulation may occur either side of day14/15.
The best way to break down your cycle is to divide it into phases.
- Post-Menstruation /Pre-ovulation
Phase 1: Menstruation
Women should rest from strenuous activities, keep warm, especially around the lower back and lower abdomen and refrain from sexual activity. This is regarded as a neutral time in the cycle.
Phase 2: Post-Menstruation/Pre-ovulation
There is very little or no discharge in the first few days after the period, the vulva feels dry and chances of pregnancy are slim. As you move towards pre-ovulation the first discharge should feel sticky and slightly creamy and break easily if you pull your fingers apart. There is a medium chance of pregnancy in this phase.
Phase 3: Ovulation
Just before and during ovulation the cervical fluid changes again in consistency to a stretchy egg-yolk like discharge, this is your fertile mucus. The mucus should stretch if you pull your fingers apart and can resemble sperm (important not to confuse the two!). This fluid will help the sperm travel to the egg; it has a more alkaline PH, unlike the regular acidic environment of the vagina, which aids the sperms survival as its PH is also more alkaline. Therefore the most efficient time for conceiving is just before ovulation occurs when this fluid is at its most abundant.
The main points to note about FERTILE cervical mucus is as follows
- more abundant.
- more elastic (stretchy).
- less cellular.
- more watery (less thick).
- higher in pH.
- allows greater sperm penetration.
If the sperm and the cervical mucus become ‘Acquainted’, the sperm can last for up to 72hours (longer than any other time in the cycle). Once ovulation happens and the egg is released it can only last for up to 24hours. Therefore the cervical mucus acts similar to a reservoir until it can meet the egg (usually in the fallopian tubes) and fertilise. So how often should you have intercourse? I personally recommended daily intercourse during the midcycle phase, if there are no male related fertility factors. Some practitioners will advise every second day. However if you are not tracking your cervical mucus efficiently the chances of pregnancy decrease as the egg only survives for up to 24hours.
Phase 4: Post-Ovulation/Pre-Menstruation.
After ovulation the secretions return to a sticky consistency for a number of days and then back again to a relatively dry vaginal environment pre-menstruation. There is a low chance of pregnancy at this stage.
I hope this has cleared up any confusion you may have had about tracking your cycle and its most fertile stage. If you are still unclear or want to find out how Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can work on promoting fertile cervical mucus please call me in confidence on the numbers below.
Clinic No: 01 214 0575
Mobile No: 087 9697413