Our body is so amazing! And if we are in tune to it we can work out when we are fertile. The fertile window every month is so short and if we get the timing of when we think we are ovulating wrong we might think we are infertile. This leads to going down the rabbit hole of fertility treatments. All because we weren’t having sex at the right time every month. Of course, our failure to conceive may be a lot more complicated than this, however the first step in avoiding this mistake is knowing our body.
You can see from this chart the differences in the cervical mucus during the different phases of our menstrual cycle. Knowing the changes and what to look for helps us with the timing of our fertile window.
Chinese medicine practitioners and other fertility practitioners that work in fertility suggest BBT charting. You can learn more about that here. The basal body temperature is a diagnostic tool for practitioners as it gives us data on your hormones, emotions and the balance of the body. It can tell us if you are ovulating, if the different phases are long or short enough and much more information. It is also a great tool we can use to learn about our body and when we are ovulating (you may need help from your practitioner to interpret your chart).
At different times of the menstrual cycle the cervix excretes mucus to either encourage or prevent conception. Ovulation mucus is excreted by the cervix to assist the sperm to swim up from the vagina into the uterus so one can fertilize an egg in the fallopian tube. But at other times in the month the cervix is blocked by a mucus plug to prevent the sperm entering the uterus. So lets have a deeper look into this.
The menstrual cycle is divided into 4 parts – menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal phases. Each phase has an intricate dance of hormones that effects whether we are fertile or not. The window of fertility is in the ovulatory phase.
Our menstrual phase the opening of the cervix is open to allow for us to shed the endometrial lining. Our body is cleaning out the lining so that every month there is a fresh new lining to potentially nourish a fertilized egg that implants into the lining. Our endometrial lining is responsible for nourishing the embryo until the placenta is formed in week 9 of pregnancy. We want it to fresh and thick, full of nutrients to nourish new life.
In the follicular phase, the cervix has closed and the glands in the cervix secrete mucus that forms a plug to prevent sperm entering the uterus. During this time, the lining in the uterus is beginning to grow again and follicles are growing in the ovaries, one of which will release an egg at ovulation.
During the follicular phase the mucus is dry and thick. Sperm will not be able to pass through the cervical plug and will die in the acidic environment of the vagina.
The next phase is the ovulatory phase. This is when the glands in the cervix produce mucus that helps sperm swim up through the cervix. You are often told the ovulation mucus looks like egg white. However for some women it might be whiter and creamy. The best way to know is when you have gone from dry mucus to more wet. This is your body telling you that you are now fertile. You want to see what your ovulation mucus looks like under the microscope. It is really quite beautiful.
The luteal phase is the phase post ovulation. The mucus plug is reforming and the mucus is no longer assisting sperm. It is dry again until menstruation occurs.
Tracking your cervical mucus and the positioning and texture of your cervix can indicate when you are fertile. Together with a BBT chart it is a great way to understand when you are your body, and when you are fertile.