In many cultures a women's body has always been a taboo subject. Even today as result of conditioning, or from the pure distraction of a very hectic or disorderly lifestyle, the taboo still goes on.
Regardless of the reasons, women can gain a significant amount of control over their health, fertility and reproductive planning simply by getting in touch with their cycles.
By keeping a ovulation calendar of your fertile days handy and marking days of menstruation each month, a woman can easily keep track of her periods, which in turn will help her keep track of ovulation.
This can be very helpful for determining fertile days, thus making conception easier to achieve; or contraception easier to manage.
Bear in mind that regardless of whether you’re looking to get pregnant or prevent pregnancy, your fertility journey (and treatment) and/or birth control (once you’ve had your babies) will be much more successful if they are customized to your individual needs.
Let me emphasize that every woman has her own inner workings, a biological clock, if you like. Textbooks generally state that every 28 days menstruation occurs, and that ovulation occurs on or around the 14th day of a woman’s monthly cycle.
This does not apply to every woman. While there may be people who are on the textbook 28 day schedule like clockwork, there are still many whose monthly rhythms are tuned to a different drum! Some women menstruate every 30 or 35 days like clockwork, because this is what is normal for them.
What tends to vary is the number of days that lapse between menstruation and the next expected ovulation; however, it is generally accepted that for most women menstruation does generally occur approximately 14 days after ovulation has finally taken place.
Unless in cases of luteal phase defects, which can dramatically impair fertility in women — seek the advice of a competent and qualified naturopath to address this, if it’s a problem for you.
While this counting and record keeping is important and helpful, used alone it is not foolproof.
The most important aspect of determining your fertile days and keeping up with your cycle is paying attention to changes in bodily functions, especially vaginal secretions.
That said, let us take a look at different physical and psychological aspects of the monthly cycle (note that whilst changes are expected and most women can experience discomfort before and during menstruation — symptoms are a sign of imbalance, which should be addressed and not simply thought of as normal just because most women experience them!):
Know Thyself! to Determine Fertile Days
First Week: Menstruation :: Bleeding ceases, generally followed by a surge in energy levels.
If unpleasant symptoms are experienced, these generally subside when menstruation starts — eg. moods, sleep patterns and eating habits — becoming normal once again (if this is happening for you, seek the assistance of a competent and qualified naturopath). Vaginal dryness may be present, or mucous will be scant.
Second Week: As the time of ovulation nears, vaginal mucous may increase, will often become thinner, may appear white or clear. When ovulation occurs, approximately around the 14th day, — the vagina may frequently be “wet,” as the mucus becomes thinner. Sexual arousal and romantic feelings may be heightened, and one may experience breast tenderness, bloating, cramps or moodiness.
Third Week: Moodiness may or may not subside. Vaginal wetness decreases, as this is the post-ovulation phase. Mucus may thicken or decrease.
Fourth Week: Some women experience pre-menstrual symptoms, which may include moodiness, bloating, headaches, cramps, fatigue or lethargy, appetite increase or decrease, sex drive may decrease or increase, sleep disturbances or others. If this is happening for you be sure to seek professional advice as it may be a sign of hormonal imbalances, which can decrease your chances of a healthy conception.
Be mindful when examining vaginal secretions, that the mucus becomes thinner during ovulation so the sperm can swim to the egg easily. This is why paying attention to your fluids is crucial in determining your most fertile days as it is your fertile mucus (egg-white like aka spin or spinnbarkeit), which precedes and heralds the approach of ovulation.
If you’re serious about charting your fertility to learn when are you most fertile, it may be useful to mark the days on which you show symptoms of ovulation as well as the days of your period to help you with conception timing. This will allow you to see more accurately how many days typically lapse between menstruation and ovulation. FertilityFriend.com is a great charting tool, which will teach you lots about your own cycle.
Understanding a woman’s own unmistakable signs of fertility is one of the tools I teach each and every single one of my patients, because this is the one skill that gives you most control over your fertility and conception attempts by teaching you how to know your most fertile time of cycle. It also enables me to clearly understand (when things do not go to plan) where I need to focus my efforts as your practitioner to ensure my patients get the results they are after: their very own happy and healthy baby.
Because understanding your own fertility cycle is a key element of fertility treatment success, this information is now delivered outside the Natural Fertility Breakthrough Program. We offer the Understanding Your Conception Cycle three week program to help couples develop a better understanding of their conception cycle and body’s fertile signs in order to optimise your chances of getting pregnant.