An ovulation calendar helps a woman chart her cycle in order to determine her most fertile days. Knowing this information can help a woman become pregnant by timing intercourse with her days of ovulation. In turn, it can also help to avoid an unwanted pregnancy by avoiding unprotected intercourse during the time of ovulation. There are several predictive strategies involved in charting, as well as some alternate methods of calculating ovulation.
- Create a fertility chart. A chart can use one or more methods to pinpoint your window of opportunity. Accurate charting provides a written record displaying distinct cycle patterns. Every cycle offers predictable changes in many bodily functions. Tune into your body by recognizing the changes. Things to chart include observing cervical mucous, cervical position and basal body temperature (BBT).
- Observe cervical mucus. The consistency of cervical mucous changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Recording your cervical mucous patterns will help you to determine when you ovulate. Cervical mucus starts out dry at the beginning of your cycle, and as your cycle progresses to ovulation, it becomes clearer, thin and stretchy, resembling egg whites. This is when you are most fertile.
- Check cervix position. The cervix tends to shift higher in your body and is softer in touch during ovulation. This is a tricky method that can take several times testing your cervix to notice any changes. As ovulation approaches, the cervix will be more difficult to reach. Before and after ovulation, it should be lower and harder to the touch.
- Basal body temperature. BBT is a resting temperature that should be taken first thing in the morning while you are still in bed and at the same time every day. If you move around before taking your temperature, the results will be skewed. A thermometer made specifically to track BBT is a good idea since it is more accurate. A basal body thermometer is more sensitive than a regular thermometer and provides more accurate readings. Regular thermometers are only accurate to .2 degrees Fahrenheit, while a basal body thermometer is accurate to .1 degrees Fahrenheit. Record each reading on your chart, understanding that BBT charting allows you to know about ovulation after it has already occurred. Therefore it is necessary to chart for several months before you can begin to predict ovulation with this method.
- Online calendars. There are several sites you can access on the Internet that provide electronic calendars for ovulation prediction and charting. These have you plug in several factors to help you determine your most fertile days, such as length of cycle and date of last menstrual period. These work best for a woman with a regular cycle as they provide approximate dates only, and should not be your only method of calculating ovulation.
- Menstrual charting. Using this simple method, calculate average number of days in your cycle. After several months a formula will help determine fertile times. Subtract 18 days from the end of your shortest cycle and 11 from your longest.
- Irregular cycles. There are some things that can make your cycle irregular such as stress and frequent exercise. Irregular cycles make it much harder to predict ovulation. However, you should still attempt to look for signs and keep a chart to average the dates in order to give yourself the best chance for conception.
We hope this will make you successful in your personal goals, whether to become pregnant or prevent pregnancy.