To Easily Anticipate Your Period And Connect The Dots Between Your Cycle And Unexplained Symptoms
As Chair of the Modern Fertility Medical Advisory Board Dr. Nataki Douglas, MD, says, Understanding your cycle and predicting your period are linked.
Have you ever been surprised by the arrival of your period, finding yourself without any menstrual hygiene products left at home or in your bag? Or maybe you get killer cramps and rely on certain medications to ease your pain, and you forgot to head to the pharmacy because you didnt realize youd be needing relief so soon. Tracking your cycle is a great way to anticipate your period: It helps you learn the usual lengths of your periods, the regularity of your cycle, and its likely start date that month. That way, youre as prepared as possible to care for your symptoms and flow as soon as they happen.
How Does Ovulation Occur
Ovulation occurs when an egg is released during menstruation. After release, the egg travels down the fallopian tube. It can either be fertilized by sperm or if no fertilization occurs, it causes your next period cycle. For healthy women, ovulation usually happens in the middle of their menstrual cycle. Women are born with all the eggs they have and only a small percentage of them could potentially lead to pregnancy.
Ovulation is controlled by hormone releases, which are managed by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. It instructs the pituitary gland to secrete follicle-stimulation hormone and luteinizing hormone . The hormones also trigger certain changes to the body such as mucus properties, electrolytes inside the vagina, and saliva crystallization. After ovulation occurs, basal body temperature increases by about 0.5°F.
How Accurate Are Fertility Apps
“Unless someone is checking ovulation through physical means, like by using an ovulation prediction kit, the cycle app is just providing an estimate of when their fertile days are,” Dr. Chan says.
In fact, a 2018 study found that the accuracy of prediction by menstrual cycle apps was no better than 21%.
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Natural Cycles Requires Data And Diligence
Natural Cycles, which costs $79.99 a year and includes a basal body thermometer, requires daily input to inform women about when it’s safe to have sex, or avoid sexual activity to prevent pregnancy. Natural Cycle’s Berglund Scherwitzl says the app contains an “algorithm that can accurately determine a womans daily fertility based on changes in her basal body temperature which increases after ovulation.
The proprietary algorithm is designed to account for a variety of factors including “sperm survival, variation in cycle length, temperature fluctuations and the length of the follicular and luteal phase,” according to the company. Based on that information, the app will display a “red day,” alerting you to avoid sex, or a “green day” indicating that it’s safe to have to intercourse.
How To Track Your Fertile Window
The following method will help you find out your fertile window.
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Traditional Calendar Rhythm Method
The traditional calendar method of birth control relies on you to track data from your previous menstrual cycles to predict your fertile days.
The traditional calendar rhythm method includes the following steps:
- Track your menstrual cycle on a calendar for at least six months before using the rhythm method.
- Each month, mark the first day of your period, then count the number of days until the first day of your next period. The days between your periods may vary. For instance, one month it might be 28 days and the next month it might be 27 days.
- Find your first fertile day by finding the shortest number of days between periods and subtract 18. For example, if your shortest day was 28 days, subtract 18 to get 10.
- Use that number to count the days from the first day of your period. That is likely your first fertile day.
- Find the last fertile day by finding the longest cycle you tracked and subtract 11. Say your longest cycle was 30 days, so subtract 11 to get 19.
- Use that number to count the days from the first day of your period. This is likely your last fertile day.
The calendar method gives you a rough idea of when you may be fertile, but it is not precise or 100% effective.
How To Track Ovulation To Conceiving Quickly
When you are trying to conceive a baby, you have to track your ovulation period to avoid long-term waiting. This is not only for the moment when you want a baby but also for the time when you dont want a baby, as well. To avoid unwanted pregnancy, tracking the ovulation period is very crucial. It will help you to know the period when you will be pregnant. There are so many people who want a baby but miss the exact time to utilize it when they are supposed to be active for getting pregnant.
As a result, they have to wait for a long time and sometimes it makes them frustrated and pessimistic. You can easily avoid his experience and enjoy your pregnancy if you know when you can be pregnant. Today, we have decided to give a proper concept about the way you can track your ovulation period. We tried to make this article easily understandable and full of information. Hopefully, you will enjoy it. So, without any further do, lets get into the details.
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How Do I Know If I Have Ovulated
Signs of ovulation to look out for Your basal body temperature falls slightly, then rises again. Your cervical mucus becomes clearer and thinner with a more slippery consistency similar to that of egg whites. Your cervix softens and opens up. You may feel a slight twinge of pain or mild cramps in your lower abdomen.
What Is The Rhythm Method
The rhythm method is a type of birth control. Sometimes referred to under the category of natural family planning, or NFP, this approach to birth control involves a woman monitoring when she is fertile and avoiding sexual activity, or using other types of birth control such as condoms, at that time of her cycle. The rhythm method is also called the fertility awareness method.
The rhythm method is not as effective at preventing pregnancy as other methods, such as taking birth control pills it is only effective about 76 percent of the time but it appeals to some women who do not like the side effects that are possible with other options. It is also appealing to women who have religious objections to using medical forms of birth control.
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Why Cant I Use Clue As Contraception
Many apps show a window of time when you are considered fertile, however, the exact timing of ovulation is difficult to predict and can vary cycle to cycle . For example, during one cycle you might ovulate on day 15, and on the next cycle, you could ovulate on day 13 . There are many factors that affect when and if your ovulation window fluctuates which can include things like stress, illness, exercise, and diet . Itâs untrue that you can only get pregnant on the day of ovulation, so you should always use some form of birth control if you donât want to become pregnant.
Clue previously indicated a fertile window because we knew that some users found this helpful when trying to conceive. However, this was intended only as an estimated indication of your most fertile days. It wasnât designed to assure that users could safely have unprotected sex outside of this period if they were trying to avoid pregnancy. We were concerned that some of our users misunderstood the fertile windowâs purpose.
Some apps have been developed with the goal of being used as birth control. They estimate and indicate days where they consider a userâs risk of pregnancy to be low, or high . To do this, they take into account the rules of certain Fertility Awareness Based Methods , cycle regularity, and sometimes measures including cervical fluid, basal body temperature, your period start dates, or a combination of two or more of these measurements depending on the method.
Cervical Mucous Method Or Billings Method
The mucus inside your vagina changes during the month. Right after your period your vagina may feel quite dry, then around the time of ovulation the mucus becomes clear and stretchy, like raw egg white. After you have ovulated, it becomes thicker and cloudier. You can use these changes to work out when you ovulate. You should not have sex until 3 dry days have passed.
This method isn’t suitable if you have abnormal bleeding from your vagina, if you have inflammation in your cervix or vagina, or if you’re taking some medicines, including antibiotics, antihistamines or thyroid medicines, which can change your cervical mucus. Getting sexually aroused or having semen in your vagina can make it harder to tell what your mucus is like.
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How To Track Ovulation With Irregular Periods
Many mothers-to-be often ask How can I track ovulation with irregular periods?. This question is very common and there are multiple solutions available.Irregular periods create a challenge in tracking ovulation and knowing when the best time is to have sex in order to get pregnant. The good news is that tracking ovulation with irregular periods is pretty easy to pinpoint. You can even track your ovulation with a good amount of precision thanks to the advancement of modern medicine.
What Is Fertility Awareness
Fertility awareness is knowing and recognizing when youve entered the fertile window of your menstrual cycle. This fertile window includes the five days before your ovaries release an egg each month and the day of ovulation. These are the six days youre most likely to get pregnant based on the idea that sperm can live in the uterus for up to five days and an egg can survive 12-24 hours after ovulation.
Fertility awareness-based methods are the methods used to naturally track when your body is entering the fertile window. FABMs can be used to predict when youre most likely to conceive each month or as a natural form of birth control giving you an indication of which days you should avoid sexual intercourse or use a barrier method such as a condom.
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What Are The Disadvantages Of Fertility Awareness
If you use fertility awareness to avoid getting pregnant, one disadvantage is that women who use fertility awareness are more likely to get pregnant than women who use other forms of contraception. It depends how strictly you follow the method. About 1 in every 4 women who use these methods will get pregnant.
It can take quite a lot of time and patience to get fertility awareness right and you need to follow instructions carefully. Even so, some women will always find it difficult to predict when they are ovulating.
Remember also that fertility awareness can be affected if you are ill, stressed, taking some medicines or having sex.
How Does Ovulation App Work
When a woman ovulates her basal body temperatures rise. So by accurately tracking your temperatures on a daily basis, you can know when your safe days are and when are the days you better avoid intercourse or use protection.
So any app that accurately predicts the dates of your ovulation and alerts you will help you avoid sexual activities that can lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
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Are Fams Effective For Birth Control
According to the National Health Service , FAMs can be up to 99% effective if people follow them carefully.
However, Planned Parenthood estimates that FAMs are around 7688% effective. These numbers mean that 1224 couples out of 100 who use FAMs may still conceive.
Other forms of contraception, such as intrauterine devices and implants, are typically more effective than FAMs.
It is possible to increase the effectiveness of FAMs by:
- taking advice from a healthcare professional who has expert knowledge of using FAMs
- checking ones body temperature, cervical mucus, menstrual cycle length, and other fertility signs every day
- avoiding vaginal sex or using another form of birth control on ones most fertile days
Certain factors can affect fertility signals, such as:
- illness, stress, and travel in different time zones
- irregular periods
- using hormonal contraception in the months before using FAMs
It is also important that people check their temperature at the same time each day. If a person forgets or records their temperature at a different time of day, their readings will not be accurate.
The NHS says that it can take 36 months to become familiar with ones menstrual cycle, so FAMs are not an easy, quick, or completely reliable way to prevent pregnancy.
Also, FAMs do not offer any protection against STIs.
With typical use, the levels of effectiveness for each form of birth control are as follows:
|Form of birth control|
Cycle Trackers & Period Tracking Apps
Keeping track of menstruation is an important part of our routines. It allows you to monitor patterns in your cycle and see how regular your bleeding or spotting is. We think its great that there are so many options for tracking periods we no longer have to rely on simply writing in our diaries or marking on a calendar, which has been the norm for women for a long time!
That said, noting our menstruation dates alone cannot teach us all there is to know about our unique cycles. Menstrual cycles are sensitive and can change if were stressed, our diet alters or we arent getting enough sleep. By simply tracking periods, we can observe the changes, but we cant anticipate them. Which is why period tracking apps should not be used to prevent pregnancy. While cycle trackers might give a prediction of the fertile window, an app thats based off the rhythm method will give static predictions, which means you wont know until the end of a cycle if the fertile window has shifted making it too late to prevent a pregnancy.
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Who Can Use Natural Family Planning
Most women can use natural family planning. However, certain situations can affect fertility signs and you might want to consider a different method if:
- there could be a health risk to the baby if you got pregnant
- you’re having irregular periods
- you have a short or long-term condition affecting your fertility signs, such as a sexually transmitted infection or pelvic inflammatory disease
- you’re taking a medication that disrupts production of cervical mucus
- you’ve recently stopped taking hormonal contraception
- you’ve recently had a miscarriage or abortion
- you’ve recently given birth and are breastfeeding
- you regularly travel through different time zones
- you have a vaginal infection such as thrush or an STI, or you’re at increased risk of getting an STI
- you’re not able to take your temperature in the recommended way
- you’re a heavy drinker
Why Measure Basal Body Temperature Instead Of Normal Body Temperature
Fertility experts agree that monitoring basal body temperature is the easiest, most affordable method of detecting ovulation. Its ideally measured in the morning after at least three to four hours of sleep and prior to any physical activity.
Throughout the day, BBT fluctuates due to stress, cold, heat, exercise, food consumption, etc. A temperature that is unaffected by these external factors is regarded as the most reliable.
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Calculate When You Are Less Likely To Get Pregnant
Keeping track of your periods for at least six months will help you map your fertile days.
Use this formula: Subtract 18 days from the total days of your shortest cycle. Using the resulting number, count from the first day of your next period and mark that date on your calendar.
Subtract 11 days from your longest cycle. Using that number, count forward from the first day of your next period. Mark that date on the calendar.
Your most fertile period is between those marked dates. It should be safe to have unprotected sex any time other than on those dates. However, bear in mind that sperm live up to 4 days, so count four days on either side as risky too. Note that this only works if your periods are regular.