Did you know that you can ONLY get pregnant 5-6 days out of the month!?
Did you know that you can ONLY get pregnant 5-6 days out of the month!?!?! Picture me with my mouth hanging open when I first learned that… maybe that’s what you’re experiencing right now LOL.
I don't know about you, but I grew up thinking you could get pregnant at any time during the month. Literally that we are always fertile!
But that's simply NOT true.
You actually can only get pregnant 5-6 days out of the month! There's something we maybe should've learned in school.... I guess I missed that lesson. W.T. actual F. (insert MAJOR eye roll)
Did you also know that not everyone ovulates on day 14?! Because not everyone has the same cycle length! Cycle length meaning from the day you start bleeding til the day before you bleed again (a normal cycle can be anywhere from 21-35 days long- but I personally prefer my clients to be in the 25-35 day range).
So with all that being said… if you’re someone who’s actively trying to conceive right now, you plan to within the next few months OR you’re someone who does NOT want to have kids right now (or ever) but you also don’t want to be on hormonal birth control… it’s important you know when you’re exact fertile window is. Meaning, when are the 5-6 days you’re fertile?
So let’s get into it…
First things first. Apps and LH strips are NOT an accurate way to know exactly when your fertile window is.
We all love a good app but it’s simply technology predicting when it THINKS you’re going to ovulate based on when you last got your period.
But here’s the thing. Our bodies aren’t robots. So they’re not ALWAYS going to ovulate on the exact day our app says we will. Especially because our day of ovulation can fluctuate based on internal & external stressors- which is then going to cause our fertile window to fluctuate.
Our bodies are always trying to keep us safe. So if we’re approaching ovulation and we also happen to be traveling, or under a lot more work/business stress, experience trauma, are over exercising, undereating and/or get sick, our ovulation will DELAY or completely STOP until the next cycle. Simply because it doesn’t think that it’s a safe or ideal time for you to grow a human.
Does that mean it’s your fault if you’ve been struggling to conceive & your ovulation has been all over the place? Of course not. Things happen. We can’t control everything. We do our best in the season we’re currently in. Plus there are MANY other factors that go into conceiving aside from knowing your fertile window that are at play.
But it is important to know that the internal & external environment we put our body in will 110% influence our ovulation (& hormones in general). As Maya Angelou said, “when you know better, you do better.”
Your ovulation can also come earlier than your app tells you or earlier than it “normally” comes. Because again, we’re not robots. Which is why it’s so important to track your physical signs of ovulation rather than relying on an app. More on that soon…
LH (luteinizing hormone) triggers ovulation by stimulating the release of an egg from your follicle. Using LH strips measures the level of LH in your body through your urine. The idea is that once you get a positive LH strip, letting you know your LH levels have increased, that you’re approaching ovulation.
As you get closer to ovulation your LH does increases in an effort to stimulate the release of the egg. BUT sometimes (particularly in people with PCOS) your LH can increase but then never actually trigger ovulation.
So just because you got a positive LH strip doesn’t mean you actually ovulated at some point after that surge, AND it also doesn’t tell you exactly when ovulation will happen after that.
It’s something that can support you in tracking ovulation, but it is absolutely NOT something I would solely rely on.
The most precise & accurate way to track ovulation is by identifying 2 biomarkers. Cervical Mucus and Basal Body Temperature.
Cervical Mucus is what we used to call “discharge”. It’s produced by our sex hormone Estrogen and will increase as you approach ovulation (which is why it’s a biomarker for tracking ovulation) for many amazing reasons.
Now if you're anything like I was, I legit had NO CLUE that there was any rhyme or reason to our Cervical Mucus. I just thought that sometimes I had more "discharge" than others & that was that.... anyone else?!
But really, CM is REQUIRED in order to get pregnant. Literally.
Why? Because it's what creates the PERFECT ph environment for sperm to stay alive. Literally without it SPERM COULDN’T STAY ALIVE! (yesss queen power LOL). CM is also what transports the sperm to the egg.
Without it, fertilization is a no go.
& here’s the really important part when it comes to knowing your fertile window. Sperm stay alive in CM for up to 5 DAYS! SO when you see CM (this could look like a creamy, lotion consistency OR a raw egg white consistency-which is what it’ll look like the closer you get to ovulation) this is when you COULD get pregnant.
So if you have sex on a Monday & ovulate on Friday you could conceive on that Monday. Or that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Your egg can stay alive for 24 hours so you can still get pregnant those 24 hours after ovulation occurred.
But that’s it. Literally you can ONLY get pregnant 5 days before ovulation and 1 day after.
Which is why understanding your CM pattern & knowing WHEN to have sex OR to avoid sex is SOOO important. Literally life changing.
So many people are focused on LH strips & having sex every day for 2 weeks after their period which is NOT an effective or efficient way to naturally conceive.
Knowing your CM patterns & having sex when your peak CM comes out to play IS what’s more effective & efficient.
Or using protection or AVOIDING sex during that time if you DON'T want to get pregnant.
A good rule of thumb: If you see Cervical Mucus in your Follicular Phase (the phase right after your period ends & right before ovulation), you’re potentially fertile. Get after it, or wrap it up!
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Your BBT is your waking temp. We use this to CONFIRM ovulation. Why? Because when we ovulate we produce the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is a sex hormone needed to hold onto & nourish a pregnancy, support your bones, metabolism, thyroid, skin, hair, nails, stress response, sleep, help protect you from osteoporosis, heart disease & endometrial cancer. When progesterone comes onto the scene from ovulation it increases your metabolic rate which increases your body temperature, letting you know ovulation was a go and that your fertile window is closing.
Here’s what the pattern will look like:
Your BBT before ovulation (in your menstrual & follicular phases) will be about 97-97.7 degrees & will increase to about 98-98.8 degrees AFTER ovulation. THE HIGHER TEMP (98-98.8) NEEDS TO STAY HIGH FOR AT LEAST 3 DAYS IN A ROW TO CONFIRM OVULATION! If it just spikes up once and goes back down, that wasn’t ovulation. (note: your temperature might be in the 96 range in menstrual & follicular phases & go up to the 97 range after ovulation in the luteal phase. If your temps are consistently in the 95 or low 96 range it could signify low thyroid levels so I would encourage you to get them checked! DM me on Instagram @corinneangelica for a list of blood work I recommend getting!)
3 consecutive days of high temps = you ovulated. Ideally you want that higher temp to stay high until you get your period showing you that you had strong ovulation and are producing healthy progesterone levels.
If you get a random spike in temp and then it goes back down that does not signify ovulation. You need to see those 3 high temps in a row.
Once your temp is high for those 3 days in a row, your fertile window has CLOSED! Baby making is a no go. Legit cannot happen. Your CM should also be super limited during your luteal phase. If you are experiencing a good amount of CM in your luteal phase that’s a sign that you have excess estrogen & low progesterone.
How to take your Basal Body Temperature
Since your BBT is your WAKING temp you need to take it... You guessed it... As soon as you wake up. Before you even get out of bed! Alarm goes off, you roll over, take your temperature & then get up. In order for your temperatures to be as accurate as possible, you’re ideally taking your temp at the same time every morning. Give or take 30-60 minutes.
If you’re a shift worker or someone that has inconsistent wake times, I’d recommend a Basal Body Thermometer like TempDrop.
I know this can be super confusing (which is why I have a full training on this with visuals & all: Your Fertile Window Masterclass) but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple & honestly so life changing. I love feeling connected to my body, knowing exactly which phase I’m in, what my body is doing, why it’s doing it & how I can support myself in the process.
UGH it’s just the best.
So where can you start with all of this?
Step 1: Buy a Basal Body Thermometer (needs to be specific for that, not just a regular thermometer).
Step 2: Start taking your temp every single morning. You can get this thermometer off Amazon (I’m currently using this one & like it. It connects with an app & makes it super easy to track everything) or you can go all in & get the thermometer & app from Natural Cycles. That’s an amazing resource.
Step 3: Wipe BEFORE you pee to identify if you have any CM present and log what you notice in your BBT app, in your notes app or in an actual notebook so you can start identifying your pattern.
And if you want to dive deeper into this and have me support you check out the Your Fertile Window training!
Note: If you’re actively AVOIDING pregnancy without hormonal birth control it’s super important to work with someone to support you in identifying when you’re fertile so you don’t accidentally get pregnant.
I hope this was helpful for you! I’ll chat with you soon.
As always, trust the process & Mind Your Hormones,
Come hangout on Instagram @corinneangelica
Tune into the Mind Your Hormones Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!
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Please note: Corinne Angelica Wellness and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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