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    Charting Your Fertility Cycle

    If it's taking you a while to get pregnant, a good way to raise your odds is to chart your fertility cycle. When you do this, you can find the best chance to make it happen.

    As you go through your cycle, your body gives all sorts of clues to show when you ovulate. You just need to know how to look for them.

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    Why Bother Charting Fertility?

    It may seem like a hassle. But you can boost your chances of getting pregnant if you keep track of a few different things every day. You can do this with pen and paper, or you can try out some smartphone apps.

    As part of charting, you'll need to:

    • Take your "basal body temperature" -- your temperature when you're at rest.
    • Examine your cervical mucus.
    • Track when your menstrual period begins.
    • Note when you have sex.

    Knowing this information can make a difference. Though the average couple conceives after about 5 or 6 months of trying, people who know how to find out when the woman ovulates, or releases an egg, and who have sex regularly during that time improve their odds of getting pregnant.

    Taking Your Temperature

    Checking basal body temperature is a long-established way to predict when you ovulate, and it's helped many women get pregnant. But recent research has shown that it may not work as well as experts previously thought.

    Before you ovulate, your basal body temperature is usually about 97 to 97.5 F, although those numbers can vary from person to person.

    During ovulation, your body releases the hormone progesterone, which brings on a slightly raised temperature a day or two later -- usually by 0.5 degrees. Your temperature will probably stay high until your next cycle begins. If you become pregnant during that cycle, your temperature will stay up beyond that

    That half of a degree difference may not seem like much, but it counts. Also, keep in mind that your temperature change happens after ovulation, which means that once it goes up, you've probably already missed your chance to become pregnant in that cycle. But by charting your temperature every day over several cycles, you may start to see a pattern that lets you predict when you are most fertile.

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