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Fertility Awareness

How It Is Done continued...

If you want to become pregnant, have sex every day or every other day from your first fertile day until 3 days after your BBT rises.

If you do not want to become pregnant, do not have sex or be sure to use another method of birth control from the end of your menstrual period until 3 days after ovulation. After your temperature rises and stays high for 3 full days, your fertile days will be over. Your temperature on these 3 days should stay higher than on any of the other days in that cycle.

Cervical mucus method (Billings method)

Each day, put one finger into your vagina camera.gif and record the amount, color, and thickness (or thinness) of the mucus. Test the "stretchiness" of the mucus by putting a drop of it between your finger and thumb. Spread your finger and thumb apart and see if the mucus stretches.

After your period, you will not have much cervical mucus, and it is thick, cloudy, and sticky. Just before and during ovulation, you will have more cervical mucus and it is thin, clear, and stringy. It may stretch about 1 in. (2.5 cm) before it breaks.

If you want to become pregnant, have sex every day or every other day from the day you see your cervical mucus becoming clear and stretchable until the day it becomes cloudy and sticky. Do not test your mucus right after sex, since semen may be mixed with it.

If you do not want to become pregnant, do not have sex or be sure to use another method of birth control from the day your cervical mucus becomes clear and stretchy until the 4th day after it becomes cloudy and sticky.

Another 2-day method of checking your cervical secretions can be done. Every day of your cycle, ask yourself if you have secretions today and did you have secretions yesterday. For all days that you answer "yes" to one of these questions, it is likely that you are fertile and can become pregnant if you have unprotected sex. If you answer "no" to both questions on any day, you are not likely to become pregnant.

Hormone monitoring

If you are using a home ovulation kit, follow the instructions on the kit exactly.

Combined (symptothermal) method

This method uses some of the other methods all at once to tell you the most fertile days of your cycle. You check your basal body temperature, the changes in your cervical mucus, and a hormone test, and you watch for signs of ovulation (such as breast tenderness, abdominal pain, and mood changes). You may have any of the following physical signs of ovulation:

  • Breast pain
  • An increase in sexual desire
  • Pain in your lower belly on one side or the other (called mittelschmerz). This pain can be sharp or dull and usually lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. It occurs when the egg is released from the ovary on that side. The ovaries usually switch releasing an egg each cycle, so pain occurs on the side the egg is released from during that cycle.

If you do not want to become pregnant, do not have sex or be sure to use another method of birth control for 5 days before ovulation may occur and on the day of ovulation.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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