CHARTING CERVICAL MUCUS
Cervical mucus changes are monitored for determining when ovulation occurs through the cervical mucus monitoring test. As your cycle progresses, your cervical mucus increases in volume and changes texture.

Before collecting a sample, be sure to wash your hands first in order to prevent the transmission of germs.

The most accurate way to collect your cervical mucus is to insert your finger into your vagina and circle your finger around your cervix or as close as you can to the cervix. This will allow you to actually collect the cervical mucus instead of just it's wetness.
Monitoring the changes in cervical mucus is the only method that will not require looking back to the past few cycles for analysis, and also provide reliable results that you can trust when trying to conceive. You can do this yourself by getting a sample of your cervical secretions and stretch it between 2 of your fingers (the thumb and index finger) to test for the consistency. Examining the changes in your cervical mucus can help you pinpoint your time of ovulation and increase your chances of pregnancy.

Before Ovulation (low chance of pregnancy):
The first few days following menstruation, there will be little or no discharge present. You will feel dryness around your vulva. During this time, chances of getting pregnant are low.

Approaching Ovulation (chance of pregnancy):
The first discharge that does appear should be moist or sticky and should be white or cream in color. In the finger test, the mucus should break easily. You will only be able to pull your fingers about 1 cm apart before it breaks. During this transition time, first the mucus will become cloudy and slightly stretchy during the finger test (this means that it will still break before the fingers are stretched all the way). As time progresses, the mucus will become greater in volume.

Right around ovulation (high chance of pregnancy):
At this stage, mucus resembles egg whites. It is the thinnest, clearest and most abundant at this point in the cycle. Finger testing will allow the mucus to stretch quite a ways (several centimeters) before it breaks (if it breaks at all). ) The amount of this thin mucus will steadily increase until you experience your 'mucus peak'. This is the last day of this period where the chance of conception is high. It is closely tied to ovulation. During this phase, the sperm's survival rate is higher. It can survive in cervical mucus for up to 72 hours, a significantly longer time than during the rest of the cycle.

After Ovulation (low chance of pregnancy):
After ovulation, there is a marked change in mucus appearance. It returns to the sticky stage (does not stretch during finger test) and there is again a feeling of dryness around the vulva.

One caution for this test is that sperm can be confused with the mucus secretions and you could make wrong assumptions. Also, vaginal infections, medication, and birth control can alter conditions and should be taken into consideration when examining any vaginal secretions.

Simply put:

Dry
Probably Not Fertile

Sticky
Probably Not Fertile

Creamy
Possibly Fertile

Watery
Fertile

Egg white
Most Fertile

Hope that helps everyone

OV TEST STRIPS

1) You should not test between the hours of 5am and 8am--it has been shown that the tests are not accurate with morning pee. You should test with NON morning pee.

2) You should test twice per day, at the same times every day. The best times are between 11-3 and 5-10...making 4 hours before having pee'd before testing. Like noon and 10pm.

--Testing twice per day is important because if you only test at say noon---and you don't get a positive. But test the next day at noon and it's positive that means the LH had been in your blood stream for at least six hours, and you're not completely sure. If you test again at 10pm and the LH surge is gone you will never know if the LH surge was six hours before, or right at noon, etc. Testing twice helps ensure when the LH surge happens.

3) The line MUST be darker, or as dark as the control line.

4) A positive test does not mean you are ovulating! This is the most important. Say you test for four days and on the fourth day you get a positive---don't have DH rush home and BD...you're only getting the LH surge...NOT OVULATION. Ovulation is 12-48 hours AFTER the positive LH. Now, this is why #2 is important.

5) You should not just use OPK'S. Temp and CM and cervical checks are all great ways.

Some TTC Basics

The following are some charting basics as well as some help deciphering our "complex" abbreviation system here, and lastly some tips on checking your cervical position to detect ovulation.

1. you will need a Basal Body Temperature Thermometer (BBT) that records to 100th degree ie 2 decimal places eg. 97.58 - a normal thermometer won't do sorry regardless if it is a digital or not

2. decide what method of charting you will use ie paper or there are some great sites, the main 2 used here are www.fertilityfriend.com (web based - option of free version or paid VIP which comes with a free trial) or www.ovusoft.com (needs to be downloaded on one PC only - subscription required after a free trial period) - both will enable you to share your chart online if wanted so that you can ask for interpretations

3. decide what time in the morning you are going to temp - it must be the same time EVERY morning & be before you get up, speak, drink, pee anything - so if you usually toss & turn or wake up to pee - then you will need to set your alarm to wake you up prior to this happening. You also need to decide if you are going to temp vaginally or orally - generally if your room is greatly affected by environmental temps or if you sleep with your mouth open, you should temp vaginally otherwise orally is OK

4. your temp needs to be taken after 3 hours continuous sleep (see above)

5. if you temp within a 30 minute window of your default time, then there is no need to adjust. However if your wake up time differed outside of 30 minutes BUT still within a 2 hour timeframe then you can adjust. any temp outside of 2 hours needs to be discarded. You add 0.1 degree for every half hour before your regular temp time, and subtract 0.1 for every half hour past. But it has to be within the 2-hour range of your normal temp time.

6. temp ONCE & once only - do not keep taking your temp as this will lead to confusion as you wake up your body starts coming "out of hibernation" so to speak so your temp will change - even if you are not moving. Save yourself the grief

7. when recording your temp on your chart also note as many other factors as possible ie symptoms you may be having etc & try to track your cervical mucus (CM). Also consider using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK's) - the more tools you use the more likely you will be able to track your ovulation. Remember your temps will only tell you AFTER you have actually o'ed once you have sustained 3 days of high temps - so any other predictors can give you the "heads up" that o is coming around the corner

8. If using Fertility Friend (FF) - DO sign up for the FREE charting course - it is very helpful & informative

9. utilize the search in this site BEFORE you post to see if your question has already been raised & answered - you'd be surprised how many of us suffer the same anxieties

10. try not to Pee on a Stick (POAS) ie do a Home pregnancy Test (HPT) BEFORE you are at least 12 days post ovulation (DPO), even then that is early - general rule is to wait until you are officially late

11. if you don't have a chart - we cannot stalk you and cannot advise you effectively. Please also remember - that any advice given is simply our personal opinions only - we are NOT medically qualified & you should ALWAYS seek the advice of your Doctor

12. Remember - we cannot answer any "am I pregnant" questions - every woman's cycle is different & can vary cycle to cycle - no 2 are alike. The only way to ascertain if you are pregnant is to POAS or see your Dr

13. start taking prenatal supplements - must contain at least 500mg of folic acid (the earlier you take the folic acid the better - it has been proven to reduce the instances of neural tube defects in baby)