When There’s More Going On
Let’s get real here for a moment.
Dr. Google isn’t exactly your friend when it comes to having a baby. Sure, it can be useful, but you may be at risk for going down an obsessive rabbit hole of misinformation. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s scientifically accurate advice and what’s reading tea leaves.
So when you’re “trying,” how can you truly know when to get down to business? Ie. Hanky panky.
The answer: time-tested, good ole fashioned record-keeping.
Track Your Baby-Makers PART 1
Baby-Making 101 might have started in Sex-Ed, but it doesn’t end there. (And it’s much more difficult.) Now that you’re adulting and responsible, it’s important to understand your fertility hormones—especially the three main signals that you’re ovulating. Let’s break them down:
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
BBT is basically your temp while your body’s at rest. However, your body temp will rise when Progesterone dominates (after ovulation shifts into the luteal phase) to create a stable and nurturing home for a fertilized egg.
Charting your BBT spikes can help detect the ideal window of fertilization and when your egg will drop.
Additionally, this info can pinpoint specific hormonal imbalances, which we’ll dive into in the following lessons.
Put simply, it’s a sperm’s best chance of making it to the finish line. Cervical mucus…
- Neutralizes an otherwise inhospitable, acidic vagina
- Acts as a nourishing pit-stop diner along the uterus and fallopian tubes before and egg arrives
- Grants a streamlined E-ZPass to destination egg once it does (because it only lasts 12 hours!)
Also, cervical mucus accumulates 3 – 5 days before you ovulate so sperm has the best advantage possible.
Some ladies will never see their mucus, often because their periods were quite recent. But if you simply aren’t producing enough, it could be a sign of a hormone imbalance (such as low estrogen) or the result of a lifestyle habit (smoking).
Okay, ladies. Now things are about to get a little awkward, cuz you need to know how to check the position of your cervix.
Checking your cervical position is the most accurate way of detecting you’re ovulating. Because your cervix rises and creates a gap, this a sign you’re about to drop an egg.
“Get familiar with your cervix” instructions
Perform this test directly after your period
- Wash your hands
- Squat on the floor or sit on the toilet. (But be consistent or you’ll find varying depths!)
- Take two fingers and feel around your cervix, which should be low and easily reachable
This test is to get buddy-buddy with your cervix so you notice the difference during ovulation: harder to reach with an opening and plenty of that cervical mucus!
By paying attention and observing these three signs, you can pin down your ovulation days precisely and have a clear path to conception.
Some ways you can become more observant is by using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs). But really, these kits are costly and should only act as a confirmation to what you already know. For accuracy, chart your ovulation manually or, in today’s age, digitally, using fertility tracking apps.
Okay, but what if your signals just don’t quite add up? What if the wrong signals are sent to your ovulation stick month after month?
Listen. In cases like this, there might be underlying issues. So if you’re fertility hormones are outta whack, it’s time to get savvy about the key players.
(Hint: It’s more than just Estrogen, Progesterone, and the LH your pee predicts.)
In the following lessons, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know. Feel more empowered at your next doctor’s visit, know what to ask about your hormonal systems, and even what lab tests to request.
Oh … and actually understand the results! You gotta understand why these numbers matter, especially if you’re already going for treatments. Also … we have 50 types of hormones. While we’re here today to teach you about fertility-related hormones, there are more to learn! So if you’ve yet to take our Hormone Wise Quiz—do so today! It could offer further clues into your entire body’s health.