Why should I observe and track more than BBT?
Basal body temperature (BBT) is a primary fertility symptom that is excellent at helping to confirm ovulation has happened and to give you insights into hormone levels. For some women, it's enough to track just this one symptom but the reality is, BBT doesn’t predict ovulation so observing other fertility signs can help you better identify your fertile window as it opens and closes each cycle.
Cervical mucus (sometimes known as cervical fluid, shortened to CM or CF) is a natural bodily fluid produced by the cervix. It's also an important symptom of fertility and hormone health. Over the course of the cycle, CM changes in both quality and quantity, letting you know when ovulation is approaching. Cervical mucus allows sperm to survive the normally harsh environment of the vagina and is key in helping its journey to meet the egg. This amazing fluid can keep sperm alive for up to five days so if you observe fertile type CM it's time to take advantage and baby dance so that sperm are present and waiting when ovulation occurs.
At the start of the cycle, after menstruation, generally little or no cervical fluid will be produced. As ovulation nears, you can notice a change as it becomes more fertile in quality (the best quality resembles raw egg whites). After ovulation, production stops again and mucus becomes thick to form a barrier plug in the cervix. Carefully observing your CM multiple times a day throughout your cycle will help you identify when your fertile window opens and closes.
Learn more about observing and identifying CM here.
Ovulation Tests Strips
Another option to give you more insight into your fertility window are Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), ovulation hormone monitors, or LH strips. These tests monitor hormones by testing levels found in urine. Inexpensive LH tests detect higher levels of Luteinizing Hormone only, while other more advanced kits and monitors can detect both rising Estrogen and LH together.
In a typical cycle, these hormones rapidly rise and come to a peak level just before an ovulation attempt. When you are testing and see a positive result, you can better make your decisions based on the assumption that ovulation should occur in the next 12-36 hours. This additional sign will help as a cross-check to verify you are in the last days of your fertile window and about to ovulate.
Just one thing to note though; LH rising is an indication that your body is trying to ovulate but it's not a guarantee that the egg will be released. Sometimes, ovulation attempts can fail and your hormones will have to reset to try again. The bottom line is that if you receive a positive ovulation test but then your temperatures don't rise within a few days*, assume that you may still be fertile and keep tracking your signs carefully.
Tracking multiple symptoms is the best way to better understand your fertile window and cycle patterns. The Tempdrop app allows multiple symptoms charting all in one place to improve your experience. Why not start with CM and/or ovulation tests today?
Click 'Add Symptoms' from the home screen to log your additional observations.
*Ovulation typically occurs 12-36 hours after a positive ovulation test and then temps can take another 1-3 days after ovulation to shift to a higher range. The time from a positive test to temp rise can be up to 5 days.