Hold on to your seat, because you are about to learn some pretty important information. Information you might have missed in 7th grade health class.
Did you know that you can actually only become pregnant for about 7 days out of the month? Or that, to avoid pregnancy you don't need contraception every time you have sex.
That might not be the message we are looking to get across to teenagers when safe and protected sex is the gold standard, but the lack of indepth knowledge also means that, as grown women, we are missing an essential understanding —and therefore control over our own bodies.
How ovulation affects your need for birth control
Ovulation is a way bigger deal than they made out in health class. You probably already know that once a month an egg is released into your fallopian tubes in a process called ovulation. If the egg is not fertilized, it will be discharged from your body after two weeks along with the uterine lining during your monthly period.
But ovulation is responsible for way more than simply causing your periods. It's a driving force behind your inner feminine balance. The delicate dance between the different hormones produced before, during, and after ovulation indicate lot about your health both physically and emotionally. This, by the way, is one of the main reasons turning off ovulation with chemical birth control leads to depression and other side effects.
But for now, let's delve into using the comprehensive understanding of ovulation to avoid pregnancy.
Ovulation is the releasing of a egg that could potentially be penetrated by sperm and create a pregnancy. There are only approximately 24 hours a month when an egg is viable. The egg drops down from the ovum into the fallopian tube and waits to be greeted by sperm. If it is not fertilized during those 24 hours, it bows out of the ring and is no longer fertilizable. The egg then sits in your uterus for about two more weeks before it is released during menstruation.
Sperm, on the other hand, is a bit more patient than the egg. Sperm will wait around inside your uterus for up to 5 days. If at any point during those 5 days it notices a viable egg descending, it will jump at the chance to ask your egg to dance. If the sperm and the egg get along, they fuse into one and presto, you have a positive pregnancy test.
So what do you gain by understanding this biology? For starters, you now understand that instead of needing birth control for the entire month to prevent pregnancy, you really only need a barrier contraceptive (condoms, Caya, or other chemical free options) about a week out of the month: 24 hours + 5 days. This time frame is known as the fertility window.
It's simple. Identify that all important fertility window so you know when blocking sperm is actually important, and the rest of the month you can have sex without worrying about pregnancy at all.
While the biology is simple, relying on an unequivocal knowledge of your fertility window for when you need birth control and when you don't is a huge responsibility. It takes hard work and dedication, although the fertility monitor Cyclotest makes the process drastically easier. But if you choose, you can become an expert in your individual cycle and gain total control of your birth control.
Accurately Identify The Fertility Window
Natural Family Planning (NFP) or Fertility Awareness (FAM) are the two umbrella terms for systems used to accurately pinpoint your fertility window enabling you to avoid pregnancy without chemical birth control.
There are actually a number of methods, but the most reliable is the Sympto Thermal method.
This method is used to track your bodily Symptoms of ovulation, and your body Temperature, which together show a conclusive indication of ovulation.
Our bodies go through slight physical changes throughout the month due to our naturally fluctuating hormones before and after ovulation. Three of those changes are particularly easy to identify, and are therefore used most often to identify ovulation and the fertility window.
1. Waking (basal) body temperature (BBT).
If you take your temperature (under the tongue) every morning, you will see that your body temperature rises slightly but significantly after ovulation. To do this accurately it's best to use a hospital grade thermometer or let a fertility monitor like Cyclotest do the hard work for you!
2. Cervical Mucus consistency
You've probably realized that your cervical mucus, the wet discharge that you often find in your underpants, varies in abundance and consistency throughout the month. That is not a fluke. Cervical mucus is uniquely slippery and stretchy (often compared to egg white) around the time of ovulation.
3. The presence of the LH hormone
LH hormone can be detected by urine test strips, similar to pregnancy tests. If you test your urine in the morning, a test stick showing positive LH presence indicates impending ovulation.
The cornerstone of using fertility tracking for birth control is making a graph of your daily basal body temperature with the goal of noticing the shift in temperature along with other ovulation symptoms. That recognizable shift tells you that ovulation has occurred.
And because you now know that ovulation has occurred — and this is what you've been waiting for — you know that the rest of the month you can have unprotected sex, without worrying about pregnancy.
No artificial hormones, no chemicals, no side effects, no condoms. Just the complete and total knowledge that it is impossible to get pregnant at that time of month.
Ready to find out when your unique fertility window is? Read more about Cyclotest's fertility monitors right here and buy online today!