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Fertility Awareness Method

To increase your chances of conceiving, you should have sexual intercourse every day or every other day from the day you notice your cervical mucus becoming clearer and stretchy until it becomes cloudy and sticky.

Do not douche or use spermicides, foams, or jellies as these may wash away or change the appearance and consistency of the mucus. Vaginal infection, the presence of seminal fluid, arousal fluid, lubricants, anovulatory cycles, and using antihistamines can all affect the amount, appearance, and consistency of the mucus.

Cervical Observation

The position of a woman's cervix changes over the course of her menstrual cycle. During menstruation and for the first few days after, the cervix is fairly low and firm like the tip of your nose. As ovulation nears, the cervix begins to move up, becoming more soft, wet, and open; during ovulation, the cervix is at its highest and most open to allow sperm through; and after ovulation, the cervix returns to the firm, low, and closed position.

To observe changes in your cervical position, insert your (clean) middle finger into your vagina and feel your cervix for softness, height, opening, and wetness. A plastic speculum can be helpful in the beginning while you are getting used to finding and feeling your cervix. Check your cervix about the same time of day and in the same position (squatting, sitting on the toilet, or with one leg raised). Record the position and quality of your cervix on your calendar. To increase your chances of conceiving, you should have sexual intercourse every day or every other day from when you notice your cervix become higher and more open until it begins to close and become firm.

Classes on charting fertility patterns are offered by many family planning health centers, church-affiliated instructors, and at Catholic hospitals, often at little or no cost.

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