So how is knowing your your cycle works cool? (If you haven't read it here is Part 1)
You can use this information to help you get pregnant.
I have used Fertility Friend for charting my cycle since 2009. Then on the computer, now on the app on my phone. They have a basic course in charting that will help you get to know your cycle better. When charting your cycle the first day of a woman’s period is Cycle Day 1. Knowing that ovulation occurs when a woman’s estrogen levels reach a certain threshold, it is safe to say that not all women ovulate at the same time. However when a woman’s due date is calculated using their Last Menstrual Period the model assumes that all women ovulate on Cycle Day 14 of their cycle.
This chart shows a woman who did ovulate on Cycle Day 14. She got a positive pregnancy test at 16 days post ovulation.
It can be helpful to know exactly when you ovulated, so that you can have a more accurate due date. If you ovulated later than that, it can make a difference when, at the end of pregnancy, due dates become a big deal. You might be facing an induction when, if calculated by the day of ovulation, your baby isn’t even sue to be born yet.
This is my chart from when I got pregnant with Malcolm. I stopped taking my temperature after the plummeting temp. It was too nerve wracking for me to keep taking it. I ovulated when an "average" woman would be expecting her period, making my due date 2 weeks off of the date my Last Menstrual Period would have provided.
You Can Use It For Birth Control
If you do not want to use commercial birth control, for whatever reason, this is a good way to know your body. I would strongly recommend checking out a much more in-depth look at how using this method could work for you than the Fertility Friend course could provide you.
If you are looking for something with a religious slant, the Couple to Couple League is a Catholic Organization that has various types of classes:
Live Classes - Scheduled live, in person class with instructors. (At the time of writing this, there was no live class in Pueblo. There are some however, in Colorado Springs.)
Live Online Classes- Live, online course where one would interact with instructors through scheduled class times.
Self Paced Online Course
While I am not Catholic, my introduction I got to Natural Family Planning was. The resources I got were Catholic in nature, and they helped me learn a lot about my body.
I love Toni Weshler’s book, Taking Charge Of Your Fertility. When I realized my cycles were outside the realm of normal, I needed more help than my previous resources could provide me. So, I purchased Taking Charge Of Your Fertility on Amazon. It is a book that is, I believe, essential to someone who is using this method to avoid pregnancy. They have an app. I haven’t checked it out, but they have one.
You will be able to closely predict when her period will arrive.
So really this is number one for me. Because the Follicular Phase all depends on the level of estrogen, it can vary in length. However, a woman’s luteal phase is usually fairly constant. Mine is usually in between 12-14 days. With one outlier in either direction. This is important because many women do not have a 28 day cycle. They might ovulate earlier or later or have a shorter luteal phase. Knowing exactly when you ovulated can help a woman be prepared for the arrival of her period. Knowing when she ovulated can also keep a woman from buying unnecessary pregnancy tests. I usually ovulate around day 21 of my cycle. If I went off the assumption that women have a 28 day cycle I would always think that my period was late, when really it wouldn’t be due to arrive for another 5-7 days. A lot of unnecessary money and worrying.
My fertility is coming back after having my son. I recently had an experience in which, because of my cervical fluid, I had assumed I had ovulated. So I was waiting and nothing, more waiting, more nothing. I started taking my temperature again, in hopes of understanding what is going on. I really do love knowing my body, and what it is doing. It makes me feel better. Plus I don’t want to worry about being caught with white pants on when my period is going to start!
Until I was 21 I didn’t really know what my body was doing during my cycle. I got my period and moved on. I had heard that women ovulated 2 weeks after their period starting, but that was it. In the summer after my oldest was born I had had it with my Mirena IUD. I had been having cramps that ranged from mild, to putting me on the floor. It also effected my mood in a negative way. So I decided on a hormone free birth control. I was skeptical about the copper IUD. After my experience with my Mirena, I did not really want something that sat in my uterus.
I stumbled upon natural family planning. I read a lot of material online. My friend Melissa was very helpful when I was first figuring it out, by providing me materials to read, answering questions, and has answered questions I have randomly asked since.
I use the sympto-thermal method of Natural Family Planning. It uses cervical fluid, and your basal body temperature (your temperature right upon waking) to determine fertility. How does it determine fertility? Science. Women’s bodies are so cool. When a woman ovulates her temperature rises.When you collect this data, you can get some really useful information from it.
So why does a woman’s temperature change when she ovulates? Hormones. There are 4 different hormones involved in a woman’s menstrual cycle. The first is the Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland. (Which is in the brain.) Girls are born with the number of eggs in their ovaries they will have for their lifetime.
The eggs are housed in a follicle. When FSH is released during a woman’s cycle it causes about 15 eggs in each ovary to mature. The follicles of these maturing eggs begin to produce estrogen. When a woman’s body reaches an estrogen threshold, the pituitary gland produces the third hormone, Luteinizing Hormone. The surge of this hormone causes whichever of the maturing eggs that has become the largest to be released from the ovary. At this point, the follicle that housed that egg caves in on itself and becomes a corpus luteum.
This image was taken from Encyclopedia Britanica for more information about the Corpus Luteum visit their site here.
This then produces the fourth hormone progesterone. It is this hormone that is responsible for the temperature shift. One cannot tell whether or not you are fertile from your temperature. One cannot get any information from just a single temperature reading. It is a pattern in which one can tell if ovulation occurred. This separates a woman's cycle into two parts. The Follicular Phase before ovulation, and the Luteal Phase after ovulation.
This is where other signs of fertility come into play. The main one is cervical fluid. Unlike men, women are not fertile all the time, just the days around ovulation. During this time a woman’s body will produce a fluid so that sperm can easily reach the egg. Throughout the month cervical fluid will change from dry, sticky, creamy, wet/slippery/egg-white. It is his sign accompanied by the thermal shift that indicates that ovulation occurred. Another sign of fertility in cervical position. A woman’s cervix changes position throughout your cycle that a woman could feel with her fingers.. There are other secondary signs as well. Some women feel cramping, others breast tenderness. Some feel an increased sexual desire around the time they ovulate.
So, now that we know what is happening, why is knowing this cool? Check out Part Two!
Omega-3 Fats and Pregnancy- 7 ways Omega-3s help you and your growing baby
A pregnant individual needs lots of nutrients to help grow a baby. One of the most important nutrients a growing baby needs is Omega-3 fats. A baby extracts Omega-3 DHA from their mother’s blood. During the last three months, when the baby’s brain is growing the most, naturally the baby takes the most DHA.
So how do Omega-3s help a growing baby?
Omega-3s help at the cellular level. DHA/EPA make the cell membrane healthier, conditioning cells to be selectively permeable- keeping the bad stuff out, and letting the good nutrients in.
Omega-3s serve as food to the baby’s brain cells. Myelin coats nerve cell fibers. It is mostly fat. The more Myelin, the better these cells can work. Cells that make Myelin have high nutrient requirements. Omega-3s feed these cells.
Omega-3s help the baby’s brain make connections. They make activity between receptors and neurotransmitters more efficient. Furthermore, hydrogenated oils (such as margarine and shortening) and other factory made fats can interrupt this process.
Omega-3s also help pregnant individuals during pregnancy and postpartum. Omega-3s can help lower blood pressure, promote tissue healing, and can lessen dangerous blood clots.
There are studies that suggest that pregnant individuals who consume more Omega-3s experience less depression prenatally and postnatally. During pregnancy and breastfeeding the baby’s nutrients come from said individual, which may lead to depression resulting from a DHA deficiency.
The most concentrated to get Omega-3s is through eating fish. If you cannot stomach fish, a good fish oil supplement can help you. If you adhere to a special diet, there are many other ways to get Omega-3s.
If you are unsure, consult a Dr./Nutritionist to make sure you are getting the required nutrients for your growing baby.
I do not have specialty in nutrition. Anything that appears on my blog regarding food is from research I did. If you have more accurate information post it and your source.