Fertility Awareness
 


Fertility Awareness is a method that can be used both to avoid pregnancy, by avoiding unprotected sex during fertile days, as well as using the fertile days to become pregnant.

Fertility Awareness and how to track your period is included for anyone who books the Shared Journey Fertility Program.

There are different methods and tools for using fertility awareness. Some of the most common are  Natural Cycles,  Justisse method and the Billings method, where you determine whether you are fertile or not, using your morning temperature, cervical fluid and the position of your cervix. There are also several apps and monitors that can help determine your fertile window based on the information you submit.
 

Fertile window
 

As a woman, you are fertile for about 6 days every cycle and not just the 24 hours that the egg lives. Sperm can survive up to 5 days, but fertilization occurs during the 24 hours that the egg lives. With fertility awareness, you may choose if you want to use protection during these 6 days around ovulation or use these days to get pregnant. 
 

"As a woman, you are fertile for about 6 days
every cycle and not just the 24h that the egg lives."

 


To find out which days you are fertile, you will learn to pay attention to signs in your body that signal when you enter your fertile period. Among other things, you will observe your morning temperature, cervical fluid and the position of your cervix.

Cervical fluid may look and feel different from one individual to another, but a translucent, watery, slippery fluid can be said to indicate fertile days. However, several different types of fluid can be fertile and its shifts are completely individual.

If you take your morning temp, you can see a drop in temperature right before ovulation and a rise in temperature afterwards. This is because sperms need a lower temperature to survive.
 


The pH in the vagina also changes during the fertile phase to allow the sperm to survive and travel up into the uterus for conception. On non-fertile periods during the menstrual cycle, the pH of the vagina is too acidic, and sperm cannot survive in that environment.
 
The cervix changes its position during your cycle. Before and during ovulation it is open and points straight down towards the vagina. During non-fertile periods it is closed and points up slightly. You can feel the position with your finger.
 

"Sperm can survive up to 5 days in a vagina,
but fertilization occurs during the 24h the egg lives."

 

After ovulation the egg is transported into the uterus and the follicle is converted into the corpus luteum, which acts as a temporary hormone producer of progesterone. The progesterone prepares the body for a pregnancy by making the uterine lining mature and thicker so that a fertilized egg can attach to it.

This period of the cycle is called the luteal phase (from Corpus Luteum) and is about 12-16 days long. Without a fertilized egg, the corpus luteum dies, the progesterone level drops and the body reacts with starting your period. What we call a period is the old uterine lining that is excreted from the body due to lack of pregnancy.
 

The Menstrual Cycle
 

Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period. You bleed for about 3-7 days, but the length within this spectrum is highly individual. When the period is finished the follicular phase begins with the hormone FSH indicating that eggs can begin to mature in the ovaries. During the follicle phase, there are about 20-40 eggs that mature and compete to become the dominant egg that will be released during ovulation. There is only one ovulation per cycle, but it is possible that more than one egg is released during the hours of ovulation.

Each egg is in their own follicle, which is like an eggshell. The follicle swells during ovulation and may be up to 2 cm in diameter. It may cause discomfort and swelling around ovulation. Before ovulation, oestrogen levels increase and the brain determines when it's time to secrete the LH hormone. Both of these hormone levels increase gradually until ovulation occurs. Ovulation mustn't have taken place to get an LH peak, as this is only a signal hormone from the brain.
 


The egg that becomes dominant and then released is stimulated by LH. When LH reaches its top level, the follicle releases the egg from the ovary, and the egg is caught by the ovary and moved downward towards the uterus.

If you wish to become pregnant, it is during these 24 hours when the egg is alive that fertilization can occur. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg travels through the ovary and attaches to the uterine lining. A placenta is created in the uterine wall. Progesterone from the corpus luteum supports this process, and the embryo sends out the hormone HCH, which is considered as the actual pregnancy hormone. If everything works the way it's supposed to, a baby is born 9 months later.

If you don't want to get pregnant and the egg wasn't fertilized by any sperm during the trip down through the ovary to the uterus, your period will start about 14 days after ovulation.
 

Your period
 

Your period will last for about 3-7 days and the blood should be deep/bright [AP1] red with small lumps. If your period is shorter or longer, it may indicate a hormonal imbalance or another problem such as iron deficiency, myoma etc.
 

"When your period has a brownish color, it may be blood from your
previous cycle that didn't leave the body."

 
If your period is brownish at the beginning or as a whole, it usually means that the blood hasn't come out immediately and has oxidized more. When it’s brown it may be from your previous cycle’s period that did not get out of your body. It may also indicate a hormonal imbalance that can be corrected naturally. If your period is brownish at the end, it's quite normal, as this is a sign that bleeding decreases.

If you have other colors in the blood that are not in shades of red to brownish, but more orange, grey or black, it's a sign that something is out of balance. For example, it may be an indication of an infection where other symptoms in combination with color may be pain during urination, stomach pains or itching. If your period has these colors, you should seek help to see what's going on.