There’s a lot to keep track of when it comes to ovulation! From understanding exactly when ovulation occurs, to factoring when exactly you may be able to conceive based on your fertility dates, to determining how your period does (and doesn’t) affect your ovulation date…and these questions are just the tip of the ovulation question iceberg!
In addition to those sorts of questions, our team tends to get a lot of inquires about how to read and understand certain ovulation tracking methods. Some methods, such as the calendar method or the basal body temperature method, are relatively easy to use (though they are best used in combination with another tracking method). But then there’s the third most common tracking method. The most hands on tracking method: the cervical mucus method.
As we’ve said before, though it has the potential to provide information that can greatly optimize your chances of pregnancy, this method is not for every woman. But if you do use this method to help track ovulation, you’ve probably found yourself asking questions about the fluids you must analyze during the tracking process. So to help provide a little fertility help in regards to this matter, we’ve collected three common cervical mucus tracking method questions and provided the answers to each of them below:
Question 1: I want to use the cervical mucus method to track when I ovulate – but could I ovulate without knowing it?
Unfortunately, yes. The cervical mucus method relies on a woman’s ability to collect and analyze her cervical mucus. This method works because as she approaches her ovulation date, a woman’s cervical mucus changes in consistency, becoming extremely slippery and clear on her most fertile days. After these fertile days, though, her cervical mucus will become often become cloudy and sticky. Two or more consecutive days of this sort of cervical mucus is a reliable sign that a woman’s body has finished ovulating.
However, the American Pregnancy Association notes that ovulation can occur even if a woman’s cervical mucus never fits the “stretchy egg-white” fluid profile that experts expect to see during her cycle. This is because every woman’s body – and cervical mucus – is a little bit different, and some women may not have the ability to produce the volume of cervical mucus necessary to create different fluid profiles. So if you’ve tried using this method, but have not been able to track obvious changes in your cervical mucus, we recommend talking to a doctor, as they can recommend products to help enhance your mucus production – or may suggest an entirely different method that’s a better fit for you altogether.
Question 2: My cervical fluid is extremely stretchy – is this normal? Should this last more than one day?
Yep, this is normal! Cervical fluid is known to change in consistency up to several days before a woman ovulates. The American Pregnancy Association recommends this: “When studying your cervical fluid to determine when you are ovulating, look for the 12-24 hour time-frame with the greatest amount of wet fluid. This generally occurs around ovulation when an egg is available for fertilization, although intercourse that happens on the few days before this can also result in pregnancy.”
Question 3: If my tracking results say I’m ovulating more than once a month, is something wrong with my data?
Not necessarily. Remember, different women can have shorter or longer menstrual cycles. Because of this, if the timing works out, it’s entirely possible for a woman with a shorter cycle to ovulate at the beginning of the month and again – during her next cycle – at the end of the month.
What you should be careful of, however, is any data that says you’re ovulating more than once per cycle. Remember, a menstrual cycle normally begins with a woman’s period, is eventually followed by ovulation, and restarts with another period if pregnancy does not occur. A woman cannot ovulate more than once during each menstrual cycle. In rare cases, a woman may release more than one egg at once – and this can result in fraternal twins; but even this still counts as a single ovulation process. So despite what incorrectly reported news stories from 2003 or otherwise might say, the answer to this question is: you could potentially ovulate more than once a month, but never during the same cycle!
These questions are just a handful of the ovulation questions we see week to week (and these are in addition to the ones we discussed in previous blogs!). But we’re not done yet: next week, we want to wrap up this FAQ series by touching on a final major topic of confusion – ovulation tracking apps and the data they collect. Be sure to check in next week, as the information we provide may have an impact on any tools you may be using on your phones or tablets to help increase your chances of pregnancy!