WHAT’S A FERTILE WINDOW?
Oh the infamous fertile window. The most dreaded or beloved (depending upon where you are in your reproductive journey) time of the cycle when conception is actually possible. And news flash (at least it was for us), this is not all cycle long! (Thanks 5th grade health class for putting the fear of God into us that jiz = Baby Jack.)
The Fertile Window is actually only about one week per menstrual cycle, as sperm can live inside an ovulater for up to 5 days, and an egg can live for 24 hours (but we go with 48 hours to play it safe, in case you happened to drop two eggs- twins!)
HOW TO FIND YOUR FERTILE WINDOW
For those using FAM (more on this here), or simply interested in paying attention to your bodies’ cues, it’s possible to conceive from the first sign of fertile fluid (Everyone’s fluid is a bit different but once you start feeling a sensation of wetness, or noticing a creamy discharge, start paying attention. Even though this isn’t the most fertile fluid, conception is still possible. That’s right- that stuff in your underwear is there for a reason!) until you’ve had at least four days without fertile fluid and three temperatures that indicate you have ovulated (more on this here). Typically, you are most fertile when your fluid is an egg white consistency- stretchy and clear. You may still have some watery or wet fluids post-ovulation, but so long as you are sure you have in fact ovulated, you are no longer fertile.
WORDS TO THE WISE
- While it is more rare, during your fertile window, even pre-cum can be viable. Even though there is typically no live sperm in pre-ejaculation, some leak small amounts into their pre-ejaculate.
- If you are on hormonal birth control or an IUD, your fluid may not accurately represent where you are in your cycle (depending upon your birth control, you may not actually be cycling)
- Many apps and even doctors use Day 14 as the stand-in for Ovulation Day. Many people don’t actually ovulate on the 14th day of the cycle so don’t base your Fertile Window on that numbers. You must track your unique, individual cycle using your cervical fluid and basal body temperature.
- If pregnant, knowing your unique cycle-length will be helpful in ensuring your Estimated Due Date is at least somewhat on track. This can come in handy when it comes to Induction talks for hospital-based births.
WHY WE THINK IT’S COOL
Becoming aware of your unique fertile window can take a lot of the stress away! It is a huge tool when it comes to family planning. Don’t want to get pregnant? Make sure you’re staying well protected during that time. Looking to conceive? Use that window wisely! Also, learning the indicators of the Fertile Window can clue you into a whole lot more about your body’s overall state of health. You can use this “smart” thermometer and tracker app to help you!
THESE PEOPLE CAN HELP YOU FIND IT!
With Contributions By: Stella Hartmann, CA