Conventional women's health is this in a nutshell:
Get your period
Know nothing about it
It's painful and sucks so you go to your gyno
They try out birth control on you
You're on it until you want to get pregnant in 10-15 years
Hormones are fucked and could potentially have issues conceiving
& the cycle continues
Getting pregnant is NOT as simple as having sex whenever and then instantly getting pregnant. Many women do experience that and it feels "random" but it's not. We can only get pregnant if we are ovulating and most women don't know that our body sends us signals to let us knew we are! It's actually quite remarkable.
Women are naturally feeling friskier around ovulation so when women say they got off BC and got pregnant chances are you had sex because you were feeling frisky because you were ovulating or about to. BUT we can easily track this and I'm going to give you the tools from super free to bougie.
This method is called FAM or Fertility Awareness method and theres a couple ways to track. My favorite book that talks about this in-depth and teaches you how to track even if you're period is abnormal or you struggle with PCOS or Endometriosis is "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". I highly suggest buying and reading it because it breaks down everything!
The more low cost way to track fertility because it's free is cervical mucas. This is discharge usually found in your underwear or it's that super wet feeling you sometimes get. BTW if you didn't catch on by now this blog is super TMI haha.
The fertile mucus you want to see around ovulation is sticky and egg white. If you place it between your fingers and separate it, it should stay together as would a cheesy pizza when you lift it off away from the pie. This is your fertile mucus and it's the mucus that will get you pregnant and also makes you frisky. Our bodies WANT to get pregnant (even if we don't want to) so that's why all the physiological symptoms happen around ovulation and that's why periods feel like punishment for NOT getting pregnant haha.
The next way to know if you are in your fertile window is measuring your BBT or your Basal Body Temperature. This the temperature your body is at as soon as you wake up and it's a couple degrees higher than the rest of the month. You can buy a thermometer and keep it bedside and remember to take your temperature every morning when you wake up and log each temperature and see if you see an increase along with cervical mucus and other symptoms. When you find your ovulation day you want to abstain or be careful with sex for 5-6 days prior/during your ovulation window.
There are many ways to track and the least expensive is the way I just mentioned but there are devices that can help track fertility with little effort because at least for me I would forget to track my temperature. A couple devices I love are:
Natural Cycles which is an app and it comes with the thermometer and you log it that way. I have the Oura Ring which connects to Natural Cycles so it automatically tracks while I sleep but you don't need the ring if it's not in your budget.
The next way is the TempDrop which I was using before I got the Oura ring and it was my favorite because you sleep with it around your arm and it just connects in the morning to the app. After a couple cycles you'll start to see the trend and it'll tell you your safe days and fertile days.
Now to get into the next level stuff that tracks hormones. These devices work in the same way but they track your actual fertility hormones which can be helpful for women who are closer deeper into preconception phase and ready to conceive OR for those of you who have wonky periods and want more information on what you're hormones are doing. This can be helpful for preconception mainly because knowing your hormone levels can help predict if you need more support before conceiving and to set you up for success.
The first device is Mira Fertility, this is the one I have and I really love it. It connects to an app and you you buy the pee sticks separately. The pee sticks are pretty pricey but the app tells you what days you need to use them because they're not everyday. When you pee on the stick, you insert it into the device and it will upload your hormone levels into the app for easy reference. These levels will predict more accurately when you are ovulating and what you're hormone levels are and if they are optimal for conception. If you are working with a coach or doctor for your preconception these can be really helpful numbers for them to get a better look at your fertility health. It does not track temperature since It doesn't necessarily need to but doesn't hurt to input that information also.
Clearblue also sells a similiar one that I believe is less expensive and does the same thing but the Mira over and over again has been voted the best and more advanced. But always do what works with your budget and makes sense for you.
The next device doesn't track hormones but it tracks fertility by cervical mucus. The Kegg is a device that gets inserted and doubles as a kegel device that tracks the electrolyte balance of your cervical mucus which tells you your ovulation window. This is also a great way to determine fertility!
Another super inexpensive option is buying a big old back of ovulation sticks and peeing on it everyday until you get an "ok" ovulation day and writing it down on a calendar. This usually cheaper and you can get a bag of 50 on amazon for less than $15. This works by tracking your LH hormone but those of you with PCOS or abnormal periods this might not always be accurate so be sure to do this along with tracking your cervical mucus.
During ovulation days you can practice safe sex with condoms, trust your pull out method or abstain completely. Days you are not ovulating or not in your ovulation window you can have sex as you wish. Fertility tracking usually takes about 3 months to get the most accurate readings so during those months be cautious and try your best to listen to your body and be aware of the changes it's making naturally. If you have abnormal or irregular periods or recently got off birth control then give your body some more time to adjust and be stricter with tracking so you can get the best readings. Some people ovulate super close to their period and others are in the middle of their cycle.
Hopefully this blog helps you decide what method is best for you!
If you are struggling with a hormonal imbalance feel free to check out our hormones collection of supplements curated by me that have been shown to potentially ease painful period symptoms and bring back some balance to your cycle.