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You may need to be fit and healthy to maximize your fertility, but no amount of exercising and folic acid will get you pregnant if you don't have intercourse at the right time of the month.

Tracking your fertility can be an enormously valuable tool for couples who would like to conceive a baby as soon as possible. There are quite a few possibilities when it comes to monitoring ovulation and fertility, so which one do you choose? 

Ovulation tests

Ovulation tests can be called the gold standard in fertility tracking today. Using ovulation tests has major benefits they are extremely reliable and easy to use. They do not require extensive knowledge or much work, unlike some other fertility-tracking methods. Ovulation tests, which are also called ovulation predictor kits, react to the surge in Luteinizing Hormone found in your urine. You can't go wring with these tests. Ovulation tests come in cheaper varieties as well as digital versions.

Digital ovulation tests display a little smiley face when you ovulate, and require no interpretation at all. Ovulation tests do have two potential disadvantages, though. The first is that the test can be pricey, if you use them throughout the month until a test turns up positive. The second is that ovulation tests do not give you advance warning. A woman's fertile window actually lasts around six days, including the days before ovulation (sperm can survive for five to seven days, so you may well get pregnant from intercourse you have before ovulating). You may miss a chance to get pregnant if you don't have intercourse in the days leading up to the release of that egg.

Ovulation calendar

An ovulation calendar is more of a mathematical tool than a tracking method, but it is nonetheless a very handy tool. Ovulation calendars, ovulation calculators, or ovulation trackers whatever you want to call them, these tools work out when you are most likely to ovulate on the basis of information you provide about your menstrual cycles. You will need to know the average length of your cycles, the first day of your last period, and knowing the length of your luteal phase will also work to your advantage. The average luteal phase length is 14 days, so enter that if you are not sure. Ovulation calendars may not be absolutely accurate, but they do have one great advantage. An ovulation calendar will give you a good approximation that enables you to plan in advance. You can still use ovulation tests to confirm (or deny) what the calendar is suggesting.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Measuring your basal body temperature gives you a lot of information about your fertility, because it rises slightly when you ovulate and remains at the higher temperature for the rest of the month. Your basal body temperature will only rise a little, though: half a degree to a degree Fahrenheit, or a quarter to half a degree Celsius. So, what is basal body temperature, or BBT? If you've never heard of this term before, you are probably new to trying to conceive. Your BBT is the lowest temperature of your body, reached during periods of rest (like sleep). To measure your BBT, you'll need to set the alarm clock early in the morning and write the information down. A graph, made on the internet on dedicated fertility sites, or manually, will show how your temperature changes throughout your cycle.

Cervical mucus

Measuring your temperature to find out when you are fertile may sound bizarre to the uninitiated, but looking at your cervical mucus is probably an even stranger idea. Yet, the structure and color of your mucus holds valuable clues to your fertility. Are you menstruating? Not fertile yet. Are you producing small amounts of white mucus, after your period came to an end? Not fertile yet. Do you see clear, stretchy mucus? You're either approaching ovulation, or are already there. An abundance of thick, white and creamy mucus means you're in your luteal phase. Monitoring your mucus is easy and free. It is so informative that you can easily use this as your only way to track fertility once you are used to the idea. It may sound gross, but monitoring your cervical mucus is more than worth it.

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