Right Place, Right Time
To make a baby, sperm and egg must meet at the ideal moment. Here's how to know when that is.
3. CHECK YOUR CERVICAL MUCUS Changes in your cervical mucus can help identify your fertile phase without the need for any special devices. For a few days after your period, your cervical fluid may be dry or sticky; then it starts to get wetter. "If it becomes slippery and stretchy--almost like a raw egg white--that's when you're most fertile," says Toni Weschler, author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (HarperCollins, 2002).
4. USE A FERTILITY MONITOR If your cycle tends to be irregular, ovulation-predictor kits can help pinpoint your fertile phase. Most use morning urine to measure luteinizing hormone (LH), which surges right before ovulation. These kits, available in drugstores, generally cost between $14 and $40. Another type of ovulation kit measures estrogen levels in saliva. You apply a bit of saliva to a lens, then examine it under a microscope (included in the kit). A fernlike pattern indicates a fertile phase. Kits range from $25 for those with basic microscopes up to about $375 for sets with electronic devices.
The newest ovulation-tracking device, the OV Watch, monitors yet another body fluid: perspiration. Looking like--and worn as--a wristwatch, the device contains sensors that check for increasing amounts of chloride in sweat. This rise precedes an LH increase, so you're alerted that ovulation will occur within the next few days. An OV Watch starter kit, which includes a three-month supply of sensors, costs $229. For more information call 877-249-2229 or visit ovwatch.com.
Take your pick--low-tech or high, all these methods will help you identify the most fertile phase in your cycle. Once you figure out when that is, you'll know what to do from there!