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 Naturopathic Medicine: The Many Phases of Fertility  
 
Lauri Aesoph M. ND ©

If you decide to use BBT as part of your fertility awareness program, supplement its use with other fertility signs. Use it to confirm ovulation, but don't rely on temperature to gauge your most fertile phase.

A woman's cervical mucus, mandatory for fertilization, is the most important fertility sign. When mucus is absent, or pasty, crumbly or has a dry infertile quality, then sperm are unable to survive long enough to reach and fertilize the egg. The naturally acidic nature of the vagina kills sperm (and protects the vagina from infections.) The disorganized consistency of infertile mucus also blocks sperm from traveling toward the waiting egg.

When cervical mucus is wet, slippery, creamy and stretchy it is fertile and will nourish and protect sperm for up to five days. In fact, the slippery quality of fertile mucus provides channels that guide sperm toward the uterus and into the fallopian tubes. If you have intercourse before ovulating, sperm hideout in small indented crypts inside the cervix. These sperm are protected by fertile mucus until ovulation occurs. Even the sweet smell of fertile mucus tells a woman that a special sugar food called glucose is mixed in with her mucus so that her partner's sperm will be well fed until fertilization.

How the cervix sits inside the vagina also plays a role in fertility. During infertile times, the cervix positions itself high in the vagina, its opening is narrow and the cervix feels hard and unreceptive. As the fertile phase approaches, the cervix lowers itself into the vaginal canal, softens and opens its os inviting sperm to enter.

Fertility awareness obviously helps older women trying to get pregnant. This system is also useful during other times when women are less fertile. If you stop using the pill to become pregnant, you are moving from a state of infertility to fertility. Because the pill alters your hormonal balance and affects cervical mucus, your body can take months or years before it's completely fertile again. Fertility signs allow you to monitor this process.

Modern Living
While modern life has furnished most of us with enough food to eat, a warm, secure home to live in and a job that we work at year round, these advantages can interfere with reproduction. Living in the city where light from street lamps or store fronts infiltrates your bedroom while you sleep is one problem.

There is evidence that if a woman's bedroom is penetrated by light during her nightly sleep, her menstrual cycle and perhaps fertility may be disrupted. Anne, who had been trying to get pregnant for almost a decade, put up heavy curtains in her bedroom after she learned about this connection. Although she was making many other lifestyle changes at the same time, she finally became pregnant after years of frustration.

Fertility also varies with the seasons. Breeders know that animals procreate during certain times of the year. Unlike animals, people are sexually active and able to conceive anytime. However, there is evidence that both the human sperm (8) and egg (9) are more receptive to fertilization during particular times of the year. Sperm count, density and volume increase between February and May. In women, the quality of her egg or uterine lining is highest from October to March, peaking in November.

Certainly there are situations where timing conception is not enough to correct an infertility problem. However, learning the ins and outs of your reproductive rhythm can eliminate the need for conception roulette. No longer will you feel the need to have sex every day of the month to produce a baby.

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