As a young mother, I wanted children, but I also desired some control over how I spaced my pregnancies. This technique helps a woman recognize when she is most likely to conceive. She can then choose to use a contraception method to prevent pregnancy or make this the time to attempt conception.
While some women take their temperature first thing in the morning to determine whether they are ovulating (it’s higher when you are), it’s not a reliable method, because a poor night’s sleep can lead to an elevated temperature in the morning.
What is useful is monitoring one’s cervical mucus. A woman’s natural secretions change depending on whether or not she’s ovulating. Germans have a term for it: “spinnbarkeit”. This indicates the state of the mucus during ovulation, when it is clear and stringy, like egg white. In this state, which usually lasts about a week, a woman is in an ideal situation to conceive.
However, after that time, when the mucus becomes cloudy and loses its stringiness, the environment is more likely to be hostile to sperm, and the woman is less likely to conceive.
It’s helpful to monitor changes in mucus in order to get a better understanding of your natural cycle. One caveat though is that one should not assume that lack of spinnbarkeit means that you cannot conceive. It’s still important to take precautions before and after ovulation if one does not wish to become pregnant as it’s possible for sperm to survive in cervical mucus and be released over time.
Provided that there are no other factors inhibiting conception, mucus monitoring can contribute greatly toward the act of conception.