Cervical Mucus Methods
With this Fertility Awareness Method, you check the consistency of your cervical mucus. A few days before ovulation, the mucus becomes noticeable, fluid, clear, and stringy. After ovulation, it becomes milky, cloudy, and viscous.
- Billings and Creighton Methods
These methods only track cervical mucus. Billings focuses on the sensation of the cervical mucus on the vulva (i.e. slippery). The Creighton Method uses observations of menstrual bleeding, quality and color of cervical mucus, and absence of mucous to indicate days of fertility.
This method combines the Basal Body Temperature and the Cervical Mucus methods. By using this procedure, ovulation is predicted by seeing clear cervical mucus before ovulation, and ovulation is confirmed with the basal body temperature rise. Some also add the cervix position; when it rises and is soft and moist, you are most fertile (but it can take a lot of practice to notice).
Sympto-Hormonal Method: Marquette
The Marquette Method uses an electronic monitor to measure estrogen and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in urine combined with cervical mucus monitoring. The electronic monitor reads “low,” “high,” or “peak,” depending on the hormone levels. It is optional to also tracking some symptoms like cervical mucus or basal body temperature.
Hormones trigger all the changes that happen during the menstrual cycle, like cervical mucus changes, temperature changes, mood changes, etc. There are different options when it comes to hormone tracking. The most basic form are regular OPKs or Ovulation Predictor Kits which test your Luteinizing Hormone (LH). They use urine test strips to detect LH levels. If two lines appear on the test, it means ovulation will happen in about 12-24 hours.
More advanced options integrate digital period tracking and more hormone tests, like the Pearl Fertility home kit. With the Pearl kit, you test Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels on a personalized schedule. It includes the option to add test progesterone tests covering all key hormones for the three parts of the cycle: FSH for the first part, LH for ovulation, and Progesterone for the second part.
Pearl comes with an app for your smartphone to read the test results and hormone levels by simply taking a picture of the tests. This allows you to know your ovulation date and your most fertile days in advance. All this information is presented through the interactive screens of the app, where you can see your hormone levels in a personalized chart every cycle.
It is a real-time approach working for every cycle with a more thorough analysis of your menstrual cycle than common ovulation prediction kits or other methods.
If you would like to know more about the role of FSH, LH, and Progesterone in regulating the phases of your cycle, check out these articles: FSH, LH and Progesterone.