There’s something about trying to get pregnant that seems to bring out the worst advice from your friends and family. Sure, they mean well, but when your cousins are swearing up and down that they know absolutely the only thing that will help you conceive, it can be hard to tell truth from fact.
Take the myth that checking your cervical position will help you pinpoint just when you’re ovulating so you can rush to the bedroom for some good old-fashioned babymaking sex. Yes, we said it’s a myth.
Although it’s widely touted by some women as “the thing” that helped them tell just when they’re ovulating, the fact is the only time the cervix goes through major changes is when a woman’s giving birth, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an OB/GYN and author of The A to Z for Your Vag. Not to mention, “most women can’t even feel their cervix” to determine its position, she says, so if it were to change, it would hardly help folks determine where they are in their menstrual cycle.
If tracking my cervix won’t help, how can I tell when I’m ovulating?
Forget what your cousins, best friends, and that overbearing lady at the supermarket swear will help you tell when it’s time to have sex. Here are some bona fide ways actual doctors say you can tell if you’re ovulating:
- Cervical mucus changes: Although the cervix doesn’t move, it does produce a discharge during ovulation that can be a clear sign that you’re at your most fertile, says David Diaz, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. If you insert a few fingers in your vagina, and they come out with a clear, slippery, stretchy mucus on the tips, it’s a good indication you’re ovulating.
- PMS-like symptoms: It doesn’t sound quite fair, does it? Double the PMS? For some women, symptoms such as breast tenderness or bloating that many associate with the days before their period arrives may actually show up even earlier…when they’re ovulating. The good side of this? If this is you, it may help you get a handle on your cycle.
- Cycle-tracking apps: Technology has come a long, long way in recent years, and many of the cycle-tracking apps on the market may help a woman pinpoint her most fertile period, Dweck says. Not all apps are created equal, so it’s best to talk to your provider about your cycle and needs (or check out our guide here) to find out if there is an app they recommend you use.
- Follicle ultrasounds: Cycles vary. Your best friend might have a 28-day-cycle, while yours might be more like 34 days…or maybe 21. If you haven’t been able to nail that ovulation window at home, a reproductive endocrinologist may be able to help using ultrasound technology.
You can skip the cervix checks (and you might want to stop taking medical advice from your cousin). But there are plenty of other methods that may help you figure out the perfect time to schedule some baby-making sex sessions. Good luck!