As a fertility awareness educator, I have a pretty keen idea of what the most difficult parts of fertility awareness are for most women (hint: cervical fluid).
Like any good teacher, I have a repertoire of questions and explanations to help you understand your cervical fluid better.
Lucky for me, I’ve had really good success helping bunches of women understand their cervical fluid, but that doesn’t mean I’m not always on the lookout for more ways to make it an even simpler transition (you know, the one from having no idea what cervical fluid is to using it to understand when you are fertile and what’s going on with your hormones).
What you really need to understand when you learn about your cervical fluid is 2 things:
- When you enter your fertile phase (often called the “point of change”).
- What cervical fluid is “peak” and what is “non-peak” (this helps you identify something called your “peak-day” and you do a count from that to end your fertile phase).
It’s actually a pretty simple couple of things to be looking for, but in the beginning it can still feel tricky as hell when you are first starting.
Hence, the experiments. I think I’m a scientist at heart (I did graduate from college with a science degree, after all).
I have done multiple experiments ranging from taking my temperature with 2 thermometers simultaneously to seeing how certain diet or lifestyle changes effected my cycle.
My latest was no exception in the creativity department.
When I’m looking for an experiment, I’m not looking for something to take over as a way to track your fertility signs, but a way to better understand them. Keep that one in mind.
With this one, since your cervical fluid changes in pH during your cycle (which is part of the reason it works as a fertility sign – sperm can’t live with of the help of the higher pH cervical fluid and die fast in the normally acidic vaginal environment), I thought “pH strips! I can get an objective measure of how some aspect of cervical fluid is changing. Sweet.”
So I get the strips and am super excited to start using them and testing. I started out early in my cycle and had basically nothing. I noticed that the pH strip really didn’t change colors and thought that maybe it’s either not getting it wet enough or maybe it was just the pH that wouldn’t change the strip color.
But days passed and I continued to try. My cervical fluid got wetter and extremely fertile. Certainly there should be a change now, yes?
Still, the strips are showing nothing. At this point, I start testing saliva and urine to make sure I didn’t get bum strips. Nien, the strips are fine and turning colors.
Conclusion: Cervical fluid does not measure on home pH strips and/or the variation in pH isn’t enough to read on home pH strips.
I share this with you for 3 reasons
1.) So you know that pH strips aren’t going to help you decipher your cervical fluid.
2.) So you know that I am not magical and not everything I do works.
3.) Because I want you to know that you can experiment, too.
The last one is particularly important. If you choose to learn via book you will probably need to do your fair share of experimentation before you really understand everything (if you get help from an instructor we are really good at asking the right questions and giving you little tips that will make it way easier to understand).
But when an experiment doesn’t go the way you planned, it can still be useful. For instance, I know not to tell any clients to try using pH strips if they just aren’t understanding their cervical fluid. I also know I can write a post about it and help other people trying to make their way charting their cycles.
Despite the fact that we know the science of fertility awareness really well, why it works, and how well it works, I think there is always room for improvement in how to help women, like you, understand and interpret their cycles more easily. This is super important for me since I teach women to use the method, but we get more and more information from more women talking about what’s worked for them (and of course, good ‘ol scientific studies).
I want to hear from you. Have you done any experiments? Were there parts of fertility awareness that were difficult for you to understand at first (and how did you figure it out)? If you haven’t learned yet, is the fear of not understanding holding you back (and what would help you feel confident)?