Know Your Fertility

Get pregnant naturally. Avoid pregnancy naturally.

Getting Pregnant Naturally

First, relax and breath.  Some questions:  Have you been on hormonal birth control?  If so, how long has it been since discontinuing it?  Depending on the method used, it can take from 6 months to 2 years for fertility to return.  Be patient.

Since hormonal contraception interferes with the natural flow of hormones, I recommend a good herbal fertility combination.  Here is one I like: http://taohealingarts.com/bd203.html.  In addition, since hormonal methods stress the liver, I also recommend taking http://taohealingarts.com/bp404.html as well.  Of course, even if you have never used hormonal birth control, herbal formulas for the female reproductive system are still recommended.  These two, female formula and liver formula, are also very good:  http://store.healmarketplace.com/drinks/female-formula

http://store.healmarketplace.com/shoes/liver-detoxing-kit

For your diet, choose foods grown without chemicals.  Eat healthy fats:  butter, coconut oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil/butter oil from www.greenpasture.org. Eat green, leafy vegetables, pasture-raised eggs, meat, bone broth. All grains should be soaked for about 8 hours before cooking to improve digestibility.

Keep a chart of your signs of fertility as discussed on www.knowyourfertility.net, in the free download called, Fertility Awareness.  If you do not conceive in the first few cycles, continue observing and charting your signs of fertility, but add the following:

Castor oil pack over abdomen 3 – 4 times weekly.  To make a castor oil pack, cut a piece of old terry cloth big enough to cover lower abdomen.  Place cloth on pan or griddle and warm on stove, soaking cloth with castor oil. Leave on heat until very warm but not hot enough to burn.  Place castor oil soaked cloth on lower abdomen, cover with a piece of plastic, and lie down to rest for about an hour with hot water bottle or heating pad over castor oil pack.  Repeat 3 – 4 times weekly.  Do not underestimate castor oil pack.  In Spanish it is called “Hand of Christ.”  I have known women to dissolve tumors, ovarian cysts, and open clogged fallopian tubes with castor oil packs.

On the off days, when not doing a castor oil pack, massage the lower abdomen deeply but gently for as long as is comfortable. After the abdominal massage, massage the feet, especially the big toe on each foot. The reflexology point for the pituitary is on the big toe.  The pituitary is the beginning of the cycle of ovulation.

Speak to the child that you are inviting. Send her/him love. Be grateful for everything you have.

Let me know if you have questions on the above.

Many Blessings,  Marie

www.knowyourfertility.net

mariezenack@gmail.com

 

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Breast Feeding as a Way to Avoid Pregnancy

BreastFeeding

 

Complete breast-feeding can delay the return of fertility for at least three months, and usually much longer. Complete breastfeeding means the baby receives nothing by mouth besides the breast. The breast is used as a pacifier and baby is fed on demand and at least once in the middle of the night.

Complete breastfeeding also involves mother and baby in a physically close relationship. Consider cultures where baby is carried in a sling, and sleeps next to mom. Then consider babies who are only carried from plastic seats to crib. The close energetic exchange between mother and baby appears to be a mysterious part of what delays the return of ovulation during breastfeeding.

Begin charting your external mucus two weeks after the birth of your baby. Four weeks after giving birth, begin to confirm dryness by checking for a low, firm, closed, dry cervix.  Your mucus may be less noticeable while you are breastfeeding, but your cervix will be low and easy to find.

If you begin to have patches of mucus or wetness or high, soft, open cervix, consider giving more frequent feedings (not necessarily greater quantity, just more frequently.) The baby’s suckling stimulates the hormone oxytocin, which postpones the return of fertility. For more information, download the free ebook, Fertility Awareness, at www.knowyourfertility.net

 

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Signs of Fertility in a Woman’s Body

WomanOnMoonObservation of your fertile type mucus is the most user-friendly and culturally acceptable fertility indicator. If you are achieving pregnancy, the mucus is your best friend. If you are avoiding pregnancy, I recommend that you also learn to recognize other fertility indicators. Download out my free ebook.

Charting the mucus for info only lets you know in advance when you will begin your next menstruation. No more being caught by surprise! Although each woman is different, the time between the day of ovulation and the next menstruation is about 11 – 16 days. After charting for a few cycles, you will know how long this time is for you.

The mucus lets us know that an ovum is maturing and is about to be released into the fallopian tube. We notice it outside the vagina during our normal daily activity – such as when we go to the bathroom. At first we may confuse the fertile wetness with vaginal secretions. Vaginal secretions are part of the vagina’s normal self-cleansing process and do not indicate fertility. Fertile type mucus is produced by the cervix during the fertile time of the cycle. It is different from vaginal secretions.

If you observe and chart for a cycle, you may see how clearly your body signals your fertility. It may give you a feeling that your body is on your side, and not trying to trick you into conceiving.

Or, you may end up feeling unsure of what you are observing. In that case, keep studying the ebook mentioned above, and keep observing and keeping a chart.

Charting the Mucus Sign

1) Menstruation: Chart bleeding for all bleeding.

2) Dry Days: Chart dry on the days when you feel nothing and see nothing outside the vagina. Dry means nothing seen and nothing felt.

3) Mucus Days: Chart mucus if you feel or see something (anything) outside the vagina. You may observe something sticky, pasty, creamy, or just a wet feeling.

4) Slippery Wet days: Chart slippery if you feel a slippery feeling, even if there is no mucus visible. Slippery is an indication of the rise of estrogen. It means that the ovum is about to be released.

5) Key Day: Key Day is the last day of any slippery mucus or slippery feeling. It is the most fertile day and is probably the day of ovulation.

Knowing the signs of fertility will give you a feeling of empowerment and participation in all the cycles of Nature.

Enjoy,  Marie

http://knowyourfertility.net/

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The Male Hormonal System

The male hormonal systemHormones are also at work in a man’s body, preparing him to be able to become a father. Contrary to the jokes that are made about male sexuality, it does, actually, begin in the brain. The pituitary gland  sends a hormone, called follicle stimulating hormone, (FSH) to the testicles, signaling them to produce sperm, the male reproductive cells.

After sperm are produced in the testicles, they travel through a tube called the vas deferens to the seminal vesicle, which holds the mature sperm. The prostate gland makes seminal fluid, the fluid which transports the sperm in the urethra. The urethra is a tube extending from the bladder, through the prostate, and through the penis to the outside of the man’s body.

 During sexual activity, vessels in the penis fill with blood, causing the penis to become firm and erect (the male erection.) When the prostate gland fills with as much seminal fluid as it can comfortably hold, after which it contracts. The contractions draw sperm from the seminal vesicle. Seminal fluid mixed with sperm is called semen. The contractions of the prostate gland force the semen through the urethra and out the tip of the penis (ejaculation).

The ejaculate (semen) is a teaspoon to a tablespoon of thick milky liquid and contains millions of microscopic sperm. Even though the urethra transports both urine and semen out through the penis, when a man has an erection a valve closes between the prostate gland and the bladder to prevent urine from being released when semen is ejaculated. Practically speaking, this means that (thankfully) a man cannot urinate and ejaculate at the same time!

 During sexual relations, when ejaculation has deposited the sperm in the woman’s vagina, the sperm swim up the vagina to the uterus. They swim in the cervical mucus that is produced during the fertile time of a woman’s cycle of fertility. The secretions of the vagina are normally acidic to protect women from infections. The acidic secretions of the vagina are hostile to sperm. But the fertile mucus is alkaline and protects the sperm from the acidic environment of the vagina. It also filters out imperfect sperm and guides the healthy sperm up into the uterus. From there the sperm swim into the fallopian tubes.

Feelings: Testosterone, the male hormone, can cause a man to feel competitive, aggressive, and very interested in women. However, successful men everywhere have learned to harness their hormonal energy to fulfill their life goals, rather than allowing their hormones to direct their lives. For more information on this topic, see

The Tao of Sexology, – Dr. Stephen T. Chang, Tao Publishing, Reno, NV: 1986.

 

Marie

www.knowyourfertility.net

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A Woman’s Cycle of Fertility

Female reproductive system

That mysterious and beautiful thing that we call our cycle of fertility begins in our brain. The pituitary starts the whole process by producing follicle-stimulating hormone, whose function is – you guessed it – stimulating follicles.  FSH travels through the bloodstream to the ovaries, where it causes a few (about 16) of the many tiny follicles there to begin ripening, or maturing.

A follicle is a ring of cells with a tiny, unripe egg, called an ovum, inside. Each ovary contains about 200,000 tiny follicles, barely visible without a microscope. As those few follicles ripen, they produce another hormone – estrogen.

Estrogen causes the cervix, (the opening of the uterus) to go through some changes.  It gets softer, opens slightly, and moves higher up the vaginal canal. Under the influence of estrogen, the cervix also begins producing fertile type mucus.

For most of us there is enough of that mucus that it flows down the vagina and we see or feel it outside the vaginal opening between our legs. Without knowing our signs of fertility, we could mistake the cervical mucus for perspiration or an infection!

Estrogen also causes the endometrium, (the lining of the uterus), to become thick, soft and spongy, forming a kind of bed that could hold and nourish a baby. Finally, estrogen signals the pituitary gland in the brain that some follicles have matured in the ovaries.

Feelings: During this wet, fertile time in our cycle, when the follicles are ripening and the cervix is making mucus,  we may feel self confident, out-going, creative, and full of energy. We may also feel less need to sleep, since adrenaline – that chemical which causes excitement, is also high at this time. This is our power time. It’s time to start new projects,  finish up the old ones. Like Mother Earth in her rainy season, we are full of potential. We may feel courageous, loving, and interested in sexual activity. Estrogen is getting us ready to have a baby, even if we do not want to have one!

So, to help stay on track, keep a fertility chart!  Charting our cycle, with its signs and signals, helps us stay aware of the waxing and waning of energy and sexual desire. It lets us harness the energy of our hormones to power our own goals—What do I want to create this cycle?—rather than allowing them to push us into places we really do not want to go.

Ovulation: When the pituitary gland receives the message that some follicles have matured in the ovaries, it produces another hormone, called leutenizing hormone, or LH. LH causes one of those ripening follicles to release its ovum into a fallopian tube – ovulation!  The ovum is moved along the fallopian tube by the cilia, tiny hairs that line the fallopian tubes. If the ovum is not fertilized by male sperm within 12 to 24 hours, it disintegrates and is reabsorbed by the body.

After ovulation, the empty follicle, which we now call the corpus luteum, lives for about two weeks, all the while making yet another hormone – progesterone. Progesterone thickens the fertile-type mucus in the cervix, creating a plug to keep germs out of the uterus in case of a pregnancy. Because the mucus is now thick , it no longer makes its way down the vagina to the outside of the body. Therefore we no longer notice any slippery wetness outside the vaginal opening.

Progesterone also causes our resting temperature to go up about 4/10 of a degree Fahrenheit or 2/10 of a degree Centigrade. Finally, progesterone prevents the pituitary in the brain from sending any more hormonal messages to begin another cycle. Progesterone continues to delay the beginning of another cycle for about two weeks, after which time the empty follicle dies.

More Feelings: After ovulation, under the influence of progesterone, we may feel somewhat deflated compared to our wet, fertile time. Like Mother Earth in her dry time, we may feel quiet and less energetic.

Menstruation: When the empty follicle dies and pregnancy has not occurred, there’s nothing left to make that progesterone that was growing the uterine lining. So the lining of the uterus is shed with menstruation.  The bloody menstrual flow contains the tissue and nutrients that would have held and nourished a baby if conception had taken place.

Even More Feelings: When menstrual bleeding begins, both estrogen and progesterone are at low levels. We may feel sensitive, solitary, or inward. “How did I spend my creative energy this cycle?

As soon as the lining of the uterus is shed with menstruation, another lining begins to grow. That is the nature of a cycle. One ends. Another begins. 

By understanding and following the natural inward and outward energies of our cycle, we develop a compassionate relationship with ourselves.

Blessings, Marie

http://knowyourfertility.net/

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Nature’s User-friendly Fertility Test

Fertility CalendarNoticing the fertile-type mucus (cervical mucus) is the easiest way to know when you are fertile, since it is noticed in the course of daily activity.

Fertile mucus is produced by the cervix during the days when the ova are maturing and preparing for ovulation, even if your cycles are irregular. This mucus is not only an indicator of fertility, but is also essential for fertility – since it nourishes the sperm, protects them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and guides them toward the ovum.

Here’s how to observe and chart your fertile type mucus – without buying tests or gadgets:

Pay attention to how you feel as you go about your daily activities. Just as you have learned to notice a certain wetness at menstruation, you will begin to notice a second wet time later in the cycle, a wet time without bleeding. The second wet time is caused by your fertile type mucus.

Each time you use the toilet, wipe with toilet paper both before and after you use the toilet, noticing: a) the sensation you feel as you wipe with toilet paper, b) what is on the toilet paper. If you do not use toilet paper in your culture, whatever way you clean yourself after using the toilet will be the way that you observe the mucus. Chart what you see and what you feel in any way that makes sense to you. Here is one way to chart.

1) Menstruation: mark the days of bleeding in some way, such as coloring the calendar day red.

2) Nothing: if you don’t see or feel anything outside your vagina, you can leave the calendar blank on those days.

3) Something: but if you see or feel something – anything – such as pasty or sticky mucus, or a feeling of wetness – draw a raindrop on these days.

4) Slippery something: If the pasty or sticky mucus turns to slippery mucus or a slippery feeling, color the raindrop dark to indicate the slippery wetness. A slippery sensation at the vaginal opening indicates a rise in estrogen and the approach – probably – of ovulation.

After a few slippery wet days, the mucus may disappear or return to sticky or pasty. When it does, mark the LAST DAY of slippery wet mucus as the KEY DAY, and begin to count the days when no mucus is noticed, or the mucus is no longer slippery. In a fertile cycle, the time between the last day of slippery mucus or slippery feeling and the next menstruation is between 11-16 days. You will become quite accurate about your predictions after you chart for a few cycles.

The slippery mucus time is your most fertile time, since fertile is produced during the days leading up to and including ovulation. If you are trying to conceive, use the wet, slippery days for sexual relations. (Don’t try to use this information for birth control – avoiding pregnancy – unless you seek out a qualified teacher of fertility awareness or download and study the fertility awareness book on this site www.knowyourfertility.net.

Generally speaking, dark red bleeding for about three days indicates that hormones are high enough to build a good uterine lining and nourish a fetus in the event of conception. However, more than three days of dark red bleeding can be exhausting. I recommend two or three cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily to strengthen the uterus, prevent heavy bleeding and balance hormones.

Three to five days of wet, slippery mucus 11-14 days before the next menstruation is a probable indicator of ovulation and a fertile cycle. Cycles are often 28-30 days from the first day of bleeding to the first day of the bleeding of the next menstruation.

However, irregular cycles do not indicate infertility. If the time between the last day of slippery mucus and the next menstruation is 11-16 days, the cycle is probably fertile. Even if one cycle is not fertile, the next may well be fertile.

Pay close attention to nutrition. Look for natural foods grown without chemicals. Heal your relationships with family and mate. Exercise in moderation. Drink plenty of pure water. Pray for the child you desire.

For more information, and a sample chart for fertile type mucus, download the free Fertility Awareness book available on this site at www.knowyourfertility.net. If you keep a careful chart for a few cycles and send the charts to me at mariezenack@gmail.com,  I will be glad to review your charts and make suggestions.

Blessings,

– Marie Zenack, www.knowyourfertility.net

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Dietary Fats for Fertility

healthy oilsLow fat diets, especially vegetarian and vegan diets, although touted by the diet industry, are associated with infertility. A recent study showed that women on low fat diets were likely to be infertile, while women on high fat diets had no problem getting pregnant. – Weston A Price Foundation.

Of course, it depends on the kind of fat. Butter, olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil are among the best – the kinds of fats you and your baby need. Without these fats you will crave refined carbs, which rob your body and your baby’s body of nutrients.

Your brain – and your baby’s brain – are made of fat. One of the most important fats that makes up the brain is called aracadonic acid – an omega-6 fatty acid that is found only in animal fats, such as in butter, egg yolks, organ meats and meat fats. Popular authors have warned against eating butter, liver and other fatty foods. But they neglect to tell you that the brain is 11 percent arachidonic acid. This saturated fat is really critical for BRAIN FUNCTION. The best source is butter, followed by liver.

The other thing that arachidonic acid does is create tight cell-to-cell junctures, which are what make your gut impermeable so that allergenic proteins can’t get through to the bloodstream. Colic, autism, colitis, etc, are all associated with leaky gut.

It may also be interesting to note that replacing carbs with GOOD fats in your diet will cause you to LOSE weight!! While those carbs were creating an insulin imbalance in your body and causing you to crave more carbs, the fats will be providing a concentrated source of energy. They will slow down nutrient absorption so you can go longer without feeling hungry.

We also need fats as carriers for Vitamins A, D, E, and K, to convert carotene to vitamin A, and to absorb the minerals in our foods.

The low fat diet is the great for the food industry and for the fertility industry, but you and your baby are paying the price for it. For more information on the truthfully healthy diet, see the Weston A Price Foundation.

Enjoy,

Marie

http://knowyourfertility.net

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Basal Body Temperature and Fertility

TemperatureThe body’s resting temperature increases four-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit or two-tenths of a degree Centigrade under the influence of progesterone at ovulation.

Observing this sign involves taking your temperature at the same time each morning before rising. (This is not as hard as it sounds. It takes less than two minutes and you can go back to sleep if you want.)

To observe your temperature rise, buy a BD brand digital basal thermometer. This brand will give you a consistent and accurate reading. Other high quality brands of digital basal thermometers are also probably accurate, but have not been tested for fertility awareness. Make sure the battery is good. (You can replace it.) An ordinary clinical thermometer is not accurate enough for fertility awareness. Nor is the “ear thermometer” (tympanic thermometer).

Take your temperature every day immediately upon waking, before 7:30 a.m. The body’s rhythms (circadian rhythms) fluctuate over a 24-hour period. Your temperature is lowest in the early morning and highest in the afternoon.Fluctuations are greater after 7:30 a.m. If you go to bed before midnight and wake up before 7:30 a.m., you will get the clearest temperature readings. If it is not convenient to take your temperature immediately upon waking, you may take it during light morning activity. For example, if you need to go to the bathroom, you may take your temperature while getting up and using the toilet. If you are consistently wakened by your baby, you may take your temperature while caring for your baby. But be consistent about the circumstances under which you take your temperature. If you take it during light morning activity, take it that way every morning. Don’t take it sometimes before getting up and at other times during light morning activity. If you have sexual relations, take your temperature before.

Many women find that the digital thermometers require such a short time to use that it is easy to take their temperature before getting up. Take your temperature by mouth. Under arm and ear temperatures are not accurate enough for family planning purposes. The thermometer will beep softly several times before beginning to beep slightly louder and repeatedly. Keep the thermometer under your tongue until the louder, repeated beeps begin.

You can read and chart your temperature as soon as is convenient after taking it.Your thermometer has a recall button that allows you to read the last temperature taken. Be sure to wash your thermometer after each use.

Charting Your Temperature

Put a dot on a graph on the spot corresponding to each day’s temperature. Join the dots of consecutive days. If you do not take your temperature one day, do not join the dots across that day. Also note the temperature numerically.

Interpreting Your Chart

1) Breathe and relax. Study your chart.

2) Can you find six low temperatures on or before Key Day? (If you do not know how to determine key day, you will have to read the article entitled Charting the Fertile Mucus to Avoid Pregnancy.)

3) Draw a horizontal line at the highest of the six low temperatures. This is your low temperature line. (See sample chart.)

4) Draw another horizontal line four-tenths of a degree F. or two-tenths of a degree C. above your low temperature line. This is your full thermal shift line.

5) Can you find three high temperatures after Key Day? All of the high temperatures must be above the low temperature line. At least the third high temperature must be at or above the full thermal shift line.

6) All the low temperatures must be on or before Key Day and all the high temperatures must be after Key Day. This temperature pattern of low and high temperatures is called a biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift.

A biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift confirms that you really did ovulate. If you are avoiding pregnancy, you may consider the ovum dead and yourself infertile the evening (after 6:00 p.m.) of the 4th high temperature day after Key Day. If you are achieving pregnancy, you can feel confident that you really are ovulating.

If your temperature does not rise four-tenths of a degree F. or two-tenths of a degree C. (or at least a smaller, but visible, rise) and stay there until the end of your cycle, it is called a monophasic pattern. A monophasic pattern indicates that you may not have ovulated. (Then again, you can’t be sure.)

A drop in temperature 10 – 15 days after a thermal shift indicates that menstruation is about to begin that day or within 48 hours. Probably that day. If your temperature stays high for 18 days or so after the high temperature begins, you are most likely pregnant. Congratulations.

For more information, and a sample chart for the basal body temperature, see the free download, Fertility Awareness, at www.knowyourfertility,net.

– Marie
http://www.knowyourfertility.net

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Charting the Fertile Mucus to Achieve Pregnancy

Observing and charting the fertile-type mucus (cervical mucus) is the best way to know your fertile time if you are hoping to conceive, even if your cycles are irregular.

Cervical Mucus is also the easiest fertile sign to observe, since it is noticed in the course of daily activity. It is produced by the cervix during the days when the ova are maturing and preparing for ovulation. This mucus is not only an indicator of fertility, it is essential for fertility. Cervical mucus nourishes the sperm, protects them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and guides them toward the ovum.

Here’s an simple way to observe and chart your fertile type mucus:
Pay attention to how you feel as you go about your daily activities. Just as you have learned to notice a certain wetness at menstruation, you will begin to notice a second wet time later in the cycle, a wet time without bleeding. The second wet time is caused by your fertile type mucus.

Each time you use the toilet, wipe with toilet paper both before and after you use the toilet, noticing: a) the sensation you feel as you wipe with toilet paper, b) what is on the toilet paper. If you do not use toilet paper in your culture, whatever way you clean yourself after using the toilet will be the way that you observe the mucus. Chart what you see and what you feel in any way that makes sense to you. Here is one way to chart.
1) Menstruation: mark the days of bleeding in some way, such as coloring the calendar day red.
2) Nothing: if you don’t see or feel anything outside your vagina, you can leave the calendar blank on those days.
3) Something: but if you see or feel something – anything – such as pasty or sticky mucus, or a feeling of wetness – draw a raindrop, on these days.
4) Slippery something: If the pasty or sticky mucus turns to slippery mucus or a slippery feeling, color the raindrop dark to indicate the slippery wetness.

After a few slippery wet days, the mucus may disappear or return to sticky or pasty. When it does, mark the LAST DAY of slippery wet mucus as the KEY DAY, and begin to count the days when no slippery mucus is noticed. In a normal fertile cycle, the time between the last day of slippery feeling and the next menstruation is between 11-16 days. You will become quite accurate about your predictions after you chart for a few cycles.

The slippery mucus time is your most fertile time, since fertile type is produced during the days leading up to and including ovulation. If you are trying to conceive, use the wet, slippery days for sexual relations. (Don’t try to use this information for birth control – avoiding pregnancy – unless you seek out a qualified teacher of fertility awareness or download and study the fertility awareness book on this site.)

Generally speaking, dark red bleeding for about three days indicates that hormones are high enough to build a good uterine lining and nourish a fetus in the event of conception. However, more than three days of dark red bleeding can be exhausting. In this case I recommend two or three cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily to strengthen the uterus and balance hormones.

Three to five days of wet, slippery mucus 11-14 days before the next menstruation is a probable indicator of normal ovulation and a fertile cycle. Cycles are often 28-30 days from the first day of bleeding to the first day of the bleeding of the next menstruation. However, irregular cycles do not indicate infertility. If the time between the last day of slippery mucus and the next menstruation is 11-16 days, the cycle is probably fertile. Even if one cycle is not fertile, the next may well be fertile.  If the time after ovulation and the next menstruation is less than 11 days, pay more attention to your nutrition.  Be sure to eat a few pasture-raised eggs each day.  Take a good pre-natal vitamin – making sure that the vitamins come from a food source.

Look for natural foods grown without chemicals. Heal your relationships with family and mate. Exercise in moderation. Drink plenty of pure water. Pray for the child you desire.

For more information, and a sample chart for fertile type mucus, download the free Fertility Awareness book available on this site. If you keep a careful chart for a few cycles and send the charts to me at mariezenack@gmail.com. I will be glad to review your charts and make suggestions.

Blessings,

Marie Zenack, www.knowyourfertility.com

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Male Hormones and How They Work

Mother Nature, ever interested in populating the world, gives a healthy dose of hormones to men, as well as women, hoping the two will get together.

The production of hormones in men begins in pituitary gland in the brain. This gland sends a hormone, called follicle stimulating hormone, (FSH) to the testicles, signaling them to produce sperm, the male reproductive cells. (Follicle stimulating hormone is the same hormone that tells the eggs to begin maturing in women, but somehow it works differently in men.)

As sperm are produced, testosterone, the male hormone, is also produced. Testosterone can cause a man to feel competitive, aggressive, and very interested in women. However, successful men everywhere have learned to harness their hormonal energy to fulfill their life goals, rather than allowing their hormones to direct their lives.

After sperm are produced in the testicles, they travel through a tube called the vas deferens to the seminal vesicle, which holds the mature sperm. The prostate gland makes seminal fluid, the fluid which transports the sperm in the urethra. The urethra is a tube extending from the bladder, through the prostate, and through the penis to the outside of the man’s body.

During sexual activity, vessels in the penis fill with blood, causing the penis to become firm and erect (the male erection.) The prostate gland fills with as much seminal fluid as it can comfortably hold, after which it contracts. The contractions draw sperm from the seminal vesicle. Seminal fluid mixed with sperm is called semen. The contractions of the prostate gland force the semen through the urethra and out the tip of the penis (ejaculation). The ejaculate (semen) is a teaspoon to a tablespoon of thick milky liquid and contains millions of microscopic sperm.

Even though the urethra transports both urine and semen out through the penis, when a man has an erection a valve closes between the prostate gland and the bladder to prevent urine from being released when semen is ejaculated. Practically speaking, this means that (thankfully) a man cannot urinate and ejaculate at the same time. – Marie Zenack, www.momanddaughtertalk.com

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