Know Your Fertility

Get pregnant naturally. Avoid pregnancy naturally.

Pregnancy Without Intercourse?

Pregnancy regularly happens without intercourse to unsuspecting couples who do not understand the function of the fertile type mucus.

Fertile mucus, produced by the cervix, is present in the woman’s body for five to six days before ovulation, as the ova are ripening. This mucus flows down the vagina to the outside of the body. The vaginal canal is normally acidic. Seminal fluid is alkaline. Sperm would normally die in the acidic environment of the vagina. However, the fertile mucus is alkaline – just like the seminal fluid, and so it protects and nourishes the sperm on their journey to the egg.

Even without ejaculation, sperm are present in the small amount of fluid produced by a tiny gland called the Cowper’s gland. Cowper’s fluid leaks out of the penis during sexual activity. Therefore, sperm are often present before ejaculation. The presence of sperm in the Cowper’s fluid may be one reason for the ineffectiveness of withdrawal as a method of birth control. Another reason may be the leaking of a drop of seminal fluid before withdrawal occurs. The first drop of seminal fluid may contain millions of sperm.

In addition, even without penetration (of the penis into the vagina,) pregnancy is possible. This is because, during the woman’s fertile mucus time, the tiny, microscopic sperm can swim from outside the vagina, into the vaginal opening, up the vagina, into the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. There the sperm may fertilize the ovum, and pregnancy may begin. For this reason, during the woman’s fertile time, pregnancy is possible with only genital contact. Genital contact means contact of the penis near the vagina.
For more information, see the free Fertility Awareness download available on this site.

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Female Hormones and the Cycle of Moods

When we become aware of the fertile mucus – that wet, slippery sensation outside the vaginal opening – estrogen is increasing in our bodies. The hormone estrogen may cause us to feel courageous and loving. Men who bored us last week may suddenly appear interesting and attractive. We may be interested in sexual activity. These emotions and reactions – the work of estrogen – are getting us ready to have a baby, whether or not we really want one!

But the fertile, wet time is also our power time – a time to start new projects or finish old ones. Like Mother Earth in her rainy season, we are full of potential. We may also feel less need to sleep, since the chemical adrenaline, which causes excitement, is also high at this time.

Charting our cycle, with its signs and signals, helps to keep us
aware of the waxing and waning of energy and sexual desire. This awareness, called fertility awareness, allows us to harness our cycle to power our own goals — What do I want to create this cycle? — rather than allowing our hormones to push us in ways we really do not want to go.

After ovulation, under the influence of the hormone progesterone, we may feel somewhat deflated compared to that wet, fertile time. Like Mother Earth in her dry time, we may feel quiet, with less energy.

When menstrual bleeding begins, both estrogen and progesterone are at low levels. We may feel sensitive, solitary, or inward.

Getting to know the feelings that go along with our hormonal cycle can give us a new and sensitive relationship with ourselves.
For more information, see the free Fertility Awareness download available on this site. – Marie Zenack,


By the time your temperature goes up, it’s too late.

Or: Why, if you are trying to conceive, you should forget about taking your temperature.

Let’s begin by understanding the cycle: To begin the cycle of fertility, a hormone, called follicle-stimulating hormone, (FSH) is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. FSH travels through the bloodstream to the ovaries, causing a few (about 16) of the many tiny follicles there to begin to ripen, or mature. (A follicle is a ring of cells with a tiny, unripe egg, called an ovum, inside.)

As the follicles ripen, they produce another hormone – estrogen. Under the influence of estrogen, the cervix (the opening of the uterus,) begins producing fertile type mucus. For most of us there is enough mucus to be noticed as a wet, slippery sensation outside the vaginal opening. (Without knowing our signs of fertility, we could mistake the cervical mucus for perspiration or an infection!)

Estrogen signals the pituitary gland in the brain that some follicles have matured in the ovaries.

Ovulation: When the pituitary gland receives the message that some follicles have matured, it produces another hormone – leutenizing hormone, or LH. LH causes one of the ripening follicles to release its ovum into a fallopian tube – ovulation

The tiny ovum – barely visible without a microscope – is moved along the fallopian tube by the cilia, tiny hairs that line the fallopian tubes. Fertilization actually takes place while the ovum is still in the fallopian tubes. If the ovum is not fertilized by sperm within 12 to 24 hours, it disintegrates and is reabsorbed by the body.

After ovulation, the empty follicle, which is called the corpus luteum, lives for about two weeks, all the while making another hormone – progesterone.

Progesterone causes a woman’s resting temperature to go up about 4/10 of a degree Fahrenheit or 2/10 of a degree Centigrade.

So here is the important thing about taking your temperature: The rise in temperature is produced by progesterone. Progesterone is produced by the empty follicle. Why is the follicle empty? Because ovulation has already occurred! Since the egg is only capable of being fertilized for about 12 hours after ovulation, by the time the empty follicle produces enough progesterone to cause a rise in temperature, it is too late to fertilize the egg.

So, for those wishing to conceive, I recommend forgetting about the thermometer and paying attention to the sensation outside the vagina, using the wet, slippery days for sexual relations.

That wet, slippery mucus is what protects the sperm from vaginal acidity, keeping the sperm alive, ready and waiting for the egg when it appears. As soon as it does, they race to meet her.
For more information, and a sample chart for keeping track of your basal body temperature, see the free Fertility Awareness download available on this site.

– Marie


Artificial Light and Fertility

Artificial light may be affecting your menstrual cycle, and your fertility.

Our sleepless society surrounds us with an  abundance of man-made light – even during times we call dark. This artificial light while we sleep appears to interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone associated with ovarian activity.
Research studies by Joy DeFelice, R.N., B.S.N. P.H.N. at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, showed that women’s cycles usually normalize when artificial light is eliminated while sleeping. Eliminating the artificial light seems to allow the hormonal system to reset itself, so to speak, and take a fresh start. Couples who were thought to be infertile have been able to conceive by eliminating artificial light while sleeping.
In these studies, couples slept in total darkness. Eliminating the sources of light usually resolved many, if not all, of the fertility difficulties. If the cycle had not normalized after three cycles in darkness, a small amount of light, such as a night light or outside moonlight, was introduced during sleep when signs of ovulation began.

Other experiments with light on laboratory rats had found that melatonin formation is on a clear 24-hour rhythm that is entirely dependent on the light-dark cycle. In continuous light, the rat’s pineal gland shrinks, puts out less melatonin, and ovarian activity increases. In continuous darkness, the opposite occurs.

These findings lead Joy DeFelice, the author of the studies on artificial light and fertility, to postulate that when the 24 hour rhythmic level of melatonin is lost due to the presence of abnormal levels of light at night, both the normal progression of hormonal events within the menstrual cycle and the normal circulating levels of each reproductive hormone can become disrupted.

Those women sleeping in darkness attained a more normal menstrual cycle and subsequently a high success rate in achieving pregnancy if no contributory medical factors were present.

My own daughter participated in this study. Her cycles were irregular and long – sometimes with no ovulation or menstruation at all for over eight months.  In order to participate in the study, she bought darkening cloth and velcroed it to the window frames. She removed the clock radio with it’s glowing clock, and rolled a beach towel into a tube to block light that might enter under the door.

Her cycles normalized within a few months, and she was able to conceive her first child. –


Marie Zenack,