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The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Reading Your Fertility Cycles to Take Control of Your Reproductive Health

Summary â E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Katie Singer Katie Singer ✓ 9 Free read Read & Download The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Reading Your Fertility Cycles to Take Control of Your Reproductive Health Prefers to suggest that couples who dont want to conceive postpone intercourserather than abstain from itduring the womans fertile phase In any case Doyle said since women are fertile only one third of their cycle using birth control for two thirds of itwhen a woman is naturally infertileis a wasteDoyle also confirmed that most of the scientists whove done research in this field have been male Catholic MDs Until the s Fertility Awareness was only available from a Catholic perspective when Doyle began learning FA she couldnt have gotten the information she wanted from a womens clinic either Since then a small number of nonreligious teachers who usually learned the method through Catholic organizations have offered classes throughout North AmericaNow the Fertility Awareness community is often divided between those who are pro choice and pro life I call myself pre choice Doyle said If peopleincluding teenagersknow their fertility signals theyrelikely to make informed responsible choices about sex She also emphasized that each perspective serves a purpose and meets the needs of different populationsSuzannah gave me the name of Wendy VanDilla a colleague who could train me to teach Fertility Awareness She also gave me her library on the subject as she had moved on to a new career in music I studied with Wendy read voraciously and attended a CCL workshop with Donna and Bill Taylor internationally recognized authorities on lactational amenorrhea I started teaching at the Santa Fe Community College then began offering classes at Womens Health Services WHS an MD staffed clinic founded in in Santa Fe WHS is one of only a few secular not for profit clinics in the country that offers classes in Fertility AwarenessUsing Charts to Gauge Gynecological HealthLater in because of menstrual irregularities I went to see Dagmar Ehling DOM doctor of Oriental medicine the author of The Chinese Herbalists Handbook Id just begun teaching Fertility Awareness and brought my charts to her office To my great joy Dagmar could read them In fact she routinely reuests that her women clients of childbearing age chart their waking temperatures Dagmar had recently completed a postgraduate gynecology course for DOMs with Dr Bob Flaws who translates Chinese research including studies on womens waking temperatures into English for Blue Poppy Press Blue Poppys seminar had focused on using the waking temperature to gauge gynecological health it did not include information about cervical fluid Dagmar and I traded notes We found ourselves eager for this information to be made available to health care providers In November we published Gauging a Womans Health by Her Fertility Signals An Introductory Synthesis of Western and Chinese Medical Principles in the peer reviewed journal Alternative TherapiesBy this time the first edition of Toni Weschlers groundbreaking book Taking Charge of Your Fertility had been published Freuently referred to as the fertility bible Tonis book initiated the movement to reform womens health by introducing Fertility Awareness to the mainstream While many of my students were coming to class with charts that could not be found in textbooks I found myself wanting clear guidelinesfor women and health care providersabout reading charts to gauge gynecological health I wanted a repertoire of natural remedies for strengthening the menstrual cycle and for women to hear each others experiences with charting I wanted to offerinformation about using FA while breast feeding This book which I see as a companion to Tonis began to write itselfMyths of FertilityThousands of years ago women created the first calendars by marking the phases of the moon and their own menstrual cycles with tallies etched into objects like bison horns In The Lunar Calendar publisher Nancy Pass writes The origins of a wholistic view of the world lie in these early observations we are part of nature and nature is part of usJulius Caesar outlawed lunar calendars in BC the Council of Constantinople declared the concept of cycles heretical in the fifth century AD Most calendars today largely ignore the lunar cycle Some such as the Jewish calendar continue to be oriented to lunar and solar cyclesI cant help but wonder how over time decreased awareness of lunar cycles has affected our awareness of fertilitys cycles So many peoples ideas about fertility have been flat out wrong In for example a researcher named Kerkring theorized that women eject ova above all during the menses or on being vehemently angry Some people still mistakenly believe that a woman ovulates only when she has an orgasm or that pre ejaculate doesnt contain enough sperm to cause a pregnancy Our cultures general lack of information about reproductive physiology coupled with the lack of effective ways to prevent unintended pregnancies has meant that a lot of women have hadchildren than they wanted or could sanely handle More recently some pharmaceutical companies have created drugs that make monthly bleeding optional and some gynecologists have proclaimed that suppressing periods gets women to anatural state Personally I dont see how suppressing menstruation is at all natural Meanwhile many of us listen for the messages our bodies provide and seek to live in concert with themA Short History of Fertility AwarenessIn the s an Austrian surgeon and another in Japan simultaneously discovered that ovulation usually takes place fourteen days before the onset of the next period With this discovery the first scientific study in modern times of a natural system of family planning began Called the Calendar or Rhythm Method and based on information from a womans past cycles it helped women with predictable cycles to prevent pregnancy Women with irregular cycles still had no way to determine when they were fertileIn the s Drs John and Evelyn Billings Australian physicians found that healthy women have a standard cervical mucus pattern that parallels hormonal changes During a womans fertile phase glands in the cervix secrete mucus which can keep sperm alive for up to five days at ovulation this same fluid helps sperm travel toward a mature egg in a fallopian tube During infertile days the cervixs dry secretions create a hostile environment for sperm to surviveThe Billingses realized that women could observe their mucus patterns and identify their own fertile and infertile times They began offering workshops worldwide to teach the Ovulation Method to couples wanting a natural way to either avoid or achieve pregnancy The Sympto Thermal Method of Fertility Awareness was born when charts of cervical fluid were combined with charts of the waking temperatureAccording to numerous studies if its rules are followed Fertility Awareness is as effective as the Pill in preventing pregnancy The method has also helped countless couples to conceive and it can be used to help gauge gynecological healthWhy isnt Fertility Awareness widely known Plenty of folks have heard of the Rhythm Method and that its ineffective many people confuse the two Few health care providers know about FA while they do know about the Pill And usually those who teach Fertility Awareness are in touch with each other informally without institutional support As our society has becomehealth conscious andinterested in addressing our concerns including reproductive concerns without pharmaceuticals Fertility Awareness has becomepopularA Community of ChartersA short time after I began teaching Fertility Awareness to prevent or achieve pregnancy the women in my classes started using their charts to conduct research on their own health They observed how long it took to ovulate after theyd been on hormonal contraceptives One woman charted her signals for nearly two months with an IUD which shed had inserted five years before and then continued charting after it was removed Others noticed how different diets affected their monthly cycles None of these women are doctors and yet their research gave me something I could share with new students in similar situations As women continue charting and asking keen uestions about their own health and health care they come to understand their bodies and the ecosystems within which they live with increased strength and fullnessFrom these womens observations Ive come to understand how consumption of organic butter my thyroid hazardous waste in our oceans my menstrual cramps and my relationship with my partner are all connected Im dreaming now of adolescents knowing how their reproductive systems work before they become sexually active and before they choose a method for preventing pregnancy of women and men being as aware of our fertility as we are of our sexuality of Fertility Awareness classes as available as the Pill and fertility enhancing drugs of alliances between those who provide health care education in womens and Catholic communities of alternative and allopathic medical students learning how to read fertility charts of medical research on fertility signals of every person intimately knowing the sacredness of their procreative powersA Note About Reading The Garden of FertilityI CALL THE INFORMATION PRESENTED IN chapters through the core material of Fertility Awareness I consider knowing it a basic life skill Information presented in the other chapters is no less important but understanding the core material is necessary to reap full benefit of these other aspects of Fertility AwarenessThose who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lastsThere is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds the ebb and flow of the tides the folded bud ready for the spring There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of naturethe assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after the winterRACHEL CARSONThe Sense of Wonder A Woman Is Like the Earth Reproductive Anatomy and PhysiologyLIKE THE EARTHS SURFACE A WOMAN of childbearing age cycles through phases of cooling and heating which in turn create moistening and drying which in turn create a fertile environment for life to evolve Rocks glaciers plants and animals including humans all evolve in concert with these processes In the same way that a meteorologist predicts weather by observing patterns of heating and cooling and moistening and drying at the earths surface a woman of childbearing age can observe her bodys fertility signals and know whether or not shes ovulating when shes fertile and infertile if shes prone to ovarian cysts or miscarriage if shes pregnant andThe first step is learning reproductive anatomy the parts of the body and physiology what the parts doThe Female Reproductive SystemThe female reproductive system operates in a cyclical rhythm Until puberty a girl is not fertile Once she begins to menstruate shes entered her childbearing years and shes potentially fertile until menopause when reproduction is no longer possible Unlike most species female orca whales are another exception human females can live for decades after their biological fertility has endedDuring the childbearing years each menstrual cycle moves a woman through infertile fertile and again infertile phases Like the earths seasons women move through a dry infertile phase then a moist fertile phase and again a dry infertile phase To observe your own fertility the first step is learning reproductive anatomyThe uterus is a sterile muscle about the size of a lemon and shaped like an upside down pear There are no bacteria in the uterus so that it can provide a hospitable environment for a baby This lack of bacteria also renders it vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections The neck of the uterus the cervix projects into the vaginal canal The cervixs opening is called the os This is the area thats swabbed during a pap smear to test for cervical cancer Menstrual blood also passes through this opening During childbirth the os dilates ten centimetersThe cervix is filled with glands called crypts which produce cervical fluid Inside the crypts cervical fluid can keep sperm alive for up to five days Ive known some Fertility Awareness teachers to call these recesses in the cervix the sperm hotel Cervical fluid also filters out impaired sperm and provides a conduit for sperm to travel at ovulation from the cervix to the ripe egg in the fallopian tubeOn each side of the top of the uterus theres an ovary a gland that contains.

Read & Download The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Reading Your Fertility Cycles to Take Control of Your Reproductive Health

Summary â E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Katie Singer Katie Singer ✓ 9 Free read Read & Download The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Reading Your Fertility Cycles to Take Control of Your Reproductive Health IntroductionIN JUNIOR HIGH BIOLOGY ABOUT THIRTY years ago I looked under the microscope my teacher offered and struggled to figure out how the stuff on the slide was relevant to me Id just begun to menstruate and I wanted to know how my body worked I wondered if other girls had strong cramps and what they did to ease them I wondered if menstruating meant that if I had sex I could get pregnant any day Or was it just a few days each month If it was just a few days which days were they Once I became sexually active I got a diaphragm and then a cervical cap I asked a doctor and a midwife if they knew a way I could learn to tell when I was fertile Each of them shook their headsA TangleYears later my boyfriend and I drove toward a cabin out of town to celebrate my birthday Ive got another yeast infection I said uietlyWell thats lousy he saidThe lousiness wasnt that I was sick but that we wouldnt be able to make love Already that year Id had several yeast infections because of irritation from the spermicide I used with my cervical capHow do I get out of here I wondered Out of feeling like my birthday celebration is only about sex out of birth control that makes me sick Sex fertility love Like the burning in my groin they made a tangle too hot to touchLearning to ChartOnce I heard about Fertility Awareness FA also called Natural Family Planning NFP I decided to learn it FA is based on a womans daily charting of her waking temperature and cervical fluid With Fertility Awareness a woman can tell when shes fertile and infertile To avoid pregnancy couples postpone intercourse or use a barrier method on fertile days To conceive they know the best time to tryFertility Awareness is not the same as the unreliable Rhythm Method which determines fertility by the patterns ofprevious cycles FA gauges fertility as the womans daily chart evolves According to numerous studies when its rules are followed Fertility Awareness is virtually as effective as the PillThrough books and classes about Fertility Awareness I finally learned the vocabulary of my menstrual cycle the functions of different hormones and how to determine when I am fertile and infertile As I started to observe and record my fertility signals I began to experience explosions of awe I had never conceived or tried to but from charting I could see bona fide proof of my fertility My cycles had often been erratic and now from knowing when I ovulated I could predict when my period would come I was with a new man while I learned the method and his interest in the method helped both of us appreciate my femalenessBrooke my partner realized that ever since he was a teenager hed woken every morning and asked When was the last time I had intercourse And Do I feel like masturbating Based on surveys of men whove taken my classes this is a pretty typical way for a man to start his day Once I started charting Brooke had a new waking uestion Is Katie fertile Other men report wondering Whats my partners temperature As awareness of fertility patterns emerged my feminine rhythm gently took the lead in Brookes and my relatingI began to see that the rhythm of masculine sexuality is essentially on all the timeessentially men are fertile all the time Meanwhile because women are fertile on average only one third of each cycle feminine cycles seem to invite periodic rest from sexual intercourseDespite my feminist perspective I came of age expecting that I should be available for sex all the time I remember one three or four month period when I was physically able and wanting to have sex every day Surely I thought my boyfriend and I would stay together if I could keep this up Now I wonder how my access to artificial birth control contributed to such thinkingIndeed sterilization the Pill Depo Provera the IUD the diaphragm the cervical cap and condoms give women in heterosexual relationships the option of having fewer children than earlier generations These methods allow choice about the course of our lives However artificial birth control is usually distributed without substantial information about how our bodies or the methods workI began to wonder what price we pay when we dont know this basic information about ourselvesCharting my fertility signals I feltconnected to myself and to other women who understood their own cycles Taking my temperature and observing my cervical fluid felt like rituals for contacting a rhythm larger than my own Brooke and I found ourselves supported by the rhythm my charts offered Why hadnt we learned this method before Trying to Become a Fertility Awareness TeacherBecause of my passion for the method I began writing a story about its availability in northern New Mexico One of the people I called was the director of a Natural Family Planning clinic at an Albuuerue hospital When the woman said she would be offering a course to train people to teach the method I asked for an applicationI could send you one she said but I couldnt accept youI was stunned Why I askedBecause youre single and you have genital contact If I was celibate or married then her program could accept meThis was spring I wanted to understand this clinics policy which is common among Catholic programs wherein medical information is taught effectively and woven with moral messages I wanted to understand why Fertility Awareness isntavailable especially in secular communities And I wanted the name of someone who could train me to teach the method Indeed the NFP clinics policy raised numerous uestions and propelled me on to a tour of conversations I spoke with the director of medical affairs for Planned Parenthood nurse practitioners in womens clinics the medical journalist Nona Aguilar and Suzannah Doyle who wrote about the method for Our Bodies OurselvesOne of the first people I called was Kara Anderson then Planned Parenthoods director of medical affairs She explained that their practitioners rarely havethan twenty minutes with each client Most of the people who come to us have been sexually active for six monthswithout any birth control Anderson said Our practitioners give each woman as much as they canIf a Planned Parenthood client asks to learn Fertility Awareness which is unusual shes usually referred elsewhereoften to a teacher affiliated with a Catholic organization To learn this method well Anderson said a woman needs to be in close touch with a teacher for three or four months In many areas Catholic organizations provide the methods only teachers We simply dont have staff or finances available to offer it on a large scale given the limited number of women who reuest itAnderson then succinctly articulated that Fertility Awareness can enhance peoples self awareness self esteem and communication skills And these are things we want for all womenI began to see that while learning Fertility Awareness is time intensive once a woman owns a thermometer and knows the method theres nothing to purchase again I began to wonder how classes could be administered for a wide variety of people from a range of backgroundsMy next call was to Laurie Holmes a certified nurse midwife who often dispenses birth control Ive seen too many unwanted pregnancies with Fertility Awareness to feel entirely comfortable endorsing it she said I bring it up but people need time to learn it and stay with the daily charting I think you need to be open to failure if you use it I also find that people dont want abstinenceI told Laurie who like most health care practitioners is not trained to use or teach FA about the first woman I met who used it Shed had two abortions by the time she was twenty one then vowed never again to have an unwanted pregnancy After her second abortion she chose FA for birth control and cycles later she hadnt conceived againThis woman taught herself the method from reading a book and indeed it took her several months before she felt confident enough to engage in sexual intercourse Now though this woman says I know when Im fertile and when Im not Artificial birth control feels too risky to me After her abortions learning how to read her cycles was a rite of passageLaurie Holmes found it exceptional that a woman would have the discipline to take her temperature every morning through her childbearing yearsI began to wonder if Fertility Awareness is not taught as well in the womens community as it is among Catholics certainly its less available and how this might figure into practitioners lack of faith in the method and peoples capacity to commit to daily charting Are the teaching methods commitments and self control expressed in the Catholic community not available to others Does the spiritual foundation that Catholic programs provide increase users efficacy with the method The Couple to Couple League CCL one of several Catholic organizations dedicated to teaching Natural Family Planning has subscribers to its newsletter Family Foundations Founded in the CCL is staffed primarily by volunteers who perceive teaching as service and its therefore able to offer classes at a nominal fee Indeed the CCL is one of several groups that admirably meets the needs of practicing Catholics Its publications include chart reviews discussions of mens involvement with charting the effects of breast feeding on fertility descriptions of the effects of various drugs on fertility signals what to expect when coming off the Pilland numerous prescriptions for living a moral lifeCurrently over volunteer couples teach NFP through the CCL These teachers are reuired to sign a principle statement advocating for example marriage and breast feeding and rejecting abortion premarital sex and homosexual behavior While I appreciate the CCLs clear outlaying of their beliefs their programs speak primarily to married practicing Catholics who are open to the possibility of a child Their literature is extensive and available in Spanish their teachers have been uniformly kind and generouseven while knowing Im not Christian or married and I often find beauty in their presentation of charting in a spiritual context Alas Im not in concert with their basic tenet that there are a limited number of right and true ways to behave when it comes to sex and fertility Learning Natural Family Planning through the CCL is not for everyoneWhen I called Nona Aguilar author of The New No Pill No Risk Birth Control Simon Well she said respectfully I agree with that policyI leaned back in my chair Okay I said I dont understand this Please explainProperly used she began sex is about emotional and psychological union In our culture artificial birth controlwhich feminists have strongly advocatedhas made sex a recreational activity Sex certainly can be recreational but its potential is to be transcendent Sex is the life bearing force of humankind When lovemaking is recreational its a little like being color blind during sunset over the Grand Canyon Union becomes harder to experience and thats a lossWith Natural Family Planning Aguilar continued issues of control and communicationwhich naturally arise in a sexual relationshipare strongly brought to the fore The method can help support that exploration And the container of marriage she insisted the commitment of marriage supports the explorationAguilars thoughts stirred me deeply and encouraged me to revere Fertility Awarenessthan before Our conversations also strengthened my desire for classes that teach people how our bodies work and that offer opportunity for individuals to differentiate between their personal values around sexual issues and the prohibitions suggested by society Properly trained I felt that I could teach such classes despite my not being celibate despite my never having felt moved to marryFinally I called the Boston Womens Health Book Collective By then I doubted if I would ever meet someone who could or would train me to teach Fertility Awareness I was given the number of Suzannah Doyle who wrote about the method for the last several editions of Our Bodies OurselvesSuzannah suggested that charting speaks to a tradition when women were in charge of their own health care She impressed upon me that charts could be used to gauge gynecological health She explained that Fertility Awareness teachers usually tell their clients that they have choices during their fertile phases they can use barrier methods to prevent pregnancy postpone intercourse or enjoy sexual expression that doesnt include genital genital contact She.

Summary â E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Katie Singer

Summary â E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Katie Singer Katie Singer ✓ 9 Free read Read & Download The Garden of Fertility: A Guide to Reading Your Fertility Cycles to Take Control of Your Reproductive Health Follicles follicles are unripe eggs held in sacs By the time a female fetus is just four months old shes already made all of the follicles that she will ever produce At birth a baby girls ovaries hold about one million follicles By the time menstruation begins half of these follicles will have dissolved By midlife it becomesdifficult to stimulate a follicle to release an egg and for a released egg to be penetrated by spermFallopian tubes also extend from each side of the top of the uterus Conception takes place in a fallopian tube which also transports the fertilized egg to the uterus for pregnancyThe vaginal canal stretches from the cervix to the lips of the vagina The lips are also called the labia When a woman is aroused the walls of her vagina secrete arousal fluid sort of like sweat so that she is lubricated well and intercourse will not be painfulJust above the vaginal opening under a small hood where the labia join is the clitoris This small knob contains a womans most sensitive sexual nervesFigure FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE ANATOMYThe Menstrual CycleTo begin a menstrual cycle the pituitary gland sends a hormonal message to the ovaries Hormones are essentially messengers that travel through the blood to direct organs to carry out specific functions The word hormone comes from the Greek words horme which means impulse and horman which means to urge onThroughout the cycle the pituitary gland secretes follicle stimulating hormone FSH which encourages follicles in both ovaries to mature During each cycle about a dozen follicles are given the impulse to ripen As they mature these follicles produce estrogenWhile follicles are maturing and emitting estrogen the woman is in her follicular phase Also called the preovulatory phase it typically begins a few days after menstruation and ends at ovulation During this part of the cycle estrogen is dominantEstrogen has several key functions It stimulates the production of cervical fluid which can keep sperm alive for up to five daysIt cools the womans temperature Likewise when a man is maturing spermwhich happens to be all the timefrom puberty onthe testicles are a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of his body This is why the testicles hang outside a mans trunk which is warmer While we are maturing eggs and sperm humans prefer a cooler temperatureIt softens the cervix raises its location in the vaginal canal and opens the osin order to receive spermreadilyIt builds a new endometrial lining in the uterus in preparation for a possible pregnancyAnd as the meaning of its Greek root ois tros suggests estrogen makes many women mad with desire at this phase in the cycleWhen one egg within a follicle reaches maturity percent of the time two eggs simultaneously reach maturity which is how fraternal twins are conceived rising estrogen levels signal the pituitary gland to send out luteinizing hormone LH LH causes the ripe egg to burst out of its follicle and out of the ovary The fimbria the fallopian tubes fingers then reach out and grab the egg This process is called ovulation see figure Even if two oreggs are released the hormonal seuence that results in ovulation occurs only once each cycleA ripe egg about the size of the period at the end of this sentence can live in the outer third of the fallopian tube for twelve to twenty four hours If there are sperm in the womans cervix or if the couple has intercourse while an egg is alive in a fallopian tube the sperm will swim up through the uterus and the fallopian tube where they will try to fertilize the egg It is not known how sperm sense that a ripe egg is available but they can reach it in as little as thirty minutes Fertilizing the egg is called conceptionIf there are no sperm present in the cervix and if the woman has no unprotected sexual intercourse while the egg is alive then the egg will simply dissolveIts important to note that being fertile is not the same as ovulating A woman is fertile when she has cervical fluid that can keep sperm alive ovulation refers to the release of a mature egg and its twelve to twenty four hour lifespan in a fallopian tubeBefore I describe what happens to a fertilized egg lets go back to the follicle which is now an empty sac still residing in the ovaryAfter ovulation the follicle changes its name and its job Now its called the corpus luteum and it emits the hormoneprogesterone After ovulation the menstrual cycle enters the luteal phase Named for the corpus luteum this postovulatory phase is dominated by progesteroneWhen I hear progesterone I think pro gestation This hormone has several functions It dries up cervical fluid If you do become pregnant progesterone helps form a sticky mucus plug over your cervix to keep bacteria from entering the uterus This keeps your babys environment sterile until birthIt warms your body temperature because a fetus reuires a slightly warmer temperature while it developsIt closes the os and hardens and lowers the cervixIt helps the new layer of your uterus become spongy so that if you do conceive the fertilized egg has bloody tissue in which to implant If you dont conceive the blood and tissue are released at menstruationIt also helps facilitate easy menstruation and ease the transition to menopauseFigure RIPENING FOLLICLES AND OVULATIONProgesterone is activated after ovulation whether you conceive or not Typically the corpus luteum will live and emit progesterone for twelve to sixteen days If you dont become pregnant the corpus luteum will die As a result your temperature will drop and you wont have enough progesterone to sustain your uterine lining menstruation will begin within a day or twoOnce about two hundred sperm reach the fallopian tube they begin a cooperative project of softening the eggs enzymatic shellso that one sperm can penetrate and fertilize the ripe eggIf the egg is fertilized cilia whiplike cells that line the tube take about five days to move the conceptus the fertilized egg down the tube to the uterus Pregnancy occurs when the conceptus implants in the uterine lining see figure Human chorionic gonadotropin HCG the only hormone healthy men and women dont have in common is then secreted by the fertilized egg itself HCG instructs your body to nourish the growing fetus Urine tests for determining pregnancy look for the presence of HCG If pregnancy does occur the corpus luteum will continue to emit progesterone for three months and then the placenta takes over progesterone productionFigure CONCEPTION AND PREGNANCYConception takes place in the outer third of a fallopian tube Once the egg is fertilized it takes about five days to travel down the tube During these few days the corpus luteum emits progesterone which causes the endometrium to thicken with bloodPregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the endometriumTo learn what happens to the menstrual cycle when a woman is on the Pill see here in chapter Also to see images of normal cycles and how the Pill affects them fertilityawareness posts photographs of the cervixes of women who arent on the Pill and one who isFigure THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE Menstruation begins when the corpus luteum dissolves and the previous cycles uterine lining is released Typically after her period a woman has a few days of lowered hormonal activity No mucus is produced and temperatures are low The follicular phase About a dozen follicles sacs holding unripe eggs are given the impulse to mature and emit estrogen which causes production of cervical fluid CF can keep sperm alive for up to five days Estrogen also cools a womans basal temperature and signals the cervix to open soften and rise in the vaginal canal It also signals the uterus to build a new bloody lining The follicular phase typically lasts seven to ten days In some conditions it can last for months or years Luteinizing hormone LH secreted by the pituitary gland causes a ripe egg to burst from its follicle and the ovary This is ovulation Mucus may be very slippery at ovulation or it may already have begun to dry up The ripe egg will live in the tube for twelve to twenty four hours The luteal phase Here the corpus luteum emits progesterone which makes the endometrium spongy in case conception has occurred A spongy uterine lining is reuired for implantationpregnancyto be successful Progesterone also causes mucus to dry up the temperature to warm up and the cervix to close become firm and lower in the vaginal canal If after twelve to sixteen days pregnancy has not occurred the corpus luteum dissolves and a new cycle beginsThe Male Reproductive SystemAt puberty the pituitary gland sends a hormonal message to a boys testicles male reproductive glands which are protected inside a sac called the scrotum to begin producing testosterone With the activation of this hormone the larynx becomes longer and the voice deepens facial and body hair appear the shoulders become broader and production of sperm begins Starting in adolescence in the testicles seminiferous tubules a healthy man produces one thousand sperm per secondtwenty four hours a day seven days a week As my grandmother would have said this explains a lot of things Men tend to producesperm during the winter because sperm prefer a cooler temperature while theyre maturing It therefore follows that a man who bikes in tight shorts to the hot tub every day throughout the summer after work baking pizza might find himself with a low sperm count While sperm production and the ability to cause a pregnancy can continue until a man dies age and decreased testosterone levels typically cause sperm production and the ability to have an erection to decrease Also because of environmental toxins sperm counts are now decreasing at an alarming rate of percent per year in men of all ages But essentially beginning at puberty men are fertile all the timeOnce theyre produced sperm are matured and stored in the epididymis a duct that is also held in the scrotum The maturation process takes about two months sperm produced at the beginning of January wouldnt be ejaculated until the beginning of March Just before orgasm sperm move from the testicles through the vas deferens tubes that carry sperm to the urethra Fluid is collected from the prostate gland the Cowpers glands and the seminal vesicles and then mixes with the sperm to create semen which is then ejaculated through the urethra Semen is chemically similar to cervical fluid and it also provides nourishment to help keep sperm alive see figure In a healthy man each ejaculation contains between and million sperm Typically it takes thirty six hours to replenish a mans sperm countWith a vasectomy the vas deferens are cut to prevent sperm from being ejaculated Sperm are still produced and matured after a vasectomy but theyre prevented from being released through the penis If a man has had a vasectomy the amount of his ejaculate will still look the same even million sperm are not discernible to the naked eyeSperm are measured by their numbers their ability to swim motility and their shape morphology If a man has a low sperm count he should have it tested again a few weeks later because sperm counts can fluctuate significantly in a short period of timeIn The Garden of Fertility certified fertility educator Katie Singer explains how easy it is to chart your fertility signals to determine when you are fertile and when you are not Her Fertility Awareness method can be used to safely and effectively prevent or help achieve pregnancy as well as monitor gynecological health Singer offers practical information illuminated with insightful personal stories for every woman who wants to learn to live in concert with her body and to take care of her reproductive health naturally The Garden of Fertility provides Directions and blank charts for charting your fertility signalsInstructions for preventing pregnancy naturally a method virtually as effective as the Pill with none of its side effectsGuidelines for timing intercourse to enhance your chances of conceiving without drugs or hormonesInformation to help you use your charts to gauge your reproductive health to determine whether youre ovulating if you have a thyroid problem low progesterone levels or a propensity for PCOS or miscarriage or if youre pregnantNutritional and nonmedical strategies for strengthening your gynecological healthClear descriptions of reproductive anatomy hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle and how conception occu.

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