Ladies and Gentlemen! Has anyone ever told you how amazing a woman’s cervix is?
A woman’s anatomy is hidden inside, causing it’s sophistication and perfect design to go unnoticed but I am here to tell you, the cervix is one of the coolest parts of our body!
The cervix is an incredible and intelligent gateway between the vagina and uterus. Throughout the month the cervix opens and closes as we become fertile and infertile, allowing sperm to travel up into the uterus with its agenda of implanting an egg.
When we are infertile our bodies view sperm as possible bringers of infection so our cervix remains tightly closed and sperm die in our vaginas within 30 minutes due to the naturally acidic environment.
When we are fertile our cervix (which I like to think of as a grand hotel with a nice solid door) opens and cervical mucus is released providing small rivers and channels for sperm to swim up. The cervix has small indentations in its walls called cervical crypts, which can be thought of as little hotel rooms. The cervix is so intelligent, it traps sperm that are shaped imperfectly or swimming oddly in the lower crypts while sperm that are healthy and superior are ushered with specific cervical mucus into the upper crypts of our cervix, right next to the uterus.
A woman can be fertile and secreting fertile cervical mucus for up to seven days, the fertile mucus and cervical crypts hold the optimal sperm, feeding them glucose until the moment we ovulate which is a 24 hour window at the end of our fertile cycle. With the sperm released the cervix begins to close back up, our cervical mucus dries up, our fertility leaves and our vaginas become protectively acidic once again.
Our cervix is also responsible for keeping itself closed while we are pregnant, protecting the uterus from any infections and helping us hold our babies inside until we are ready to give birth. Once we give birth the uterus opens to 10cm to allow our babies to pass down into our vaginas and into the world and then closes up once again, it is an incredibly busy part of our bodies that deserves recognition.
Now proudly offering online home study courses for the Billings Method of Tracking Ovulation. Learn how to track your fertility from the comfort of your home any time of theday!
Are you interested in learning about the Billings Method but live far from Franchesca or have a challenging schedule to work around? The online home study and email/phone follow-up is a great option for you!
The online class room contains the exact material Franchesca would be teaching in a group workshop and offers simple tests throughout the material to highlight aspects of the class that are important to pay attention to. Once the online class has been completed you will begin charting using either an online service or Iphone app which Franchesca will explain once she contacts you to answer any questions you may have about the course material and schedule your follow-ups.
Steps for Self Registering For Online home study course.
Step One: Follow this link and click the blue button on the lower right that says “New Account” create a user account for yourself.
Step Two: Once you have created an account you will log in and be taken to a page that says “You are not registered for any courses at this time”. Click on the tab on the upper right hand corner that says “Catalog”.
Step Three: You will be taken to a screen where the Billings Ovulation Class will appear along with a green button that says “Add to Cart”. Click the green button and the class will be placed in your online shopping cart.
Step Four: Click the green shopping cart in the upper right hand corner and complete the checkout process.
Step Six: Once you have paid for the course click the tab on the upper right hand corner that says “Dashboard” and you will be taken to the Billings Ovulation Class.
Step Seven: Click play on the course. There will be two screens side by side, one that the class will play on and the other that is a black white space. If you would like to take notes while watching the class material click the word “Notes” on the top of the white blank space and you will be able to type up notes and print them out at the end of each course section.
Cost for the online home study course and unlimited follow-ups is $350
What are sperm? How long do they live? Are they male and female? How do they implant in a womans egg?
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word (σπέρμα) sperma (meaning “seed”) and refers to the male reproductive cells.
The sperm cell consists of a head, a midpiece and a tail. The head contains 23 chromosomes which will join the 23 chromosomes of the female egg, there are also enzymes used for penetrating the female egg. The midpiece contains a filamentous core which helps the sperm metabolize (recharge) during the journey through the womans cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. The tail helps propel the sperm forward for the journey up to the womans fertile egg.
Study findings have showed a range of 42 to 76 days from the time of sperm production to ejaculation in normal men. Men are born with a set number of underdeveloped sperm cells which are not technically sperm, yet. These cells eventually mature at puberty and they will create the reproductive type cells. Healthy males will create sperm their entire adult life from these underdeveloped cells.
The process is called spermatogenesis.
During spermatogenesis the underdeveloped cells make exact copies of themselves. Each cell will make four copies that will then mature into reproductive cells. A woman’s egg will always carry the X chromosome (female chromosome), it is the males sperm which determines the sex of a child. Sperm can carry either X or Y chromosomes. Sperm carrying the Y chromosome (male) are able to swim faster than those with the X chromosome, but also die off faster. A couple trying for a male baby who know the womans peak time of fertility could make love as ovulation occurs to give the male sperm the best chance at reaching the egg first. A couple trying for a female baby could make love in the days leading up to ovulation while the woman is fertile and abstain the day of ovulation to give the slower hardier female sperm a chance to reach the egg as it becomes ripe.
Sperm can live for up to five days during a womans fertile time of the month when she is producing favorable cervical mucus to protect the little swimmers. This means they can be resting inside of a womans cervix 5 days in advance of ovulation and still fertilize the egg. The egg, unfertilized, has a life span of only about 24 hours. If a woman is infertile the sperm are able to live for a maximum of thirty minutes the vagina. If left in the air sperm have an even shorter life span of a few minutes.
If the sperm does indeed reach a fertile egg it will meet the egg in a specific portion of the tube, called the ampullar-isthmic junction, it rests for another thirty hours.
Fertilization — sperm union with the egg — occurs in this portion of the tube (shown to the left as being cut for a tubal ligation). The fertilized egg then begins a rapid descent to the uterus. The period of rest in the tube appears to be necessary for full development of the fertilized egg and for the uterus to prepare to receive the egg.
A membrane surrounding the egg, called the zona pellucida, has two major functions in fertilization. First, the zona pellucida contains sperm receptors which are specific for human sperm. Second, once the membrane has been penetrated by the sperm, it becomes impermeable to penetration by other sperm.
Following penetration, a series of events set the stage for the first cell division. The single-cell embryo is called a zygote. Over the course of the next seven days, the human embryo undergoes multiple cell divisions in a process called mitosis. At the end of this transition period, the embryo becomes a mass of very organized cells, called a blastocyst. It’s now believed that as women get older, this process of early embryo development is increasingly impaired due to diminishing egg quality.
What are the best ways to cultivate healthy sperm?
* Eating a proper balanced diet
*Reduce stress. Stress interferes with reproductive hormone production
*Exercise regularly. The body works as a whole. Exercise brings oxygen and nutrients to the entire body
*Maintain healthy body weight. Too much or too little body fat interferes with the production of necessary reproductive hormones
It is best to avoid:
*Chemical toxins of every kind
*Recreational drugs and prescription Drugs. They both have the same harsh effects and consequences on the reproductive system and body as a whole
When thinking of the components of the reproductive system, male or female it is worth while to look at our lives and ask what building blocks we are surrounding ourselves with that have effects on our bodies and minds. The reproductive system is a great marker of our overall health, if you are interested in conceiving a child consider cleansing and properly building up your body so the strongest and healthiest of sperm, egg, uterus and state of mind can be present during conception to give your future child a healthy running start in this life.
Credit for some content in this article goes to UCSF Medical Center.
Ovulation is the release of a ripe fertile egg from the ovary, it is a womans peak time of fertility in the month.
The physiological journey that a womans body goes through every cycle to achieve ovulation is the product of a series of hormones that lead into one another. This article is intended to shed light on the hormones behind ovulation in a way that any of us could understand.
The information in this article will first cover the full function of the glands and organs involved in ovulation so there is groundwork for understanding the overall sequence of events which will be covered at the bottom of this article. If you already have an understanding of anatomy and physiology feel free to skip to the bottom of these writings.
The act of ovulation and menstruation are the result of a hormonal dance between the Hypothalamus (master gland), the pituitary gland, ovaries, and uterus.
A fresh cycle begins with the first day of a womans bleed. The bleed causes estrogen and progesterone levels to fall and the Hypothalamus begins to work.
The Hypothalamus is a gland and portion of the brain located above the pituitary gland.
* It controls many physiologic mechanisms including: appetite, thirst, emotional reactions, and temperature.
* At menarche (first period) and throughout the reproductive life of the woman, the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary to produce both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which in turn causes the menstrual cycle to occur.
* Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced in one part of the body, travel through the blood stream, and affect other parts of the body.
* The hypothalamus is influenced by our environment and emotional state and acts as a major computer in our body analyzing signals from other areas of the brain as well as hormonal signals.
The Pituitary is a gland is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighs less than 0.02oz. It is a protrusion off of the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain.
* The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland secrets FSH and LH that in turn stimulate the ovaries to mature and release ova (egg(s)). There is a feed back mechanism between the ovaries and the hypothalamus which increases or decreases the amount of FSH and LH produced in the pituitary. The pituitary gland also secretes prolactin to stimulate the production of breast milk.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): is stimulated into production at the beginning of the cycle, because of the decrease in the ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone production at the end of the previous cycle. FSH stimulates several of the most sensitive follicles in the ovary to begin growing.
* The level of FSH fluctuates and must reach a threshold level before any follicular growth takes place.
* Several days of follicle growth are required before the follicles secrete enough estrogen into the blood stream to signal the hypothalamus/pituitary that the threshold for FSH has been reached.
* There is an intermediate level of FSH which must be exceeded before the dominate follicle is boosted into its full ovulatory response.
* There is also a maximum level of FSH, only 20-30% above the threshold which must not be exceeded, otherwise too many follicles would develop and multiple ovulations would occur.
* The drop in FSH after the intermediate level is reached causes the follicle to be receptive to the secondary pituitary hormone, LH which will surge before ovulation.
* Usually only one follicle is boosted to ovulation.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Stimulates certain cells that line the follicle (theca interna cells) to produce progesterone. The LH levels surge prior to ovulation and cause the egg to be ruptured from the follicle. Luteinization causes formation of corpus luteum from the ruptured follicle. Progesterone and estrogen are secreted by the corpus luteum.
The corpus luteum (yellow body) is formed from the ruptured follicle and functions for 11-16 days in the absence of pregnancy.
*The corpus luteum produces progesterone and estrogen.
Ovaries: Under the influence of FSH and LH the ova mature and are released from a cyst like structure called the follicle. Usually only one follicle reaches maturity and releases an ovum at ovulation. Following ovulation, the ruptured follicle collapses and becomes the corpus luteum. At birth, the ovaries contain about 500,000 eggs but during a womans reproductive life only about 500 ova will ever come to maturity.
* Folliculogenesis (maturation of the ova) takes 85 days.
* FSH and LH, act as synergistis – cause the growth and development of follicles containing the ova and stimulate the production of estrogen.
* Is the predominant ovarian hormone before ovulation.
* Stimulate the growth and development of the reproductive organs prior to menarche (first period).
* Stimulates the cervical crypts to produce mucus
* Causes the endometrium to proliferate in preparation for implantation
* Causes the cervix to soften, open and rise.
Progesterone: with the rupture of the follicle and subsequent ovulation, the follicle collapses and is now known as the corpus luteum which functions of 11-16 days
* Through the influence of LH certain (granulose) cells in the collapsed follicle now begin to produce progesterone and estrogen.
* Progesterone is the dominate ovarian hormone after ovulation.
* Progesterone acts on the endometrium to stimulate the glands to produce fluids, which will nutritionally support a new human being.
With that groundwork laid we can now understand the sequence of events that take place to make ovulation occur.
1) Estrogen and Progesterone levels fall
2) Suppression of FSH(follicle stimulating hormone) and LH(luteinizing hormone) lifted, a new cycle commences
3) The hypothalamus produces GnRH (hormone which triggers the pituitary)
4) Pituitary produces FSH
5) The ovary grows follicles (a cluster of 6-7)
6) Which produce estrogen
7) Which causes growth of the endometrium and the cervix produces mucus
8) Estrogen feeds back to the hypothalamus which turns off FSH and sends out LH
9) which releases the ovum from the follicle
10) stimulating formation of the corpusluteum
11) which produces progesterone and estrogen
12) The progesterone changes the endometrium which affects the cervicalmucus
13) If fertilization has not occurred, corpusluteum regresses after 6-7 days
14) Estrogen and progesterone levels fall
15) Suppression of FSH and LH lifted
16) Menstruation commences 10-16 days after ovulation, and a new cycle begins
Credit for the research goes to WOOMB (World Organization of the Ovulation Method – Billings).
Are you looking for a method of birth control that is chemical and device free? Charting your fertility is a great solution. This is not the rhythm method, it does not involve temperature taking, day counting or internal checking.
Fertility is determined each cycle by the sensation felt throughout the day at the vulva (lowest opening of the vagina) and mucus discharged which you can see when you wipe with toilet paper. A quick recording of what you felt/saw throughout the day is added to a chart and soon you will begin to see your natural patterns of fertility. Once you can correctly identify your pattern of fertility through the help of your teacher you can begin to use that information to have sex on the days that you are infertile without fear of becoming pregnant.
Women are only fertile during one time in a cycle; during this time sperm can live inside of our bodies for up to five days. When we are infertile, sperm can only survive inside of us for three hours. The time we are fertile is when we ovulate, there are a few days leading up to ovulation and a few days after that you should avoid having sex to keep yourself from becoming pregnant. Once you have correctly identified your peak time in the month (ovulation) you can have sex any time of the day without fear of pregnancy until your next bleed when you start looking for signs of fertility again.
The few days that we are fertile can be different every cycle; the only reliable way of knowing when those days are is through the correct observations of your fertility that you and your teacher will discover through charting. The rhythm method (assuming that you ovulate on the 14th day of your cycle) is incorrect and puts you at risk for pregnancy because every cycle is different, even if you bleed every 28 days.
It is possible to be fertile during the last few days you are bleeding and it is only through understanding your signs of fertility that you could prevent pregnancy should early ovulation occur and you have unprotected sex on the last few days of your bleed.
Our bodies are actually remarkably simple and give us multiple clues as to when we are fertile so we can make educated decisions every month about whether or not we want to get pregnant. There is no need to be taking hormones, chemicals or inserting IUDs once we know how our bodies operate.