All of the changes that your body cycles through every month create minute changes. One of these changes can be found in your saliva. Examining your saliva is one of the easiest and most inexpensive forms of fertility charting available. One of the benefits is that you can use saliva. You can also use vaginal or cervical secretions for the testing device, but of course saliva is a bit more discreet to use anywhere and is readily accessible.
As your hormones change the saliva in your mouth will take on a distinct ferning look. The ferning is a precursor to ovulation. This happens in conjunction with the preovulatory changes in your vaginal secretions and cervical fluid. The detection of salivary ferning will help predict your fertile periods. You can generally spot ferning and know you are close to ovulation about one to two days prior to when you can notice labial wetness from cervical mucous.
How It Works
This ferning is not viewable by the human eye — you will need a microscope. While any microscope will do, it is easy to use small devices designed specifically for this purpose.
The saliva testing devices used in looking for ferning are generally considered to be about 90-plus percent effective at predicting ovulation. This can be an added benefit when other methods of ovulation prediction are more than you care to deal with or are inappropriate for whatever reason.
The most basic model of testing microscopes comes in a container that looks like tubes of lipstick. You simply pull the slide cover off and use a drop of saliva. You let the saliva dry. Then you replace the slide cover back into the unit. A small button on the bottom of the case doubles as a light button. You then view the saliva by turning on the light source.
At the times when you are fertile, you will notice a distinct ferning pattern that resembles a fern plant. When you are not fertile you will simply see clumps. If you see large clumps with ferning, it is usually an indication that your period is about to start.
When using a ferning detection kit, you must wait at least thirty minutes after eating or drinking anything before testing. This helps prevent contamination of the saliva specimen, which can alter your readings.
Ease of Use
In general, these ferning products are very inexpensive. They might run you about $25 to $35. Since they do not require any maintenance, they can be used for years without being replaced. There are no additional parts to purchase. Some devices have their own light source; others require you to use sunlight or room light.
The ferning devices can be used at any time — day or night. In fact, because you don't need to purchase expensive sticks or other equipment, you can test repeatedly throughout the day or your cycle, as often as you like. This is great for those of us who love to test! It can also be used in conjunction with other testing and charting protocols.
There are newer models out that are a bit higher tech. Given the ease of use of the basic model, and the fact that they don't have maintenance requirements or break easily, it is not very likely that you will get more benefit from a model that offers anything fancier. Save your money for the baby!