saliva ferningThe ferning test is considered to be a very accurate predictor of ovulation and is often used in place of the traditional urine-testing ovulation sticks. A ferning test uses a tiny microscope to view a drop of saliva once a day from the last day of a woman's period until a fern-like pattern appears in the saliva. The fern pattern indicates ovulation is about to occur. The test is considered extremely reliable by medical professionals, many of whom are recommending them to their female patients who are having trouble conceiving. The ferning pattern helps ovulation prediction so that sexual intercourse can be timed with more precision than with ovulation test sticks.

Estrogen surges during the fertile phase of your cycle. This estrogen causes salt crystals to form in the shape of fern leaves in both your saliva and your cervical mucus. Cervical mucus can also be used in a ferning test. However, most women prefer to use saliva for its ease of retrieval.

Ferning test microscopes are handheld and can be purchased in a variety of places online. The saliva must be allowed to completely dry before looking at it under the ferning microscope or the results will not be accurate. The lens must also be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry between each use to ensure accuracy of results. Other that this, the test is simple to take each day until the ferning pattern is seen.

As you move past your fertile phase, your estrogen levels drop and the ferning pattern is no longer so clearly defined. It isn't there at all at the very beginning and end of your menstrual cycle in most cases. If you never see ferning, you may have a hormone imbalance problem. If you see the ferning pattern every day, it can indicate a problem with fertility, the onset of menopause, or ovarian failure. It could also mean you're finally pregnant!

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