I got the flu a few months ago, and had a Double Peak for the first time years.
I ovulated 10 days later than I usually do, and had a 40-day cycle. That means the window in which I could have gotten pregnant was about 10 days later than it typically is for me.
I recently read a clinical study on the effectiveness of a new app to tell you which days are fertile so you can avoid pregnancy - and no one was eligible for the study if they had cycles that are 40 days are longer. Well, I usually don't, but I know that every woman has cycle length variation sometimes. If I'd relied on the app to tell me which days were infertile this February, I could well have had intercourse on a fertile day.
After the fact would have been too late to tell me that I wasn't the ideal user of this app!
That's why I prefer real-time, you-and-your-body, direct observation of fertility signs. You check the signs, you interpret what they mean, you know whether or not you're fertile that day.
Sometimes I’m asked when to “expect” a Double Peak. Really, you always want to be alert for this possibility, especially if you’re avoiding pregnancy. This is an "expect the unexpected" kind of thing. (If you want a reminder of what a Double Peak is, scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
If you’re following the Justisse Method Observational Routine and the rules for telling infertile and fertile days apart, Double Peaks don’t cause you any trouble. You're not going to be caught off guard by the unexpected.
But, if you pass a Peak Day and think you’ve ovulated, and start letting some of the Observational Routine slip – a Double Peak can catch you by surprise.
You've probably heard that Double Peaks are more likely during times of stress, illness, or hormonal change. It's true. But again, expect the unexpected, because Double Peaks can happen when you have no explanation for why your cycle length would be different than what you're used to.
That being said, here are a few times you might be especially on the alert for a Double Peak:
- When you have a Peak Day that isn’t accompanied by a BBT shift. Your BBT shift is your confirmation that ovulation has passed. If cervical mucus dries up but your temperature stays low, very likely you haven’t ovulated yet and will see another mucus patch at some point.
- When you see something unusual. For example, unusual bleeding. If you see some spotting that’s not part of your period, there’s something unusual happening! (Probably a “withdrawal bleed,” meaning hormone levels are dropping, or a “breakthrough bleed” in a long cycle.) Likely cervical mucus will appear again at some point.
- When you’re used to a Basic Infertile Pattern (BIP) that includes some sort of mucus AFTER ovulation. Don’t get too comfortable with the idea that discharge after ovulation is just normal for you! Still watch what it looks like – still note sensation, color, and consistency – so that you can see if you have a return of cervical mucus.
- And the usual suspects – times of stress, illness, or hormonal change.
(So what is a Double Peak? A Double Peak is when you have more than one Peak Day in a single cycle. And it might not be only “double” – you could potentially have three or more.
Of course, you only ovulate once per cycle. But, you can have cervical mucus appear for a day or more as your body moves toward ovulation, and then, for one reason or another, your body backs off of ovulating, and your cervical mucus dries up.
This can look a lot like what you'd see at ovulation. Then, when your body is ready to start working up to ovulation again, cervical mucus shows up again. This time, you build up to another Peak Day, and you ovulate. Cervical mucus dries up again, your temperature goes up, and after a Count of 3, you’re infertile. In 14 or so days, you get your period.)
* For more on this subject, check out my free mini-course, OOPS DAYS: Fertile Days Commonly Mistaken for Infertile. Head over to my website and scroll down to opt-in to my monthly emails, and you'll get access right away!