How to chart your menstrual cycle
Cycle charting is an effective way to increase the chances of conception (or avoid conception!) by carefully observing and charting fertility signs with the goal of understanding at which point in her cycle a woman is fertile and most likely to conceive. Using these mathods can also help identify potential fertility related barriers to achieving pregnancy.
The 3 primary signs of fertility:
1. Basal body temperature
2. Cervical fluid or mucus 3. Cervical Position
You’ll need: 1. An ovulation or basal metabolic temperature thermometer: This is a particular type of thermometer designed exactly for the purpose of fertility charting. You will find this at a chemist or online. 2. A fertility tracking App or paper chart: I like to use kindara as an app as it doesn’t predict anything it allows you to make your own obsvivations. Or you can use a paper chart (click here to download)
Your temperature readings confirm whether you have ovulated.
This is most accurately taken with a proper fertility thermometer from a pharmacy.
Your temperature is taken under your tongue or vaginally, first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed or even sit up. We are testing your basal temp at rest, the more you move the more it can disrupt your temps. Enter the temp into your app or mark on your paper chart place a dot in the box which corresponds to your temperature and day of cycle. Day 1 is the first day of your period.
Your temperature needs to be taken at the same time each morning, because generally, temperatures rise gradually throughout the day until about 2.00 pm.
Temperature needs to be taken after at least 3 hours solid sleep to be valid.
Conditions affecting your temperature may include things like a late night, fever, a cold, broken sleep or alcohol. These may cause abnormally high or low temperatures, resulting in inaccurate chart interpretation if not noted down.
You temp will stay around the same temp but when you see a temp rise of around .2-.4 of a degree combine with fertile mucous (see below) this is ovulation.
You need to have three temps after this that are raised temps to confirm ovulation.
The nature of your cervical mucus tells you when you are approaching ovulation.
Check your mucus every time you go to the toilet, before urination, although you only need to record your most fertile reading of the day. Record the external sensation, the amount and the texture on your chart before going to bed at night. e.g. mucus may be dry, creamy with a small amount in the morning, but by evening it may be moist, creamy and increased in amount. Record the latter interpretation only.
Between the thumb and forefinger collect the mucus from the vaginal opening.
External sensation – use one of the 3 following to describe the external sensation: dry, moist/damp, or wet. The wetter the sensation, the more fertile you are.
Amount – this will increase as you get close to ovulation. It is best recorded in a bar graph form which is easily read.
Texture – this can vary from none or pasty in the non-fertile phase, then creamy or milky in the stages around ovulation, to clear, stretchy or like raw egg white at ovulation. Each woman is different and mucus can vary from cycle to cycle. Whats you’ll expect to see… when your about to ovulate you’ll have a creamy/pasty CM, then it will go watery then be like raw egg white that is stretchy, the raw egg white like CM is the fertile mucous! That day you have this is your ovulation day.
This step is optional. Fertile signs include softening (feels like your lips, when harder feels like the tip of your nose) and opening of the cervical os.
You may find this a little overwhelming at first, however, after about 3 cycles you will start to see an obvious pattern and be much more aware of your fertility. Your practitioner can help you to interpret your cycle to enhance conception attempts.