Fertility tracking helps you track information about your own body that will serve you in all walks of life.
The menstrual cycle has been known as the fifth vital sign; it is an indicator of not only your reproductive health but also your overall wellbeing.
Charting your cycle is a daily practice of observing and tracking your fertility biomarkers. It requires you to pay attention to fertility signs to identify where you are in your menstrual cycle.
Charting your menstrual cycle brings with it many insights and benefits depending on your goals and wishes. Throughout different times in your life, charting can be practiced as a means to avoid pregnancy or natural birth control, for health, and for conception.
Chart to avoid Pregnancy/Natural Birth Control
Fertility awareness-based methods (FABMS) are effective alternatives to hormonal birth control as by charting, you know when you’re fertile and when you’re not and time your intercourse accordingly.
FABMS uses fertility markers to identify your ovulation window, which is only 3-5 days each cycle. By working with a certified fertility awareness educator, following the rules of your chosen method, and using a smart basal body thermometer like Tempdrop to ensure that your temps are precise, you can achieve high effectiveness for FAMBS to avoid pregnancy.
Fertility awareness in many also improves communication between you and your partner. Unlike other methods of contraception, fertility awareness requires both individuals to play a part in the effectiveness of the method as it requires male partners to have an understanding and appreciation of women’s cycles and fertility.
Chart to Conceive
There is a common misconception that for every woman, ovulation always occurs on day 14 every cycle. This isn’t the case. Many women and couples who struggle to conceive can benefit from tracking their fertility, just by merely identifying when ovulation occurs.
By charting your cycle you can pinpoint ovulation more accurately and increase chances of conception by timing intercourse when ovulation actually happens for you.
All FABMs determine ovulation by tracking cervical mucus, a hydrogel secreted by your cervix that fluctuates with your hormone levels. Cervical mucus also keeps sperm alive and nourished long enough for conception to occur (link to CM post). For couples trying to conceive, this information is vital.
Cervical mucus tracking can be used in conjunction with other markers of ovulation, such as LH tests and basal body temperature tracking to get an even clearer picture of ovulation. By charting your cycle, you can know for certain if and when ovulation occurred and, in many cases, uncover root causes of infertility so that couples can conceive sooner.
Chart for Health
Menstrual cycle tracking can reveal underlying health issues and help you keep on top of possible fertility concerns. By tracking ovulation, you can get a snapshot of your overall reproductive health. Your hormones are responsible for more than just reproduction, they are involved in many other physiological processes as well. If something is awry with your hormones, this will be revealed in your menstrual cycle.
You can also track the progress of any diet or lifestyle changes by tracking your cycle. For women with PCOS, for example, assessing and monitoring normal cycle parameters can show you progress in getting your PCOS under control.
Alongside tracking your fertility signs, you can track things such as sleep, supplements, food, caffeine or alcohol, exercise, mood, and more. You can then make connections between your overall health and how these things tie in with the health of your cycle.
By assessing symptoms and normal cycle parameters, you can be aware of and treat any potential reproductive health challenges before they become more significant issues. Things like heavy and painful periods, anovulation, short luteal phases, and irregular cycles can all be clues of broader health concerns. By taking your menstrual cycle chart to your healthcare practitioner, you can reach a diagnosis sooner.
Why you should start charting your cycle now!
Charting your fertility signs takes only a few minutes each day and gives you a window into your overall health. Many women start charting their cycles to avoid pregnancy or conceive, and find that the benefits or fertility charting are many. Learn more about fertility awareness in Tempdrop’s guide written by fertility awareness educators.
Nathalie Daudet is a social worker and FEMM instructor based in Winnipeg, Canada. She discovered fertility awareness after searching high and low for a non-hormonal method of birth control. After learning the magic of fertility awareness and the gift of body literacy, she decided to pursue formal fertility awareness training and share the knowledge of fertility awareness with women looking for a natural birth control option. Fertility Awareness Project is the hub for Nathalie’s FEMM classes in both group and individual formats, online and in person in Winnipeg. If you love this post and would like to thank Nathalie, shop Tempdrop with Nathalie's unique referral link.