Getting Started With Fertility Charting
What is fertility charting? Fertility charting is recording all of your fertile signs on a chart. It is done by tracking your bbt (basal body temperature), observing your cervical position and cervical mucous, and recording any patterns unique to your body.
Fertility charting basics to get started
So what do you need to get started charting? A basal body thermometer, a chart, and a pen or pencil. That's it! You can purchase a basal body thermometer at any drug store. They are very inexpensive. It is important that you use a basal body thermometer and not a regular mercury thermometer. The reason is that basal body thermometers are more accurate. Basal body thermometers read temperatures to one tenth of a degree. Temperature changes may be small so the more accurate the better.
Fertile signs to record in your chart
Basal Body Temperature: What should you be recording in your chart. The most important fertility sign in charting is your basal body temperature. When charting your basal body temperature it is important that you record your temperature first thing in the morning before you get up, eat, or drink anything. Take your temperature the same time every day.
Cervical Mucous: Cervical mucous is another way to track your cycle. Generally your cycle starts off dry. As you get closer to ovulation it will turn to a creamy consistency. During ovulation your cervical mucous will become stretchy and clear, resembling egg whites. Recording your cervical mucous patterns will help you to determine when you ovulate.
Cervical Position: Another indicator of ovulation is the position of your cervix. You can check your cervical position by gently inserting your finger into your vagina. You will want to record if it is hard to reach (high position) or easier to reach (low position). You may also want to record if it feels firm or soft. Your cervix will become more difficult to reach as you approach ovulation.
Ovulation Prediction Kits: Ovulation prediction kits are a very popular way of determing ovulation dates. They work by measuring the amount of Luteinizing Hormone in your urine. There is a surge in LH (Luteinizing Hormone) just prior to ovulation. LH levels are only elevated for a couple of days. These are the days that you are most fertile. Recording your LH surge is a good way to predict when you ovulate.
Uterine Cramping or ovulation pain: Some women notice cramping on one side or pain resembling menstrual cramps when they ovulate. If you notice cramping or pain record this in your chart. This may help you monitor when you ovulate.
Headaches/Moodiness: Headaches and moodiness sometimes accompany ovulation. Occasionally women notice that there is a pattern to when they get headaches or when their moods change. Writing down everything you notice during your menstrual cycle can give you a better idea of when you will ovulate or when to expect your period.
Breast Tenderness: Many women notice changes in their breast prior to menses or ovulation.
Increase/decrease in libido: It is not uncommon for a woman to have an increased sex drive during their most fertile days. Increased libido can be another factor in determing when you ovulate.
Other observations to record on your fertility chart
Other observations you will want to record on your chart. Write down any questions you have for your doctor as you think of them. Sometimes you forget what you wanted to ask and having them written down comes in handy. You will also want to write down when you have intercourse. You should be able to look at your chart and see if your timing was right.