What is fertility charting? Fertility charting is recording all of your fertile symptoms 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? You will need a basal body thermometer, a chart, and a pencil. That's it! You can purchase a basal body thermometer at any drug store - they are 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. It is also important to check your temperature at the same time every day.
Cervical mucous is another way to track your cycle. Generally, your cycle starts off dry, but as you get closer to ovulation, your discharge 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.
Another indicator of ovulation is the position of your cervix. You can check your cervical position by gently inserting one finger into your vagina. You will want to record whether it is hard to reach (high position) or easy 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 popular way of determining 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 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.
Many women notice changes in their breasts prior to menses or ovulation. Mild swelling and tenderness are not uncommon.
Increase/Decrease in Libido
It is fairly common for a woman to have an increased sex drive during their most fertile days. Increased libido can be another factor in determining when you ovulate.
Other Observations to Record on Your Fertility 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.
- Record any medications you are taking and what day you took them. Some medications will affect your fertility. Discuss with your doctor any medications you take and how that it will affect you.
- If you are sick or have a fever, be sure to write a comment on your chart. You can use your fertility chart to write down anything that you notice about your body and your cycle.
- If you drink alcohol (especially if you have had a lot to drink) this needs to be recorded in your chart. Alcohol can affect your sleep patterns, temperature, and fertility.