3 Daily Habits to Successfully Charting your Menstrual Cycle
WRITTEN BY Charting with Jess
So you’ve decided to start charting your menstrual cycle?
Congratulations on taking the step to gaining knowledge about your menstrual cycle!
Deciding to come off any form of contraception, whether it is the pill, hormonal IUD, copper IUD, Implanon or the Depo shot can be super scary, especially if you are not wanting to fall pregnant.
When I first decided to stop taking the pill and start using the Fertility Awareness Method I was also terrified – and I learned that I’m actually not fertile the entire time of my cycle. Once I started charting I gained so much knowledge on what was happening down there.
After tracking my cycle for 3 years it’s a habit that I don’t think about anymore. It’s part of what I do now, just like brushing your teeth or having a morning ritual.
Before smartphones were around women were using paper charts. Nowadays there are loads of different apps you can track all your data in. I prefer to use the Kindara app, which allows me to track vital signs such as basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and cervix observations. It also allows you to customise what other signs you want to track.
Checking basal body temperature is one of the best ways to confirm that ovulation has taken place. Once ovulation has taken place, a surge in progesterone will cause a rise in body temperature, which gives you a shift.
Take your temperature
- First, you will need a basal body temperature that takes your temperature to the 10th of a degree (Eg. 36.5).
- Check your temperature as soon as you wake up and before you get out of bed.
- Check your temperature at the exact same time each day.
- Note any differences on your chart/app if your sleep was disturbed.
- If you get less than 3 hours of consecutive sleep your temperature is considered inaccurate that day — make a note of this.
The key to understanding your cervical mucus pattern is to get into the habit of checking for cervical mucus every day. It sounds like a big time commitment, but one way to make it easier is to check whenever your pants are down! When you go to the bathroom make the most of it. I like to check my cervix every night in the shower because I shower roughly the same time each night.
2. Check cervical mucus
- Before and after urinating fold a piece of toilet paper
- Gently wipe from front to back and making sure the toilet paper passes over your perineum
- When you wipe pay attention to the sensation you feel as you wipe across. Is it dry, smooth or slippery?
- Look at the paper. What do you see? Is there any cervical mucus? If so, is it a creamy lotion, is clear and stretchy like raw egg whites, is the paper dry or is the paper shiny? Is there enough for you to pick up and examine between your fingers?
Did you know the cervical position changes its shape, position and feel? Day 1 of your cycle the cervix will be low and firm to touch. When the body prepares for ovulation the cervix will begin to move upwards and becomes softer.
3. Check your cervix position
- It’s okay to get up close and personal with yourself! It’s your body and it’s there for exploring.
- You can check your cervix when you’re in the bathroom, either sitting on the toilet or putting a leg up as if you were inserting a tampon.
- Wash your hands, insert your middle or index finger into your vagina and feel around for your cervix.
- Check at the exact same time each day and you will start to feel the cyclical changes.
- Can you feel the opening like a dimple?
- Check your basal body temperature at the same time each day before getting out of bed
- Check cervical mucus every time you use the bathroom and/or shower
- Check your cervix position once a day at the same time each day
Are you ready to explore a natural but equally effective birth control alternative?