4 Tips On How To Successfully Chart Your Menstrual Cycle
Why is it a great idea to chart your menstrual cycle?
Charting your menstrual cycle has many benefits. Allowing you to keep track of your fertility window to gain insight into your reproductive health can give you a ton of information.
Coming off any form of contraception, including the pill, an IUD, a hormonal depot, or an implant, can be daunting, especially if you don’t want to get pregnant. Charting your menstrual cycle can be a great way to track your most and least fertile days so you can be better prepared.
It can feel a bit bothersome to chart your cycle every month if you have just started, but things get a lot easy with time. Many women incorporate charting their cycle in their daily routine, so it becomes second nature to them. All you need is a few months of practice, and you are all set.
You can chart your menstrual cycle by observing various signs that can reveal important information regarding your fertility. Some of the most reliable indicators of your fertility and progression of your cycles include the following:
Checking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Checking your basal body temperature is one of the easiest ways to predict ovulation and one of the best ways to help chart your menstrual cycle. Once you ovulate, there is an elevation in the level of the fertility hormone Progesterone.
The surge in this hormone causes an elevation of basal body temperature after about 24 hours of releasing the egg. For most women, the basal body temperature before ovulation hovers between 97°F (36.1°C) and 97.5°F (36.4°C).
The basal body temperature increases post-ovulation and can rise to 97.6°F (36.4°C) to 98.6°F (37°C). Here are the steps you can take to keep track of your basal body temperature:
How to use a basal thermometer
- The first thing you need is a proper thermometer to take your body temperature to the 10th of a degree. Thousands of women trust a Basal Ovulation Thermometer from Fertility2Familiy to track their basal body temperature.
- Make sure that you are checking the temperature at the same time during the day.
- Disturbance in your sleep patterns can influence your basal body temperature, so if you have had a rough night, make sure that you note it down. If you get less than 3 hours of sleep, your basal body temperature reading is considered inaccurate.
Chart Your Menstrual Cycle With Ovulation Tests
Ovulation test strips have been proven to be the easiest and accurate, and reliable ways to monitor your ovulation and predict your fertility window. The ovulation predictor kits (OPK) can be performed in the comfort of your home and detect a fertility hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in urine.
There is a sudden rise in the LH in urine before you ovulate. The home ovulation kits detect this surge and help you to determine when you are the most fertile. Family2Fertility both ovulation test strips and ovulation midstream kits are available. Our test kits are affordable and can predict ovulation with accuracy.
Here are a few points to consider while performing a home ovulation test:
How do ovulation tests work
The time to begin testing for ovulation with the home ovulation kit depends on the length of your cycle. If your cycle is 28 days long, start testing from the 11th day onwards. Perform one test each day over five days to get an accurate picture of the LH surge
- The best time to collect the urine is between 8:00 am to 10:00 am
- Make sure that you collect the urine approximately at the same time each day
- Ensure that you are not drinking a lot of fluids before 2 hours of collecting the urine sample. You don’t want your pee to get diluted right before the LH test.
- Using the ovulation test instructions
Chart Your Menstrual Cycle With Checking Your Cervical Mucus
The consistency and colour of cervical mucus can reveal a great deal about your menstrual cycle. If you make a habit of monitoring your cervical mucus every day, you can predict the time of ovulation and hence your fertility window.
It might sound a bit of a hassle, but if you make a habit of checking the mucus during the visits to the loo, it is not that bothersome at all. Many women check the cervical mucus every night in the shower, making it quite an easy exercise.
Here are a few tips to help you check cervical mucus:
How to check your cervical mucus
- You can test cervical mucus with the help of good old toilet paper. Gently wipe from front to back before and after you urinate with a folded toilet paper.
- Pay attention to how it feels during the wiping motion- does it feel dry, smooth, or slippery?
- Now, take a look at the paper. If you see any cervical mucus on it, pay attention to the colour and consistency. The mucus might be white and creamy, clear, or even might have a stretchy consistency like an egg-white
- Right before you ovulate, the cervical mucus appears clear, stretchy and has an egg-white consistency.
- With some practice, you can easily detect these subtle changes, predict your fertility window, and keep an eye on your reproductive health.
- If you observe any odd-coloured or foul-smelling discharge, contact your physician immediately.
Check the position of your cervix
The cervix changes its position, shape, and feel during the various phases of your menstrual cycle. Before the ovulation, the cervix is lower and feels firm to touch. As your ovulation phase nears, the cervix begins to move upward and becomes softer to touch. Here are some useful tips to check the position of your cervix at home. Charting your menstrual cycle for three-plus cycles will help allow you to understand your cervix position better.
Checking the position of your cervix at home
- Before examining your cervix at home, make sure that your fingernails are trimmed. You don’t want to scratch down there while performing a home cervix exam.
- Make sure you are in a good position to perform the check. The best way to start is getting into a position you use to insert a tampon. It might take you several tries to get into the perfect position but keep practising.
- Insert your index or middle finger into the vagina and reach for the upper front part. What you are looking for is something that is round in shape and a bit hard to touch. Again, it might take several tries to spot your cervix, but keep searching, and you will be able to locate it.
- Once you locate the cervix, it is time to chart your findings. Take a note of how the cervix feels and what the position is. Normally, your cervix is located slightly at an upward angle from the vagina. When you are ovulating, the cervix goes farther back and upward. So, when you are most fertile, the cervix is located farther back away from the vaginal opening than the rest of your cycle.
- Finally, don’t worry if you are not able to locate the cervix right away. It needs a bit of practice, but if you keep at it, you will surely be able to identify it every time.
- If you have a retroverted uterus, finding the cervix can be quite difficult as the cervix is located a bit back into the vagina. Although this condition is normal, if you have a retroverted uterus, don’t rely on charting the cervical position to predict the fertility window.
Charting your menstrual: Final Takeaways
Charting your menstrual cycle is a great way to know when you are most fertile and keep track of your reproductive health. You can use any of the four methods discussed above to help you chart your cycle. The choice of the method depends on personal preference. That said, monitoring your BBT with the help of an ovulation thermometer and checking the surge in LH using our ovulation strips is the easiest way to do it.
Charting the menstrual cycle is a routine that gives the best results if you follow it religiously. Make sure that you are not skipping days while charting, as it can completely mess up the data, and you will lose the accuracy of your predictions.