Cycle Charting

I wish that girls were taught in school about their cycles. I was always inundated with facts that you ovulate on day 14 and your period is 28 days. This is not the way!! My periods are consistantly 32 days, and I ovulate around day 20. If I was following the 28 day cycle they teach in school, I would never get pregnant.

SO, I have written a brief summary of what happens in your cycle and how to chart what happens. A great book is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, I would definitely suggest it!

If you want to see what a cervix looks like every day of a cycle, I would definitely suggest is Beautiful Cervix.

***

– When trying it is best to only have intercourse once a day. If he doesn’t have a low sperm count, you can have intercourse everyday without a problem, but if it is low, every other day is enough. Make sure to have intercourse on the days you have eggwhite fluid. The day you ovulate you can still have intercourse, but the day you see your temperature rise, it has already happened and it’s too late that month.

– Not every woman ovulates on day 14 and has a 28 day cycle. Most women ovulate anywhere from days 5-22 of their cycles. And every month is different. Stress is a key factor in ovulation. If you are too stressed, it will be later than normal or may not even happen that month.

– When charting you have to chart everything. Exercise, travel, illness, stress, PMS, Breast Self-Exams (if you do them monthly), drugs, tests and procedures, intercourse, fluid, temps, pregnancy tests. It’s best to take just one day at a time. The pages look really confusing at first, but it’s mainly just jotting down temps and your fluids.

Temps:
– Every day before you get out of bed (don’t get up or do anything!) you take your temperature. It needs to be to the tenth of a degree, so 98.1 not 98 or 98.11.
– Take it every day. If you are on your period, still take it.
– The day after you ovulate, your temperature will go up. They will be pretty consistent, so if you see a rise of three days in a row, you have already ovulated.
eg. monday is 96.8. tuesday is 96.9 — this isn’t enough of a rise.
eg. monday is 96.8. tuesday is 97.3 — this could be the start of something, but you have to look at the next two days to make sure it stays high, or else it’s just something with your temperature, like not enough sleep or a fever or something to that effect.
– If you don’t get more than 3 hours of sleep in a row, your temperature will not be accurate, still take it, but don’t count it on your chart.
– After you ovulate, the next 12-16 days is considered your ‘luteal phase’. this is when your body is still building your lining and such just in case of conception and implantation. the end of your luteal phase is the first day of your period. If your luteal phase is consistently less than 10-12 days, you may not be able to carry a child and need treatment to lengthen it.
– The day your temperature drops is the day your period will start. It will drop back to how it was before you ovulated.
– 18 high temperatures (starting with ovulation date) mean you are pregnant. If there is a drop after that, it is a miscarriage, not a period.
– if you go 40 days without ovulating, you will bleed like a period. this is called an ‘anovulatory’ cycle. sometimes people just have these randomly. Stress, moving, less sleep and things like this can also keep your body from ovulating.

Cervical Mucus/Fluid:
– this is different that the fluid you get when you’re aroused or anything like that. This is what helps sperm survive.
– there are 3 types.
a. Sticky. This will be a pasty, crumbly, opaque fluid. It looks kind of like rubber cement. When you rub your fingers together, it will feel like almost dry glue does when you wash it off your hands. This is the first sign you are about to ovulate.
b. Creamy. This will be lotiony, milky and smooth. It’s usually a white or yellow color. It will feel wet, cold, and moist. When you rub it between your fingers it won’t stretch, but it will glide between them.
c. Eggwhite. This will look exactly like an egg white. It will be slippery and will normally stretch. You can put your fingers together and pull it apart and it will stretch anywhere from 1-10 cm before breaking. You will have a lube, wet or humid feeling all day. This is what sperm need to survive. When you see this, it is your optimum time to get pregnant. Intercourse is recommended every day you have this fluid.
– Everytime you go to the bathroom, you can either use your fingers, or you can just wipe like normal to see what it is. If the paper or your fingers glide smoothly, you are starting to have cervical fluid. From the day this happens forward, your body is directly preparing to ovulate. The best time to see what kind of fluid you have is when you have a bowel movement or strain hard during one. It will normally come out and you can see it fall in the water. If it circles up as soon as it hits to water and stays that way, this is the eggwhite fluid. Any other way will fall to the bottom in stringy forms.
– You also need to note your vaginal sensations all day. When you are about to ovulate, you will feel really wet. Like you are starting your period.
– 12 to 24 hours after you ovulate, you will completely dry up. Sperm can survive 5 days in fertile cervical fluid, but an egg can only survive 12-24 hours after ovulation if it isn’t fertilized. So, your body will normally have eggwhite fluid for about 2 to 3 days before you ovulate so that they can travel to your phalopian tubes in time to reach the egg.

Cervix:
– This one is completely optional. If you are charting your fluid, you don’t need to chart this. But it can also help you learn more about why it happens.
– Your cervix will feel like the tip of your nose most of your cycle. It is also very low in your birth canal.
– When it prepares to secrete fluid, it will open and soften and raise itself higher. It will begin to feel like your lips (not the greatest difference, but if you have to reach higher to get to it, that’s one indication). It will feel open like if your lips are parted. Since you have already had a baby vaginally, it will be more open all the time than normal. It will never completely close, but there is a distinct feeling between an open and a closed cervix.
– When your cervix is soft and high, it is secreting eggwhite fluid.
– The day after ovulation, it will lower and become firm once again.

***

After you ovulate, you enter the luteal phase. About 7-10 days later, the egg will implant itself if it is fertilized. Sometimes there is bleeding when it implants, but it is light and almost like spotting. Some people mistake this for their actual period, so they don’t think to test and are anywhere from 3-4 months before they find out.
Not all eggs that are fertilized implant. And about 7 out of 10 of the ones that implant don’t do it successfully or there is something wrong with the egg and that leads to miscarriage. Sometimes this is before the 18th high day on your chart, so you don’t know if it is a miscarriage or not. Anything after the 18th high day is a confirmed miscarriage.
Just because you have 18 high days, doesn’t mean you don’t take a pregnancy test. Always take a test to confirm it. If you are positive on one test, then a few days later it comes back negative, you have miscarried.
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2 Responses

  1. Very nice!! I've actually been meaning to write a post on the same topic for ages, so if one appears, please know that I'm not copying you!!! 🙂

  2. thanks for this!! we're trying right now for number five. :0) totally helped.

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