The most important observations when charting your cycle are cervical mucus patterns and basal body temperature (the body temperature at rest). These are the best methods for establishing your individual fertile period and hormonal patterns. When these patterns are combined with your personal lunar cycle and other body symptoms, they can give you a more accurate understanding of your menstrual cycle and changes that occur each month.To best learn how to chart your cycle I highly recommend you use a Natural Fertility Management Contraception or Conception Kit and read Natural Fertility by Francesca Naish. The kits include a workbook, thermometer, personal lunar cycles, a CD with instructions and meditation and a copy of Natural Fertility by Francesca Naish. The kits are comprehensive with a success rate of 97% and 99.8 %, and make the process of learning faster and easier with step by step instructions and advice. The routine of charting only takes a couple of minutes each day and within 3 to 6 months most women are confident to use these natural methods for contraception.
There are other options available for charting the menstrual cycle. Today Apps are popular for those who have smart phones and you can also find other charts available on line however in my experience user compliance is not as high, they are not as comprehensive and they do not include your lunar cycles which is essential knowledge for contraception and conception.
The cervical mucus is produce according to the levels of hormones present at different stages of the cycle. Low levels of estrogens at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle create scant, sticky amounts of mucus. This is mucus that sperm is unable to swim through and is non fertile.
As levels of estrogens rise the mucus becomes more obvious, thinner, wetter and clearer mucus appears. This is mucus that sperm can potentially swim through and is probably fertile.
When oestrogen levels peak just before ovulation, the mucus becomes jelly like and resembles egg white which can be stretched between your fingers. This is often referred to as Spinn. This is mucus that allows the sperm to get to the egg quickly and is fertile.
Observing these changes is best done daily and often when first starting out. Checking prior to urination gives the most effective results. It is best to check mucus later in the morning when the mucus from the cervix has had time to drop down into the mouth of the vagina. The mucus is observed between the fingers and recorded at the time of checking or once the pattern has been established over the course of the day.
To become familiar with your 3 mucus patterns: non fertile, probably fertile and fertile; record the amount, colour, texture of the mucus onto your chart each day. Start observation once menstruation has ended until the end of the cycle. When you have gathered the information throughout the cycle you will begin to see the patterns appear. With time and consistency you can understand when your fertile mucus pattern begins and ends and know when you are ovulating.
For contraception purposes it is not enough to know that you are ovulating. As I mentioned in my last blog sperm can survive for 3 days and longer so if you have made love within this time you can fall pregnant! A barrier method such as condoms or well fitted diaphragm is best at fertile times and is also recommended during the process of learning your body signs until you are confident.
In my next blog I will explain the importance of basal body temperature and understanding your fertility.
Yours in health and fertility
You can find the books and kits available on this site.