Whether you are looking to avoid pregnancy effectively, hoping to achieve pregnancy (finally!), or wanting medical treatment for one of a myriad of different gynecologic issues, your first step is to learn how to chart your menstrual cycle.
So, what exactly is cycle charting, and how do you do it?
First off, your cycle is not just the days you're on your period. Your cycle runs from the first day of your period until the day before you start your next period. It’s often easy for women to focus on their periods and not really think about what’s happening in between. But our bodies - because they are amazing - actually let us know when we are fertile, when we are infertile, and when something with our gyno health may be off. All we have to do is pay attention! When you're fertile, you produce observable mucus from your cervix (the little organ below the uterus and above the vaginal canal). If you track this pattern of mucus day by day and mark it down - which is the essence of cycle charting - you will set yourself up for success in whatever your gynecologic goal is: achieving pregnancy, avoiding pregnancy, or using your chart to get gynecologic diagnoses and treatment.
What can I do with my charts? Why does charting matter?
Have you ever had a bad day of PMS? Have your period cramps ever made you puke? Or maybe you’ve always had long, messed-up cycles… If you learn to chart your cycles there will often be patterns to your period, your days of cervical mucus, and your cycle lengths that can alert a trained professional that something might be up. If you have PMS, really heavy periods, or crazy-long cycles, a lot of times irregular patterns can be seen in your chart that can indicate abnormal hormone levels or an issue with your ovaries, your uterus, or your cervix.
Have you been aching for a child and been given the frustrating diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”? If you learn to chart your cycles there will often be patterns to your mucus or your overall cycle length that can help trained professionals understand the “why” of your infertility. “Unexplained infertility” is not an adequate diagnosis! It is a symptom of an issue (or issues) that is going on in your body. Cycle charting can help you get a diagnosis, which can then help you get treatment that heals and restores your body. A healthily functioning gynecologic system is the best foundation for a successful pregnancy!
Are you feeling like you want to ditch the pill? Or do you want to avoid it altogether and opt for a family planning option that is all-natural? If you learn to chart your cycles you will gain confidence in identifying the days that are fertile in your cycle and the days that are infertile. With this knowledge, you can, with high efficacy, use your chart to time intercourse according to whatever intention you have: avoiding babies or baby-making. If you're ready to learn more about your cycle and enjoy the many benefits of understanding what your body is doing on any given day, sign up for a free, no-obligation introductory session!