Menstrual Calendar: Charting the Signs of Fertility

Charting the signs of your menstrual cycle is a good way to keep in
touch with your body, your feelings, and your health. It is also a good
way to predict your days of menstruation in advance, even if your
menstrual cycles are irregular, and to know the most fertile times if
you are hoping to conceive.

Cervical Mucus
The sign that is easiest to observe is the cervical mucus, since it is
noticed in the course of daily activity. Fertile type mucus is produced
by the cervix during the days when the ova are maturing and preparing
for ovulation. This mucus is not only an indicator of fertility, it is
essential for fertility. Cervical mucus nourishes the sperm, protects
them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and guides them toward the
ovum. Following is a simple way to observe and chart your fertile type
mucus.

Pay attention to how you feel as you go about your daily activities.
Just as you have learned to notice a certain wetness at menstruation,
you will begin to notice a second wet time, but later in the cycle, and
without bleeding. The second wet time is caused by your fertile type
mucus.

Each time you go to the bathroom, wipe with toilet paper both before
and after you use the toilet, noticing: a) the sensation you feel as
you wipe with toilet paper, b) what is on the toilet paper. Chart what
you see and what you feel in any way that makes sense to you.

1) Menstruation: mark the days of bleeding in some way, such as
coloring the calendar day red.
2) Nothing: if you don’t see or feel anything outside your vagina, you
can leave the calendar blank on those days.
3) Something: but if you see or feel something – anything – such as
pasty or sticky mucus, or a feeling of wetness – draw something, such
as a raindrop, on these days.
4) Slippery something: If the pasty or sticky mucus turns to slippery
mucus or a slippery feeling, color the raindrop dark to indicate the
slippery wetness.

After a few slippery wet days, the mucus may disappear or return to
sticky or pasty. When it does, begin to count the days until
menstruation arrives. In a normal fertile cycle, the time between the
last day of slippery mucus or slippery feeling and the next
menstruation is between 11-16 days. You will become quite accurate
about your predictions after you chart for about three cycles.

The mucus is your most fertile time, since fertile type is produced
during the days leading up to and including ovulation. If you are
trying to conceive, use the wet, slippery days for sexual relations.
But don’t try to use this information for birth control unless you seek
out a qualified teacher of fertility awareness or natural family
planning.

When the fertile mucus is present, we are under the influence of the
hormone estrogen. We may feel courageous and loving. Men who bored us
last week may suddenly appear interesting and attractive. Like Mother
Earth in her rainy season, we are full of potential. We may also be
interested in sexual activity. These emotions and reactions are caused
by the hormone estrogen, which is getting us ready to have a baby,
whether or not we want one!

After ovulation, under the influence of the hormone progesterone, we
may feel somewhat deflated compared to our wet, fertile time. Like
Mother Earth in her dry time, we may feel quiet, with less energy. When
menstrual bleeding begins, both estrogen and progesterone are at low
levels. We may feel sensitive, solitary, or inward. Getting to know the
feelings that go along with your hormonal cycle can give you a new and
sensitive relationship with yourself.

Generally speaking, dark red bleeding for about three days indicates
that hormones are high enough to build a good uterine lining and
nourish a fetus in the event of conception. However, more than three
days of dark red bleeding can be exhausting.

Three to five days of wet, slippery mucus 11-14 days before the next
menstruation is a probable indicator of normal ovulation and a fertile
cycle. Cycles are often 28-30 days from the first day of bleeding to
the first day of the bleeding of the next menstruation. However,
irregular cycles do not indicate infertility. If the time between the
last day of slippery mucus and the next menstruation is 11-16 days, the
cycle is probably fertile. Even if one cycle is not fertile, the next
may well be fertile. Much depends on the stress we may be feeling.
Keeping a chart allows us to keep all things in perspective, and feel
our own harmony with all the cycles of nature.

Basal Body Temperature
If you are not sure you are ovulating, you can take your temperature.
The body’s resting temperature increases four-tenths of a degree
Fahrenheit or two-tenths of a degree Centigrade under the influence of
progesterone at ovulation. Observing this sign involves taking your
temperature at the same time each morning before rising. (This is not
as hard as it sounds. It takes less than two minutes and you can go
back to sleep if you want.)

To observe your temperature rise, buy a BD brand digital basal
thermometer. This brand will give you a consistent and accurate
reading. Other high quality brands of digital basal thermometers are
also probably accurate, but have not been tested for fertility
awareness. Make sure the battery is good. (You can replace it.) An
ordinary clinical thermometer is not accurate enough for fertility
awareness. Nor is the “ear thermometer” (tympanic thermometer).

Take your temperature every day immediately upon waking, before 7:30
a.m. The body’s rhythms (circadian rhythms) fluctuate over a 24-hour
period. Your temperature is lowest in the early morning and highest in
the afternoon. Fluctuations are greater after 7:30 a.m. If you go to
bed before midnight and wake up before 7:30 a.m., you will get the
clearest temperature readings.

If it is not convenient to take your temperature immediately upon
waking, you may take it during light morning activity. For example, if
you need to go to the bathroom, you may take your temperature while
getting up and using the toilet. But be consistent about the
circumstances under which you take your temperature. If you take it
during light morning activity, take it that way every morning. Don’t
take it sometimes before getting up and at other times during light
morning activity. If you have sexual relations, take your temperature
before.

Many women find that the digital thermometers require such a short time
to use that it is easy to take their temperature before getting up.
Take your temperature by mouth. Under arm and ear temperatures are not
accurate enough for family planning purposes. The thermometer will beep
softly several times before beginning to beep slightly louder and
repeatedly. Keep the thermometer under your tongue until the louder,
repeated beeps begin. You can read and chart your temperature as soon
as is convenient after taking it. Your thermometer has a recall button
that allows you to read the last temperature taken. Be sure to wash
your thermometer after each use.

Your Temperature Graph
Put a dot on a graph on the spot corresponding to each day’s
temperature. Join the dots of consecutive days. If you do not take your
temperature one day, do not join the dots across that day. Also write
out the temperature numerically, to guard against errors in graphing.

Interpreting Your Chart
1) Breathe and relax. Study your chart.
2) Can you find six low temperatures during the fertile mucus days of
your cycle?
3) Draw a horizontal line at the highest of the six low temperatures.
This is your low temperature line.
4) Draw another horizontal line four-tenths of a degree F. or
two-tenths of a degree C. above your low temperature line. This is your
full thermal shift line.
5) Can you find three high temperatures after the low temperatures? All
of the high temperatures must be above the low temperature line. At
least the third high temperature must be at or above the full thermal
shift line.
6) This temperature pattern of low and high temperatures is called a
biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift. A biphasic pattern with a
full thermal shift confirms that you really did ovulate. A smaller, but
sustained temperature rise also probably indicates ovulation.

If you are hoping to become pregnant, please pay close attention to
nutrition. Look for unprocessed foods grown without chemicals. Exercise
in moderation. Get plenty of rest. Avoid stress. Think happy thoughts.
Pray for the child you desire, and begin sending your child love, now.
Heal any hurtful feelings between you and your mate, and between you
both and your parents. Your mate should avoid hot shower or baths and
tight clothing, both of which lower sperm count.To increase your
chances of conception, use the wet, slippery days for sexual relations.

If you have observed a biphasic pattern with a full thermal shift, and
it is now 18 days since your last slippery, wet day, and menstruation
has not arrived, you may feel confident that you have conceived.

Congratulations and blessings!

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