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Lesson 2

Charting Essentials


Lesson Objectives:

  • Very quickly see the most basic aspects of fertility charting

  • Be able to start charting your fertility signs


Major Points in this Lesson:

  • Your menstrual cycle and your fertility chart start on the first day of full menstrual bleeding. This is cycle day one (CD1).

  • Your primary fertility signs are your basal body temperature (BBT) and cervical fluid (CF or CM).

  • To chart your fertility, you need to record your waking temperature and the time at which it was taken, your cervical fluid observations, when you have intercourse and when you have menstrual bleeding.

  • It takes just a few minutes a day to observe and record your signs.


To get started charting your fertility signs, you need:

  1. A BBT thermometer (the package will say "basal" or "fertility" thermometer) available at your local drugstore or pharmacy. If you do not have a BBT thermometer or cannot find one, you can get started with an accurate digital fever thermometer (NOT an ear thermometer!)

  2. A desire to understand and take care of your body.


Getting Started:

A fertility chart, like your menstrual cycle, starts on cycle day 1 (CD1).

Cycle Day 1 is the first day of your period (full red flow, not spotting).

You may wish to begin charting at the beginning of your next cycle if you don't know your LMP.

If you know your LMP and want to start right away, make sure that cycle day one on your fertility chart reflects day one of your current cycle.

Tap/Click your calendar date that corresponds to the first day of your last period and record it.

Checking your primary fertility signs takes just a few minutes each day.
The essential signs to check are:

  • your cervical fluid observations

  • your waking temperature BBT

  • the time you took your temperature

  • when you have intercourse

  • when you have menstrual bleeding

data entry

Primary and Secondary Fertility Signs: Your cervical fluid and your basal body temperature (BBT) are considered your primary fertility signs. These are the signs that are really needed to get a reliable interpretation. Secondary signs, such as cervix position and texture, results from kits and devices and other, personal observations can help offer added insight into the interpretation.

Your basal body temperature can be measured when you wake up in the morning using an inexpensive special thermometer that you can buy at your drugstore. You can easily observe your cervical fluid when you go to the bathroom.

Your basal body temperature rises after ovulation due to increased progesterone in your bloodstream. Your cervical fluid is the fluid that is produced by your cervix as ovulation is approaching. You can see and feel it in or outside your vagina. Cervical fluid, which is sometimes called cervical mucous (CM), changes throughout your cycle depending on your fertility status. It becomes watery and stretchy, like raw egg white when you are most fertile just before ovulation.

Taking note of these observations and recording them is enough to provide the clues you need to help time intercourse appropriately to get pregnant and see when (and sometimes if) you ovulate. Other, secondary, optional signs can add extra insight and help to cross-check the interpretation from your primary fertility signs.

Secondary, optional fertility signs that you may choose to observe include: observations of the position, texture and opening of your cervix, results from commercial tests and devices, and other personal observations that you learn to associate with your fertility.

Observing and recording these fertility signs, you can see when you are fertile on a calendar and on a graph. You enter your signs and get a chart displaying your data like this:

chart

The information can be analyzed and interpreted and the feedback lets you see when you are approaching ovulation, when you have already ovulated, when you should expect your period or a positive pregnancy test, along with other insights that will help you get pregnant and learn about your unique fertility pattern.

Charting with FertilityFriend.com or using one of Fertility Friend's Mobile Apps, you enter your daily observations about your fertility signs on your own personal account on an easy-to-use data entry form. The feedback, interpretation and analysis is interactively and automatically provided for you. The analysis will tell you the best time to have intercourse to maximize your chances each cycle. It will show you when you are fertile, when you have ovulated, when you are no longer fertile, when to expect your period if you are not pregnant, and when you can expect a reliable pregnancy test result.

The following tutorials demonstrate data entry of fertility signs and navigation using FertilityFriend.com (desktop):

Data Entry and Navigation for Mobile Apps:

Next Lesson: Your Cycle Phases


Search Fertility Friend's Educational Resources:


Test your knowledge: Lesson 2 Quiz

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