Learning to Chart Your Menstrual Cycle for Conception

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Becoming aware of your menstrual cycle will help you to know the days you are most likely to conceive. The Family Awareness Method (FAM) is also used as a natural method of birth control — an equally helpful tool for breastfeeding moms wanting to track the return of their cycle and ensure they don’t get pregnant. FAM is preferable to the Rhythm method because it looks at daily fluctuations in your body’s internal rhythm, rather than relying on averages of past cycles. After all, our bodies change from month to month, so by determining the first day of your cycle, your waking temperature and changes in your cervical fluid, you will be well on your way to discovering your most fertile days.

1. The onset of menstruation- your first day of bleeding is considered Day 1 on your chart. The shedding of the endometrium lining, shows that a pregnancy has not occurred during the previous month and therefore marks the beginning of your follicular phase (the pre-ovulatory phase of your cycle). Your accuracy in noting this date will help to determine the exact timing of ovulation.

2. Cervical Fluid– as ovulation approaches, estrogen levels begin to rise and your uterus secretes cervical fluid. Cervical fluid is a lubricator to help the sperm fertilize the egg and reach the uterus. If ovulation has not occurred, the cervical fluid becomes a nutrient base, allowing sperm to live within a woman’s body for up to five days. In Toni Weschler’s, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, she defines three stages of cervical mucous on the road to conception including sticky (the beginning stage not overly conducive to fertility), creamy (a stage that may support the life of the sperm somewhat) and finally the wet phase, where your cervical fluid takes on an egg white consistency indicating you are most fertile.

3. Your waking temperature– first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed, take your body’s resting (body basal) temperature with a basal thermometer and note it on your chart. It is most effective if your temperature is taken during the same one hour time frame each day. A shift in temperature of 0.2 to 0.4° Fahrenheit indicates that ovulation may have occurred. If you are pregnant your temperature will remain elevated during your pregnancy.

To begin practicing FAM, download a chart from Toni Weschler’s site and amazing book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

5 Comments to “Learning to Chart Your Menstrual Cycle for Conception”

  1. I’ve been using the FAM for the past 2 years with the additional help of the LadyComp. Best birth control decision we have ever made! When we are ready to conceive I will know exactly when I’m ovulating. I know my cycle in so much detail that I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting pregnant when the time is right. I can’t imagine not knowing all the information from Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I wish it were a part of every young woman’s school curriculum.

  2. Kathryn says:

    I completely agree, FAM is amazing. Toni Weschler’s new book: Cycle Savvy is an amazing resource for young girls to establish a healthy relationship with their cycles. I’m going to check out the LadyComp- thanks for the tip!

  3. perkins says:

    which date of the month is a woman likely to
    ovulate?

    regards,
    perkins.

  4. Kathryn Kathryn says:

    Hi Perkins,

    Every women has a slightly different cycle. Typically women ovulate somewhere between day 8-14 or even up to day 21. That is a big range but if you also pay attention to changes in cervical position and mucous you will likely be able to determine more exact timing. You may also try an ovulation predictor kit.

    Best, Kathryn

  5. gladys says:

    had menstruation on 09-07-2013, when is my ovulation period, and what date am I likely to get pregnant?

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