I get asked a lot of questions about the menstrual cycle, both in email as well as in our private Facebook chat group. Most of the time I answer, my first question is “Do you chart your cycle?“.
Charting your cycle is one of the most important things you can do as a woman, especially if you’re dealing with fertility issues or hormone imbalance!
There are a few different ways to chart your menstrual cycle, but the most popular is by taking your temperature at the same time each morning before you get out of bed.
This simple one – two-minute procedure gives you insight on which part of your cycle you are in (follicular = before ovulation, luteal = after ovulation), as well as offers information about when you ovulated.
Charting your cycle means that you get a non-invasive look into what your body is doing. When you chart your temperature each day, over the course of a couple of cycles, you’ll begin to see which part of your cycle might need support! (based on length and adverse symptoms) This data can help you make educated decisions on which treatment, supplement, or dietary regimens to begin.
When I was younger, I had no idea that one could “chart their cycle” and felt more like I was at the mercy of my body instead of in control because I knew what was going on. Taking my temperature each day helps us take control of our fertility.
Your fertility cycle doesn’t have to be a mystery!
To make it even easier, there are apps that will help make sense of this data for you!
Natural Cycles is one of those apps, and over the next couple of months, I’ve decided to use it to help me chart my temps.
I’ve fallen out of habit the last year or so and greatly miss that additional information about my health/fertility as well as the connection to my body I feel that charting helps to create.
One of the things that stood out to me about Natural Cycles was that it’s a clinically tested birth control app (family planning) with 99.9% accuracy. Knowing that they’ve done studies on the effectiveness of how their app works make me feel more comfortable relying on their data. Natural Cycles is a Swedish company founded by physicists couple, Raoul & Elina. Elina was part of the CERN-team that discovered the Higgs Boson (which lead to a Nobel Prize). They also collaborate with fertility experts from Karolinska Hospital in Sweden (one of the leading facilities in the world) and already has 75,000 registered users.
Knowing my cycle, and charting it on an app like Natural Cycles gives me the information I need for family planning, putting me in control, (without hormones) and making hormone-free birth control a possibility. This app also has two modes, one for the prevention of pregnancy and another for trying to conceive. This way, I can switch to one or the other depending on my needs.
Get to know your body and your unique cycle, because “average” and “normal” don’t always happen. You might have a slightly longer but regular cycle. You might ovulate on the 11th day of your cycle, or maybe the 18th, instead of the “normal” 14th day. Slight variations in ovulation and cycle lengths are perfectly normal, so when you chart you’re able to see what’s normal for YOU. Some women aren’t able to get pregnant simply because they think they ovulate on day 14. (If you only focus on days 13-15, but don’t ovulate then, you miss the boat!)
So I’ve got my Natural Cycles kit that just came in the mail (it came with a thermometer and ovulation test strips to check for the LH surge prior to ovulation) and just registered my information on the app. I also set my alarm for 5:45 tomorrow morning.
Personally, I like to be able to check my temp at 7 am, but Todd gets up for work at this time, so I normally wake up a bit while he’s getting ready. And I must tune out his alarm, so I set my own! Plus it helps me get into the habit of taking my temp since I put the thermometer right on my alarm clock.
I’ll update again next month to let you know how it goes. I hope to hear you’re either back into the habit, or have started to chart your cycle as well!
Get 40% off your 1-year subscription + a FREE basal thermometer when you click here.
*This post was sponsored by Natural Cycles. All opinions are my own.
Charting is great! I’m a science geek, and I began to stress when we hadn’t gotten pregnant in the first few months after having my IUD out. I read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” bought a thermometer, and started charting. It really helped reduce my stress because I felt like I was doing something productive, collecting data that would help me better understand my cycle. It also allowed my to pinpoint my ovulation (several days later than I had thought) and we got pregnant the first month I charted. I will definitely return to charting when my period returns, after I have the baby. I never want to put hormones or devices in my poor body again!
Incidentally, I had been watching my other fertility signs, particularly cervical mucous, even before I had the IUD out. I found them easy to track and thought I understood my cycle. Strangely, my CM almost entirely disappeared and my body was much more secretive after I had the IUD out. It also seemed like my normal cycle length increased by several days. I wish I had known more about charting before that so I could have better understood the changes that went on in my body by having the IUD removed. I hope these thoughts may be helpful to other women who currently have an IUD (I had the copper Paragard, no hormones) so they know to watch their body closely as it adjusts.
I LOVE that book! It’s one of those must-read books for women.
I’ve had other women that had similar symptoms and cycle changes after having the IUD taken out. I’m glad I decided not to do it after my daughter was born! (My OB was strongly pushing that I try one) Thanks so much for sharing your experience!