The Many Benefits To Charting Your Menstrual Cycle
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Women are cyclical by nature, just as the moon waxes and wanes, our hormones also change with a monthly cycle. These changes within our cycles are key indicators to our reproductive health. From puberty to the onset of menopause charting can inform you of hormonal ratios, thyroid health and mineral status. This information can then be used to identify reproductive issues early on and start a course of action to restore and correct. Of course charting also helps to recognise signs of fertility and use them to prevent or achieve conception.
So why haven't you heard about this until now?
Only over the last 100 years has women's cyclical changes been observed and documented.
Luckily for us there have been countless individuals who in this time have dedicated their lives to the research of women’s reproductive systems and hormones. Following these observations a few methods of of contraception have been used under the umbrella term "natural fertility".
-The rhythm method: calendar based where by a woman tracks her fertility by measuring the amount of days in her cycle and does not take note of physical symptoms.
-The billings method: observing the relationship between mucus and fertility.
The method I use and teach is called the sympto-thermal method and it is by far the most consistently accurate, scientifically researched and validated of all the methods.
Researched and validated method
In a nutshell the sympto-thermal method uses two signs from the body (temperature and cervical mucus) to observe when your fertile days are. The changes in temperature and mucus are directly related to changes in your hormones. As you chart and start to visually see the signs and patterns and you become more in tune with your body and your fertility.
What does this look like for me?
Firstly your basal body temperature (BBT) is taken at the same time every morning. It sounds like it would be a pain and something you may forget to do, but trust me I haven’t heard of anyone finding this difficult, you just roll over grab the thermometer, place in your mouth and lie there for another minute. Your BBT indicates the health of your progesterone levels
Secondly, at a convenient time (like sitting on the toilet) you check your cervical mucus. The quality and quantity of cervical mucus can indicate the adequacy of oestrogen and your nutritional status.
Taking just a couple of minutes a day to record your signs enables you to:
1. Determine when ovulation happens and indicate approaching ovulation: enabling precise timing of conception.
2. Determine when your fertile window is: on average this is 9 days but differs for each woman.
3. Confirm when the fertile window is finished: enables you to confidently avoid for conception.
4. Identify the length of your follicular phase and luteal phase: helps to identify problems with fertility.
5. Determine hormone relative ratios of oestrogen and progesterone: this information can then be used to identify fertility issues early on and start a course of action to repair.
6. Gives information on underlying thyroid issues and mineral status.
7. Have accurate data to present to your doctor: beneficial if you are having fertility tests or undergoing fertility treatment such as IVF.
8. Identify pregnancy!!
The sympto-thermal method works well if used correctly, but I wouldn't recommend you just take your temperature and check your mucus without fully understanding how the method works, especially if you are using this method for contraception.
I recommend learning from a qualified practitioner or attending a workshop. Once you have learnt the method you have it for life!
No ongoing costs, safe, reliable and drug free.