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The Benefits of Charting Your Fertility

What can charting my fertility signs tell me? 

There are only a few days each menstrual cycle that you can get pregnant. Charting your fertility signs can help you find those days so that you can maximize your intercourse timing to increase your chances of conception each cycle. It can also help you make sense of your entire cycle. Even if you do not get pregnant in a given cycle, what you learn from charting your fertility signs that cycle will help you increase your chances in future cycles.
Your fertility signs are directly related to the hormonal changes your body experiences throughout your cycle. Recognizing and understanding the role of these signs can offer you the information you need to help you achieve pregnancy, understand your own fertility pattern, and make informed choices at every stage of your Trying To Conceive (TTC) journey.
Charting your fertility signs offers a way to visually make sense of these signs and unravel the mystery of your fertility. Many people are astonished at just how much they can learn by taking a few minutes a day to observe and record their fertility signs. Many more are delighted to discover that charting their fertility signs is all that is needed to time intercourse and achieve pregnancy. Others find that they can identify fertility issues early and decide on a course of action early. It can be an enlightening and empowering experience.
Observing and recording your fertility signs takes just a couple of minutes a day, but allows you to see the following:

  1. Determine if and when you ovulate: This is a logical first step and is probably the first thing you will want to know if it is taking you longer than expected to conceive. While this is not the only information you need, knowing whether or not you ovulate will help you learn if you should consider seeking medical attention. If you do ovulate, knowing when you ovulate will help you better time intercourse and to know if you are timing intercourse well. 
  2. Determine the start and length of your fertile phase. Knowing when your fertile phase begins and how long it is will help you better time intercourse and know how often and when to have intercourse 
  3. to maximize your chances of conception. This information can offer you control, guide you, and if necessary help your doctor help you with your unique situation.
  4.  Determine the end of your fertile phase. While the end of your fertile phase is not as critical to pregnancy achievement as its start, it does provide clues about your cycle and lets you know when you can stop having scheduled intercourse. It also lets you know when you enter your post-ovulatory, or luteal phase of your cycle which also offers clues about your fertility.
  5.  Determine the length of your luteal phase. Your luteal phase is the time between ovulation and menstruation. In most cases your luteal phase is fairly constant and does not vary much from cycle to cycle for the same woman. Knowing the length of your luteal phase will let you know if your luteal phase is sufficiently long to sustain a pregnancy.
  6.  Plan and predict your cycles. While your cycles may vary slightly (or greatly) and we know that they can vary a great deal from woman to woman, charting your fertility signs will help you predict when you are most fertile, when ovulation is likely to occur and when your period is expected. Each cycle charted will give you an increased awareness and better ability to predict what is likely in future cycles. With this awareness you can improve your intercourse timing. You will have advanced warning of the beginning of your fertile phase and will know when to expect ovulation. If you are aware of your own typical cycle you can also know early if you conceived in a particular cycle.
  7.  Determine the length of your cycles. Knowing your usual cycle length or the range of your cycle length if it varies can help you know when you are most likely to be fertile, if you are likely to be pregnant and when you can test for pregnancy on an early pregnancy test. This information is also useful for your doctor and is something you are likely to be asked should you seek medical attention.
  8.  Time intercourse or fertility treatments to maximize the chances of conception. Knowing your unique fertility pattern will help you time intercourse increasingly well as you gain greater awareness of your fertility. When you know when you are fertile and when you ovulate, intercourse timing can be maximized for conception purposes.
  9.  Time when to use ovulation predictor kits (OPKs). It is not necessary for everyone to use OPKs, but if you do use them, you want to maximize their use since they are expensive and often only allow for about 5 days of tests. Knowing when you are entering your fertile phase and knowing about your past cycles will help you make the best possible use of OPKs.
  10.  Bring clear, clean and accurate data to your doctor. Whether your doctor has suggested that you chart your fertility signs, or if it becomes evident that you need to seek medical attention after you have charted for a few cycles, your doctor will appreciate your charting efforts. Doctors are becoming increasingly supportive of women charting their fertility and they are also becoming more experienced at reading and interpreting fertility charts. The more data you have, the better able your doctor will be to evaluate, analyze and make sense of your charts with you. Having several cycles charted can help you and your doctor decide on the best course of treatment if treatment is necessary. Having charted cycles available for your doctor in advance can also minimize your waiting. This is especially important if age is a factor.  Maximize the timing of fertility tests and treatments and medications. Your charted cycle data will help your doctor offer you the best possible care by timing tests and treatments to coincide with the most appropriate time in your cycle. Many tests and treatments are most effective when they are well-timed and you can avoid the guesswork if you are charting your fertility signs.
  11.  See if you timed intercourse well. Many people find the time after ovulation to be the most stressful. They are waiting and hoping to have conceived. Once your fertile time has passed and ovulation has been confirmed by your fertility signs, you can examine your chart to see if conception was possible in any particular cycle. Though your chances are only about 20% in any given cycle, you will know if you have reason to be hopeful. If you do not conceive for several cycles, in spite of well- timed intercourse, you will know that there may be factors that require medical attention.
  12.  Know early if conception occurred. Your chart offers clues that can tell you that you may have conceived.
  13.  Know when conception occurred to better estimate your due date. Once pregnancy is confirmed, doctors typically estimate your due date based on your Last Menstrual Period (LMP). This estimation assumes a typical cycle length and ovulation date that may not apply to you. If you know when ovulation occurred, then you can more accurately determine your baby’s due date.
  14.  Time when to take an early pregnancy test. If you know when your period is really “late” then you can decide when you can reliably take a pregnancy test. This can help to avoid the disappointment of seeing negative pregnancy tests and the anxiety of ambiguous results and early false-negatives caused by testing too early.
  15.  Gain awareness of your hormonal profile and your body. Charting your fertility signs eliminates the mystery that may have surrounded your fertility. It is really no mystery at all when you are aware. Each sign is tied to processes that are governed by the hormones that are running through your body. Recognizing these signs and knowing what they mean is eye-opening and enlightening.
  16. Take control of your Trying to Conceive experience. Charting your fertility signs and learning what they mean and how they are related to your fertility is something you can do to take control of your trying to conceive experience. This is something proactive that you can do to dramatically increase your chances of conception every cycle. You are informed and in control. There is nothing to lose by doing it and everything to gain. 

Charting your fertility signs is something that you can do to increase your chances of conception, understand your own fertility pattern and put you in control of your trying to conceive experience. If you have decided to chart your own fertility signs, read on for more about how they relate to your hormones and how best to observe and record them. Watch this video if you would like to know how to start tracking your cycle. It is also not possible to underestimate the role of support when you are trying to conceive. Talk to others who share your experience and ask for advice and hints from those who can offer guidance. At Reproductive Wellness we have partnered up with a specialist that helps our patients going through tough infertility journeys. Fertility support is very important, if you would like to join, find more information about our Fertility Groups here.


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