How do I chart my ovulation?
Real Mom Problem
“I want to know what to do to start charting. What tips and advice can you give me?”
- 1. Take your temperature first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed and after at least three or four hours of sleep
- 2. Experts recommend using a basal body thermometer, but any digital thermometer can work
- 3. Chart your cycle by placing each daily temperature on a graph. You can do it by hand with a homemade graph or with an online program
- 4. Begin charting on the first day of your period
- 5. Remember, chart to assess an overall pattern, over the course of several cycles, rather than reading into individual temperatures
Real Mom Solutions
Taking your temperature every morning and recording your results can help you better understand your cycle and know when you're most fertile. Read on for great charting tips from moms who have charted this territory before.
What Are the Basics of Charting?
You take your temp every morning before you get out of bed, or move, or talk. Then you chart your temp by plotting your daily temperature on a graph. I used fertilityfriend.com. When you have your period, your temps will be pretty low until you ovulate, then you may notice a slight dip in your temp, and then it will go way higher than all of your prior temps and it will stay up. That means you ovulated. You ovulate on the day before the temperature spike. You can start temping any time of the month, but to get the full effect it's best to start on Cycle Day 1 (CD1 - the first day of your period).
You can use a regular thermometer. I only got a BBT (basal body thermometer) this month because mine broke. You can take your temperature orally or vaginally but it's best to do them at the SAME time every morning when you get up, BEFORE you get out of bed. If you wake up earlier/later and need to adjust your temp you can do it on fertilityfriend.com or other great sites. It's basically going to show you what's going on in your cycle and eventually help you see the "signs" to recognize ovulation before it happens. You'll see a low temp dip, then a spike, and your temp will stay high (higher than it previously was) for X amount of days. It can also be a good indicator of when your period is showing up.
Is Charting Difficult?
It's difficult at first simply because you're not in the habit of doing it. Keep a thermometer under your pillow. When you wake up first thing in the morning take your temperature. It took me about a month to not jump out of bed and go pee first thing. None of it takes a whole lot of time or effort. Once you've been doing it for awhile, it becomes habit. You don't even have to think about it at that point.
I have a cheap thermometer ($8) and it has a memory so I never write my temps down. I shut it off, put it back on the night stand and check it later when I really wake up and want to enter it on fertilityfriend.com. If it was hard, my lazy butt would never have been so good at it!
I have been seriously charting for two months and casually charting for about six months now and I'm learning a lot about my body! I've noticed that I get an upset stomach the day before I ovulate--no books will tell you things like that about your body! I've also learned that I can tell the day before my period is coming, my temp drops. It only takes like five minutes a day if you note other things like amount of exercise, stressful events, not feeling well, late nights, etc. If you just chart your temp and cervical fluids then it takes like one minute a day. I put the thermometer in my mouth before my eyes are even open in the morning. If you use a digital thermometer it's easy because you can just lay there until it beeps and then I record the temp that night when I'm going to bed with info about the day.
It is tough with your first chart, you won't know what is normal for you until three or four charts (months) later. It's frustrating to have to wait so long, but in time it will all be clear!
What Else Can You Chart?
Temping is just one of the ways to chart, although the most common and practical. You can also chart your cervical mucus and cervical position. You can also use ovulation predictor kits as well as the above and put the results on your chart. You can use a regular thermometer, but you MUST do it the same time every day before you get out of bed, or talk, or move, or anything! What I do is set my alarm and put my thermometer next to my pillow so I can just grab it when my alarm goes off! You want to start on CD1 (the first day of your period) and go from there.
Whenever you go to the bathroom, check your cervical fluid. Just simply touch your vaginal opening (before relieving yourself) and observe the quality of the fluid on your fingers. Is it dry? Is it sticky, tacky, crumbly, or resemble rubber cement? Does it look like lotion or milk? Does it look like raw egg whites? Is it slippery? Does your finger stick to your vaginal opening as you move your finger across or does it glide? Optionally, you can check your cervix as well. After doing your business, insert a clean dry finger into your vagina. Reach up until you can find your cervix. Do this for awhile and you'll be able to tell the changes in your cervix. As you become fertile, it will get higher up and harder to reach. It will also get softer. Infertile, it feels almost like the end of your nose. Fertile, it feels more like your lips. The little hole in the cervix will also open up, though it may be hard to recognize that while you're learning. Then you need to record these details on a chart. You can print out paper charts and interpret it yourself. You can also use a charting program.
You want to have sex before you see the spike in temps. Also, the most important thing is ALWAYS go by your EWCM (egg white cervical mucus) just to be safe, because that is a great sign. If you still have EWCM, consider yourself fertile!
Some Say Charting Adds Stress
It became obsessive for me, and when I decided to let go, it was the most liberating feeling. Then the next month I ended up pregnant. It will happen when it's meant to be, and not one moment sooner.
I have been charting like crazy since last year and my cycles are irregular. We've been trying to conceive for six months now and still nothing. My husband keeps telling me to stop charting and let nature take its course. Easier said than done. I'm so ready to give it up and seriously thinking about it. It's also an obsession of mine and I don't think the added stress is helping.
I have never charted. I know that would stress me out. I also refuse to buy the ovulation predictor kits. Basically the only thing I do is pay attention to my cervical mucus. It works just as well.
I am about to throw in the towel! We are on cycle four of trying to conceive, and I think charting just adds stress. It has been a useful tool for me to learn my body, but it is just one more thing. If I wasn't doing all of these things, I would just be having sex and living life instead of worrying about ovulation predictor kits!
Others Say Charting Led to Success
I LOVE temping. I am temping now. This is how I got pregnant with my kids.
I started charting about six months before we started trying to conceive. Got pregnant the first month (ended in early miscarriage). Got pregnant the next month and am now 13 weeks. So yes, I'd say charting works!
I got pregnant three months after temping/charting and using ovulation predictor kits. You learn a lot about your body. Definitely keep doing it.