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Menstrual Cycle Charting for Pregnancy

written by: Suzanne Florin • edited by: BStone • updated: 12/16/2010

Knowing the fertile days can help someone who wants to get pregnant. A simple way to do this is through menstrual cycle charting. There are limitations, though, in utilizing this method. This article highlights menstrual cycle charting for pregnancy, and some things to consider in using it.

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    The number of days in a menstrual cycle is not similar for all women. Most have a cycle that lasts for 28 days, although some have 23 up to 35 days. Stress, sickness and changes in nutrition may cause changes in the length of time for each cycle.

    Menstrual cycle charting for pregnancy is one of the methods that may be used by someone who wants to get pregnant. However, this is only effective in women who have regular cycles. Irregularity in the menstrual cycle makes it difficult for a woman to calculate accurately her fertile days, since it varies each month. There are other methods, however, that may be done for those with irregular periods.

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    Charting the Cycle

    Ovulation is a phase during the menstrual cycle where an ovum or egg is released from the ovary, which then travels in the fallopian tube. This process is a determining factor for women who want to get pregnant, and it is what menstrual cycle charting attempts to identify. Precision must be done in calculating the ovulation period so as to pinpoint the days where conception is likely to occur.

    So how is menstrual cycle charting done? Here are some factors that you need to take note of when charting your menstrual cycle:

    • Monitoring the Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
    • Checking the quality of cervical mucus
    • Recording the first day of each menstrual cycle

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    Monitoring the BBT

    Charting the menstrual cycle does not only include recording the days in a cycle. The body's temperature gives a hint when a woman is ovulating. Before ovulation period, a woman normally has a basal body temperature of 97 to 97.5 degrees in Fahrenheit. There is a minimal increase of 1 to 2 degrees in the BBT during ovulation, and this is caused by the release of progesterone hormone. Thus, by monitoring the BBT, menstrual cycle charting for pregnancy becomes reliable particularly for women with irregular periods.

    Here are some important things to remember when keeping track of the BBT:

    • Check the BBT at the onset of the menstrual cycle. It must be taken on a daily basis so as to monitor any surge or drop in the temperature.
    • Taking the BBT must be done at a specific time of the day, such as before getting up in the morning.
    • One should avoid drinking, eating, smoking, or doing other activities, while the BBT is being taken, as these may cause discrepancy in the results.
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    Checking the Cervical Mucus

    Observing the cervical mucus is the simplest and most effective means of identifying fertility. During ovulation, the secreted cervical mucus is clear and stretchy. This texture allows the sperm to cling to the mucus as it makes its way towards the egg.

    During the course of the menstrual cycle, the quality and texture of the cervical mucus changes. There is no sign of mucus during the 6th to 9th day of the cycle, which is right after the last day of the menses. On the 10th to 12th day, thick and sticky mucus builds up, but eventually becomes thinner and less dense as the 13th day approaches. The mid-cycle marks the fertile time, as the mucus obtains the slithery and thin texture. This state of the mucus lasts up to the 15th day.

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    Keeping Track of Each Cycle

    Make use of a diary in recording the length of each cycle. For woman with a 28-day menstrual cycle, day 1 is considered as the first day of bleeding, and day 28 is the day before the next cycle.

    The most fertile time (ovulation period) is the middle part of the cycle, which is the 14th day. However, a woman is also considered fertile during the 7th day of the cycle and the day after ovulation. In order to know future fertile days, charting must be done consistently. It might be bothersome to keep a record of all the menstrual cycles, but this can be beneficial for women who are trying to get pregnant (or even for those avoiding pregnancy).

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    Resources

    The Menstrual Cycle, How Does Menstrual Cycle Work, What is Menstrual Cycle, From

    http://www.allmothers.net/the-menstrual-cycle-2.html

    Menstrual Cycle: Pre & Post Ovulation, From

    http://www.ovulation-calculator.com/menstrual-cycle.htm