Learning how to track ovulation by charting your menstrual cycle is one of the most valuable tools that a woman can use to gain better insight about her body and reproductive health.
Today we’ll run through 6 key terms that you should know and understand to more effectively chart and track your ovulation, and make the most of the information you collect along the way.
It should be noted that some of these terms are specific to the process of actually physically charting your ovulation on a paper chart.
Where to Learn More About Tracking Ovulation
If you’re looking for more information on how you can understand how your body is speaking to you naturally, I would recommend reading Toni Weschler’s book: Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
Much of my influence on this topic and blog post comes from Toni’s book, and is super valuable.
If you’re not a big reader, you can always reach out to me for a consultation, but anyways, let’s get started!
Why Should I Track on a Paper Chart?
I recommend charting on paper for at least a few cycles, as it will help you understand what’s happening in your body on a deeper level.
Menstrual apps have a time and place, but they don’t provide the same insight into your specific cycles the same way a physical chart will.
Here’s What it Looks Like Tracking On Paper
*Excerpt from Toni Welcher's Book Taking Charge of your Fertility.
The benefits of Charting Your Cycle are Vast, and Include:
Identifying Your Fertile Window: Charting your menstrual cycle can help you identify your window of fertility, or the time when you are most likely to conceive.
Avoiding Unplanned Pregnancy: If you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, charting your menstrual cycle can help you identify your fertile days and plan to abstain from intercourse or use a barrier method during those days.
Monitoring Health: Charting your menstrual cycle can help you identify patterns and changes in your cycle which may indicate a health concern such as hormonal imbalances. It’s like a monthly report card.
Deeper Understanding of Your Body: Charting your menstrual cycle gives you more control and awareness over your reproductive health, and helps you to become more intuitive with your overall health.
Improved Relationship: Charting also helps couples in identifying the fertile and non-fertile days, which can improve communication and intimacy in the relationship.
What are the Important Terms to Know When Charting Ovulation?
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
Point of Change (POC)
Let’s dive deeper into what each of them mean.
Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature that is reached during rest. It is typically measured immediately upon waking in the morning before any physical activity has taken place.
A woman's BBT can provide insight into her ovulation cycle as it will change during different phases of the menstrual cycle. The temperature typically rises after ovulation due to an increase in progesterone, which can indicate ovulation has occurred.
Cervical fluid is a clear or white fluid produced by the cervix. The consistency and amount of cervical fluid changes throughout the phases of a woman's menstrual cycle, due to the influence of estrogen, and it can help indicate a woman's fertility.
The cervical fluid will usually be less during the non-fertile phase and will become more wet, stretchy and clear when ovulation is approaching. This can be an effective way to approximate which stage of the menstrual phase you’re in.
The cervix is the opening of the uterus, and it can be checked for changes in position and texture. Checking the cervical position can help you track your ovulation.
When the cervix is low and hard, it’s less likely that you’re in a fertile window, but as ovulation approaches, it will rise and soften, becoming more primed for conception and fertility.
Point of Change (POC)
The Point of Change (POC) is the point in a woman's menstrual cycle when cervical fluid and/or vaginal sensation begin to change, indicating an increase in estrogen levels. This is something you may notice a few days after your period has ended.
This indicates that the fertile phase of the cycle is approaching, and being aware of this will help you plan accordingly for your reproductive goals.
The Peak Day is the last day of either egg-white cervical fluid or a lubricative vaginal sensation. In a future post, we will run through the ranging consistency and color of cervical fluid.
This is considered the most fertile day and occurs 1-2 days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation itself. If you’re looking to conceive, or avoid conception, it’s vital to be able to identify the Peak Day of your cycle.
This is something that you would indicate on your chart so you can see over the course of a month when your ovulation will be peaking.
A Cover Line is something that you’ll draw on your BBT chart when charting your ovulation.
If a woman ovulates, her basal body temperature will increase in the second half of her cycle. A Cover Line will then be drawn on the BBT chart to denote the difference between the lower temperatures of the follicular phase (first half) and the higher temperatures of the luteal phase (second half - after ovulation).
A Cover Line is used to identify when ovulation occurred by separating the temperatures of these two phases.
This is useful to look back upon because you can see when you’re more likely to ovulate, as well as determine the length of each of these phases in your cycle.
Professional Resources to Help You Begin Charting Your Cycle
Charting your cycle is a valuable tool, but it can seem overwhelming when you first begin the process.
Check out my previous blog post by clicking here for a more in depth breakdown of BBT, cervical fluid, and cervical position.
If you’re looking to gain a better understanding, book a consultation with me today and I’ll help educate you on how to put this process into practice to maximize your understanding of your own body, and to be able to live your life without the need for artificial birth control!
If you’re more of a self-learner, you can learn more about this topic in one of my favorite books, Toni Weschler’s book: Taking Charge of your Fertility.
If you're looking for expert guidance from a Calgary Naturopath, book a consultation with me below!